Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley saluted the manner of today’s win against Oxford United as he believes AFC Wimbledon produced a playing style that confounded the views of opposition managers.
During a post-match interview for Dons Player after his side completed the double over Oxford, Neal Ardley said: “We are labelled as a long-ball team. A lot of managers elude to that, but I thought today that we played some really good football. Some of the moves we put together to get into great positions were exceptional, but it was just that final finish or final pass that was lacking. Their keeper has made three or four one-on-one saves and there were two or three others that we should have scored from today.
“I rate Michael Appleton and Oxford really highly. I certainly think they are a top half team in this league. We potentially could have had four or five goals and they did not have many clear-cut chances so that shows how good the performance was. In the first 15 minutes they started better than us and we were a little bit too deep. We gave them space to work in. They scored with a long-range shot and we were disappointed with that. Once we got the equaliser with a wonderful goal from ‘Deano’ their goalkeeper stopped the game from being three or four.”
Youngster Alfie Egan entered the fray near the end as a substitute and Neal added that he's likely to need all of his squad firing in the coming weeks to cope with a packed schedule.
“The FA Cup is massive to us, but as a club we cannot prioritise a competition or a game,” said Neal. “We have to go as hard as we can, do the same on Tuesday, and so on. We did a presentation yesterday and I said to the boys that we have 16 games in two months so we are going to need everyone. We will have to use 18-20 players. Young Alfie came on today and did incredibly well in a tough game. We need more people like that to step-up.”
Neal confirmed afterwards that Andy Barcham missed the game due to a hamstring injury and George Francomb was out due to illness.
The full post-match reaction with WDON’s Rob Cornell posing the questions is now on Dons Player. Interviews with Lyle Taylor and Dean Parrett will follow tomorrow.