Ard­ley left tear­ing his hair over Dons’ draw

AFC WIM­BLE­DON 2

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Peter Gray

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.”

PIC­TURES: Pin­na­cle

TEEN STAR: Jamie Reid puts Ex­eter in front

LUKE MOORE

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