‘Ard work pays off as Dons pip Tubbs

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Gre­gory Wells

NEAL Ard­ley ad­mit­ted he fi­nally had rea­son to cheer as his AFC Wim­ble­don squeezed home against Portsmouth at the Kingsmeadow Sta­dium.

The only goal of the game came in the sixth minute, when Craig Tan­ner’s cross was sliced into his own net by Pom­pey de­fender Ben Chor­ley.

It sealed the Dons’ dou­ble over Pom­pey, which al­lowed them to leapfrog their ri­vals in the ta­ble and cross the vi­tal 50-point mark – all of which left Ard­ley grin­ning from ear to ear.

“It’s been a tough three weeks,” said Ard­ley.“But I fan­cied us to win, de­spite all that. It’s typ­i­cal Wim­ble­don style, when the go­ing gets tough, we re­spond.

“We played re­ally well at Mans­field, de­served three points and came out with none. Then there was the soft penalty at Ex­eter.

“Be­fore that we lost James Shea, Ge­orge Fram­combe and Cal­lum Kennedy to in­juries, David Con­nelly to re­tire­ment, Dave Wingfield was re­called. So to end all that with three points was per­fect.

“I’m de­lighted for Tan­ner as well. Peo­ple have talked about the fact that he hasn’t scored and that maybe he’s not a League Two player, but here he showed he has qual­i­ties much higher than League Two.”

The game burst into life as Al­fie Pot­ter slipped a per­fect ball through a crowded box, find­ing Tan­ner, whose cross found the back of the net via Chor­ley.

But de­spite the early lead, Wim­ble­don were pinned back for large pe­ri­ods in the first half, even if Pom­pey cre­ated lit­tle.

They came clos­est through Matt Tubbs, who was de­nied a dream re­turn to Kingsmeadow by the out-stretched palm of Ross Worner.

In the sec­ond half, Andy Aw­ford threw cau­tion to the wind, in­tro­duc­ing two ex­tra strik­ers and tak­ing his team to a 4-2-4.

The move had lit­tle in­flu­ence, as they cre­ated lit­tle, with Worner be­ing called into ac­tion only once, sav­ing from Ryan Tay­lor at his near post.

Wim­ble­don, how­ever, grew into the game and Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa was de­nied only by the bar, while Paul Jones pulled off a string of fine saves, deny­ing Paul Smith and Tan­ner twice from long-range.

“I’m not sure we de­served to lose, but I’m not sure we de­served to win ei­ther,” said Aw­ford.

“Jones didn’t have much to do and, in all fair­ness, nei­ther did their keeper. But with the amount of pos­ses­sion we’ve had, we’re dis­ap­pointed with how lit­tle we’ve cre­ated. The most dis­ap­point­ing thing is that we spoke be­fore the game about be­ing solid and hard to beat.”


R AFC Wimbl


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