Ard­ley no closer to find­ing an an­swer

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Sam El­liott

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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E FRANC AFC Wimbl OMB edon

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