By Chris Slavin
Neal Ardley could not fault the commitment shown by his players in defeat to Milton Keynes, but he said that they were let down by a lack of quality in both boxes.
Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: “We gave everything. The boys care about this club and the fans. They were in there devastated afterwards. It is hard because I have to strip the emotions from it and look at what has gone on. That’s tough for me because I’m emotional about the game. The boys tried their best, but we got sucker-punched. We had a lot of intensity and pace and the players ran their socks off. Most of the territory in the game was in their half, but a couple of slip-ups have gone for them and we’ve lost 2-0.
“As a manager, when your team do not perform it is hard because you do not know where to look for the performance, but I thought that we were in the ascendancy from the word go. At times, we were possibly a little gung-ho. They have not scored a good goal. They will say they have, but the first one was unfortunate because it hit George when he was running towards the goal and there was nothing he could do. With the second goal, we defended it well at first and put bodies in the way, but then we toe-poke it to the only man standing there free. They were two poor goals and after 28 minutes we had a mountain to climb.
“Deji should have scored, but he hit the crossbar and with 25 minutes to go Lyle had a penalty saved. They were key moments for us as we tried to make a comeback. As hard as we tried, they were able to see the game out with a 5-4-1. Ultimately, it’s down to both boxes. In one box we’ve been punished and in the other we’ve not taken our chances.”
Kwesi Appiah came off injured with a hamstring injury half an hour in and Neal said that the initial signs are not good.
“There is every chance when we scan it that it will be a bad hamstring strain or tear,” added Neal. “That would mean a number of weeks before we get close to having him back.”
The full post-match reaction from Neal is on our iFollow channel.