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By Adam Harwood, at the Cherry Red Records Stadium
Monday, November 19, 2012
AFC Wimbledon 1 Aldershot 1
AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley admitted that picking up a valuable point in the League Two relegation scrap was far more important than the performance against bottom of the league Aldershot Town on Saturday.
The Dons, perhaps jaded after Monday night’s 120 minutes against York City and having spent much of the week talking about the prospect of a second round FA Cup tie at Milton Keynes, produced an insipid display against the Shots, who will feel a little unlucky not to have left Kingsmeadow with all three points.
“I said before I got this job that it’s all about results,” said Ardley, who played 42 year old Neil Sullivan, once of Wimbledon, in goal having signed his former teammate on loan from Doncaster on Friday. “You’ve got to accept bad performances, put a smile on your face as long as you get the result.
“We haven’t played very well today and yet we haven’t been beaten. I thought it would be a scrappy, horrible game and we struggled to cope. But we managed to come away with a point so that can only be a positive.”
The Dons have now gone three games unbeaten and it is clear that, in spite of this woeful effort typified by a long-ball style of play that continually came to nothing, Ardley has tightened up the side, especially in defence. And this was proven no more so than by Sullivan’s performance, who was helpless to prevent Aldershot’s goal but produced an otherwise flawless display between the sticks.
“I thought he was excellent,” added the Wimbledon manager. “He was probably our best player on the day, commanding and assured, he was everything I expected him to be. I have no problems that he hadn’t played (first team football) in a year.”
In a poor game with few chances, the Shots took the lead in first half injury time through loanee Daniel Lopez, making his first start for the club. Stacy Long’s inswinging free kick fifteen minutes from time eluded everyone to leave the Dons with a slightly fortuitous point.
Wimbledon, who host Southend United on Tuesday, are currently injury-hit with George Francomb, Jim Fenlon, Luke Moore, Rashid Yusseff and Warren Cummings adding themselves to the absentee list in the past week. In addition, captain Mat Mitchell-King was missing due to the death of his mother on Friday.
AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan, Osano, Meades, Long, Mambo, Antwi, Reeves, Gregory (Merrifield), Harrison, Midson, Strutton (Djilali)
Man of the match: Will Antwi