Ardley left tearing his hair over Dons’ draw
AFC WIMBLEDON 2
AFC WIMBLEDON boss Neal Ardley admits his side are giving him grey hair after a thrilling draw against Exeter – a result neither team really wanted in their battles at both ends of the table.
Twice 18-year-old Jamie Reid, on his full debut, put play-off chasing Exeter ahead but twice Luke Moore leveled for the hosts, handing the Dons a crucial point in their survival fight.
Ardley’s side now sit three points above 23rd-placed Torquay but have played a game more while bottom side Aldershot are just a point further behind.
The bottom eight are separated by just six points as the season draws to a close but Ardley is optimistic his side will survive if they show the character on display against Exeter.
“We always knew it was going to be a really difficult game to play because we knew Exeter would come to win,” said Ardley.
“It was win or bust for them and that’s always tricky to play against.
“It was probably a great game for the neutral but it wasn’t a great game for me and I think I’ll find a few grey hairs in the morning.
“But I can’t fault the lads. That to me looked like a team absolutely fighting for everything.
“It was always going to go down to the last game.We’ve come back twice from being behind and that doesn’t happen without character and drive.They gave everything for the club.”
Jamie Cureton had the game’s first chance after 12 minutes but his curling effort from just inside the box was tipped away by John Sullivan.
Two minutes later Luke Moore elected to tee up Sammy Moore, with the goal gaping after an Artur Krysiak error, and his shot from distance was saved as Krysiak recovered in time.
Exeter took the lead when Reid was given time outside the box to drive a low shot into the corner past Sullivan on 36 minutes.
Luke Moore leveled on 58 minutes when he pounced after Exeter failed to clear but Reid bagged his second from a tight angle soon after. But on 63 minutes, Luke Moore with another low finish from outside the area before Charlie Strutton missed a one-on-one for the hosts and Cureton had a late goal disallowed for offside.
But Exeter boss Paul Tisdale remained defiant, claiming his side can still catch Bradford in seventh. “I’m not happy with a point because we needed a win, but I’m sure that Neal isn’t either,” he said. “There was a huge amount of effort from the players, a total commitment from both sides and horrendous conditions.You won’t see a more bumpy pitch than that one we played on. I know for a fact that Jamie (Reid) wasn’t expecting to be playing. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him!
“Jamie is a young player and I thought that this was the type of game for him.”
TEEN STAR: Jamie Reid puts Exeter in front