Boss Ardley blames defenders as Wimbledon squander 2-0 lead

IT WAS GOING SO WELL - Adebayo Akinfnewa is congratulated after he set up Wimbledon's second goal against the Cobblers (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
IT WAS GOING SO WELL - Adebayo Akinfnewa is congratulated after he set up Wimbledon's second goal against the Cobblers (Picture: Sharon Lucey)
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AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley accused his defenders of lacking ‘steel’ as the Cobblers fought back from 2-0 down to secure a 2-2 draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Friday.

Goals from Sean Rigg and Jake Reeves saw the Dons open up a lead, but two strikes from James Gray earned the visitors a point that Ardley felt was undeserved.

“We were 2-0 up at home, and you shouldn’t have to go 3-0 up to win the game,” said Ardley.

“I don’t want to destroy the defenders, but they haven’t seen their jobs out and that’s what has cost us.

“I have told them that, and that I want more aggression because we are too nice.

“Our player fouls one of their players, they go mad and get round the referee. Their players does a bad tackle on one of us and we all jog off or stand up and shake their hands.

“I want us to have that little bit of steel about us, and at 2-0 up today we didn’t show it in our defending.”

Ardley also described a virtually incident-free first-half as ‘awful, and admitted he wouldn’t have blamed any supporter if they had gone home at half-time!

But he was delighted with how his side started the second half, even if they couldn’t see the job through.

“I thought the first half was awful, and if the fans had got up and walked out at that point, I might have gone with them,” said Ardley, who was back in the Dons dugout having missed the trip to Tranmere after undergoing a hip operation.

“I think Northampton were better at being awful than we were, they were slightly better than us.

“The players showed a lack of trust in each other, a lack of trust in the pitch, and didn’t really do anything. It was scrappy.

“Then for 20 minutes in the second half we were brilliant.

“We had the full-backs bombing forward, midfielders going beyond the strikers, and that frees Bayo up, who is less shackled.

“We got 2-0 up, could have been 3-0 up, and then poor defending has cost us. It was too easy to get the cross in for the first goal, and then at a set-piece one player doesn’t mark his player well enough and it has cost us what should have been a nice win.”