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Neal's post-match reaction after draw against Oldham

Manager's assessment of today's game

21 April 2018

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Neal Ardley was pleased with the commitment shown by his players today, but he was disappointed with the manner of the goals Wimbledon conceded against Oldham.

Speaking during his post-match interview for iFollow, Neal said: "I expected a really tough, nervy game, which is why I made the call-out to the fans. It was never going to be free-flowing. We gave it our best and we could have ended up with three points, but we could have ended up losing it. There were chances for both teams near the end. You could see the nerves in the players in the second-half, trying not to lose the game, and to stay in front. It's only natural and now we need to train hard next week and do our best to get what we can.

"It was a hard-fought point, without it being a quality game. It's disappointing when you are leading. We have been quite good at keeping our leads this season, certainly staying on top of the game. I thought we started very well and then the intensity dropped in the last 10 minutes of the first-half. We tried to go out on the front foot in the second-half, but they changed their shape. They played with three up front and one in the hole and we had to keep our energy levels high at that point to stay on top of it. Once our levels dropped they started to get a foothold on the game. They asked questions of us with long throws into the box, which we did loads of work on yesterday. We nailed it in training yesterday, but we did not nail it today and that has cost us. We are disappointed with their goals, but I'm sure they are disappointed with our goals."

Neal felt that his side's energy levels dropped off in the second-half and that was not helped by members of his squad struggling with injuries during the week.

"Liam Trotter was injured at half-time, he was struggling, and so too was Barchy," added Neal. "We looked at the first 5-10 minutes at the start of the second-half and I thought, 'blimey, we are going to have to get them off'. You could see it was affecting them. We did not have like for like replacements. We tried to rejig it and we got our noses in front with a great goal, but unfortunately we've conceded again. One goal was from a long throw-in into our box and the other was from a long throw down the line. They were two poor goals to concede and that's cost us today.

"We were good in the first-half. They played a 4-4-2 with two wingers because they wanted to go for it and I felt we nullified that in the first-half. In the second-half they caused us a lot more problems due to their change in shape. Our quality was not great and we did not have a free-flowing game. Our energy levels were not fantastic. We had four or five who missed most of the training week and I thought that showed a little bit in the second-half. We need to get a good training week in and focus on the challenge of next week."

The full post-match reaction from Neal is available via the link to our iFollow channel above.

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