AFC Wimbledon respond to the boss’ tender touch
Neal Ardley used all his managerial nous at half-time on Saturday to turn a 2-0 deficit into a morale-boosting 3-2 triumph – although he admitted it is not how he wants to win games.
Half-way through the League Two clash with Scunthorpe United at the Cherry Red Records stadium, the AFC Wimbledon boss walked into the dressing room to find angry players turning on each other.
At the final whistle, it was a different story after goals from Michael Smith, Harry Pell and Chris Arthur inflicted upon the Iron their first league defeat of the season.
The Dons were also on the end of high praise from the visiting management team after putting three past a defence that had conceded just once in four games until their visit to south west London.
Ardley said: “At half-time, the players had lost their way a little bit and I had to get them back together.
“They had played really well for 15 minutes, then gone 1-0 down out of nothing.
“We’d missed a penalty and found ourselves 2-0 down, so you can forgive the players for thinking this is not going our way.”
He added: “They started to turn on each other a little bit. Everyone was having their say and I could see that it would not help if I went in all guns blazing.
“It was a case of me saying: ‘You’re not going to get back into this as individuals, playing on your own, you’ve got to come together and this is what we’ll do’ and they were excellent in the second half.
“But, to be honest, I’d rather win 2-0 or 1-0 comfortably rather than a 3-2 like that.”
The win continues a fledgling two-match unbeaten home record, and victory over Fleetwood on Saturday would keep that record going until at least September 21 when Burton Albion are the next visitors.
It is far too early to call the Cherry Red Records stadium a fortress, but Ardley is loving the possibilities.
“If you want to have a good season then you need to have good home form,” he said.
“You can do whatever away from home, win, lose or draw, but if you regularly feel confident about winning at home, then if it does become a fortress.
“If your home form is good, then points at away games become bonuses.
“If you’re losing at home, the away games become tough.”
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