Ardley no closer to finding an answer
THAT 25-goal a season striker? A tigerish central midfield ball-winner perhaps. Most managers already have their summer wish-list written and on their chairman’s desk.
Not Neal Ardley, the AFC Wimbledon manager. He is looking for something different this close season – an answer to a riddle he just can’t solve.
His side are a conundrum this year, and against Newport County illustrated why he is so ticked off.Yes a sterling second-half fightback from 2-0 down when some sides would have been long beaten, but yet again a slugglish low-tempo start that had them chasing their tails and forcing the comeback.
You see, the Dons in over a calendar year have scored just once in the opening 28 minutes of League Two football.
And not finding the net in the first third of a game is starting to grate, even though their second-wind is certainly entertaining the fans.
He said:“If anyone has got any idea of how to do it, come in for a meeting – please! Everything we work on in training is about getting us on the frontfoot early.
“If anything, the stat has become a millstone around our necks.We have tried absolutely everything, but it’s not worked.
“That said, I’m pleased with another good fightback. We just wish we could hit the ground running.”
County went ahead when Chris Zebroski was given too much space to turn and shoot to fire in a spectacular opener after a quarter of an hour.
After former Don Christian Jolley was wiped out by substitute Chris Arthur – on for little more than a minute – Michael Flynn’s penalty doubled the lead just after half-time.
It was an explosive start to the second-half. Kwesi Appiah nodded in from close range before George Francomb let fly, his deflected equaliser with over 20 minutes to go created a grandstand finish.
But neither side could fashion a winner, with Jack Midson hitting the post for the home side when he should have scored.
Jolley, returning to Kingsmeadow, said:“It was great to be back but obviously we’re frustrated to drop two points.
“Our season has been pretty much identical to Wimbledon’s first year in the League.
“They struggled in their second season and only stayed up on the last day of the season so it’s vital we don’t make the same mistakes.
“We want to end on a high so the game against Burton on Monday is really important.”
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STAR MAN GEORG
E FRANC AFC Wimbl OMB edon