Manager's post-match reaction
Neal Ardley praised the togetherness and spirit of his squad after AFC Wimbledon’s stunning turnaround at Charlton Athletic today.
The Dons were outplayed before half-time, but it was a different story after the break with substitutes Dominic Poleon and Tyrone Barnett earning a first away victory in League One this season.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “It was important that James Shea made a couple of wonderful saves to keep us in it. We’ve not had that too often, even last year we never had to be kept in games by our keeper. That was key, but we also defended a lot better in the second-half than we did in the first-half. Our one-one-one defending in the first-half was not good enough. We also wanted to pass the ball better than last week and I thought we did that.
“We showed togetherness at the end and we have always said that substitutes make a big difference in these games. We kept going, stayed in the game, and kept Charlton to one goal. It gives you a platform if you can get a couple of chances to do it. Obviously, it was an individual bit of brilliance and a fantastic header.
“In the first-half, in particular, I thought they were good. They had a lot of fluidity to the way that they played. They caused us problems. We were much better in the second-half and you have to keep doing your shifts because if it goes 2-0 it may end up three or four. You have to stay in it with the players we have on the bench, they can always create chances.”
Neal added that players and management had worked hard during the week on putting things right after defeat to Sheffield United and he was delighted to send the 1,714 Dons fans home in great spirits with victory at Charlton.
“I ummed and arred about the team,” Neal said. “I knew the shape and how we were going to attack the game, but I did not name the team until today. I did not know the personnel because we worked really hard on them on Tuesday and after that the boys trained so well. That caused me a problem for the right reasons. The strikers have done their bit, but more importantly the strikers have worked their socks off for the team.
“Russell Slade said to me as we walked out of the tunnel that there will be no one in Wimbledon today! It was immense and a great occasion for the fans. It was a great game at a fantastic stadium. We are delighted that they will be going home buzzing after the last 20 minutes.”
George Francomb was stretchered off in the second-half and Neal provided an update on his condition after the game.
“It is not good,” said Neal. “I think it might even have been Darius Charles that caught him, but I’m not sure. We had two players putting their bodies on the line to defend the cross. George has lost teeth and his mouth is smashed up a bit. The boys were in there celebrating the win, but they are all thinking of how George is.”
The full post-match reaction from Neal is now on Dons player and interviews will follow tomorrow with Tryone Barnett, Dominic Poleon, Jake Reeves and James Shea.