Pompey 0 AFC Wimbledon 0: Neal Ardley’s praise for ‘brave’ Dons

Wimbledon pushed forward to make it tough for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler
Wimbledon pushed forward to make it tough for Pompey. Picture: Joe Pepler

Neal Ardley lavished praise on his AFC Wimbledon side after their defensive display at Fratton Park but insisted: We showed our courage.

The Dons boss certainly ensured his team did not follow the procession of opponents attempting to stifle Paul Cook’s side on home turf.

Instead, the visitors probably edged the chances in the game and could well have taken all three points.

Ardley said: ‘The whole back four and the goalkeeper were solid.

‘I was glad that they got a clean sheet.

‘We defended brilliantly, including the players in front of the back four too.

‘The midfielders were tigerish and we are happy because it’s a good point on the road.

‘We did not come here for a point, we came here to win, but we have come away with a draw.

‘We also had moments when I thought we could have nicked it.

‘We have given them respect because they have good players in good areas, but I thought it was an even game.

‘I know Cooky (Paul Cook) has been frustrated with a lot of teams playing one up front and parking the bus.

‘But we played two up front with one in the hole behind so it doesn’t get any braver than that.’

While Ardley adjusted his formation, it was not overly cautious.

He said: ‘We came here and played a diamond formation and tried to hurt them.

‘We didn’t come here to sit back and I think that showed.

‘Three or four weeks ago we came in with our heads down after we got ripped apart on the break by Morecambe.

‘But our response since then has been very good. You are never going to go right through the season unbeaten in this league and it is about how you respond to defeats.

‘We have bounced back with four good performances and next time we lose we need to do that again.’