Manager's reaction after draw at Chesterfield
Neal Ardley praised his side’s defensive resilience and our supporters for sticking with the team after AFC Wimbledon earned a point at Chesterfield.
With the manager making five changes to his starting line-up due to injuries and Paul Robinson’s suspension, he was pleased with the application shown by a much-changed team.
“You cannot out-play every team,” said Neal. “Normally we create a lot of chances, but today we did not create as much. We limited them to more long-range shots and we defended our box brilliantly. It was really tough with the week we’ve had. I had never seen the group so low as they were on Tuesday, a lot of them felt hard done by. To then travel up north for a game, which goes under the radar a little bit, and put the effort in they have, deserves an awful lot of credit.
“For the fans to turn up today and will the team through every defensive tackle that they made, knowing that we were limited in going forward, was incredible. It was a good all round club effort today. On the back of the Oxford win, which I thought was really good - particularly after what they did to Rochdale today – it made today a good point. If we had got a point last week, a point today is not great. Away from home, the worst-case scenario is that you want to come away without being beaten. We have two more tough away games coming up in the next 10 days or so.”
Neal was delighted with the performances of academy products Alfie Egan and Tom Beere in midfield, the young midfield pair offering energy to a team who had played with 10 men for so long on Tuesday.
“I thought Alfie and Tom in midfield were excellent,” added Neal. “They provided real energy and their work-rate was phenomenal. Credit to Chesterfield because they had a bit of movement and rotation. We tried to play with three up front, but they did well. They pinned us back, moved the ball around well, and we had to see our jobs through.
“It was tough on the five who played the other night because we played with 10 men on a heavy pitch for 80 minutes. They have had to dig in and you have to take your hat off to them. It was also tough on the five players who had not played as much. They had to get up to speed with League One football quickly and they did incredibly well too.”
Neal said that none of the injured players were close to making today’s line-up, but he did add that Andy Barcham, Dean Parrett and Lyle Taylor would have the best chance out of the five to be fit for Gillingham on Tuesday night.
The full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley will be on Dons Player later and an interview with Barry Fuller will follow tomorrow, along with extended highlights.