‘We lost our heads’ says Dons boss Neal
NEAL Ardley branded AFC Wimbledon’s opening-day defeat to Plymouth a reality check and claimed his players lost their heads after going behind.
Plymouth debutants Gregg Wylde and Graham Carey struck wonder goals either side of half-time after the Dons had started the better side.
Wylde, a free signing from St Mirren, opened the scoring on 40 minutes before Carey, who joined from Ross County, bagged his first Pilgrims goal four minutes after the break to seal the win.
“To win games at this level you need to be a team,” said Ardley.“We were a team for the first-half, and we were probably a team for the last 15 minutes but in between that we had a 25-minute spell where we were 11 individuals.
“We lost our heads, we face adversity and the boys so want to do well and think they can do well but at that point they saw the game slipping away and that can go two ways. One way is to lose your head a bit and we had 11 that lost their heads.
“It was not the result, not the performance, not anything. It’s a little bit of a reality check.”
New Argyle boss Derek Adams – who took over from John Sheridan in the summer – was in the stands watching AFC Wimbledon last weekend and claimed the homework had them ready for their physicality.
The Dons started with new signings Tom Elliott and Lyle Taylor either side of Adebayo Akinfenwa in a three-man attack, but after a fast start the trio faded.
“That wasn’t a surprise,” said Adams.“We had seen it before, we had watched videos and the players were primed, we knew what was coming. We didn’t expect it to come in the droves it did at the start of the game.
“They had more possession but that’s always going to happen away from home, we didn’t change anything because we knew as the game went on that we had the players in the team to open up the opposition and that’s how it panned out.”
After play-off defeat to Wycombe last term the Scot is keen get the ball rolling early on and believes this result can set up another promotion assault.
“It’s always important, for any team, you want to win your first game,” Adams added.
“And with a new manager at a club you want to get off and running as soon as possible, we’ve been able to do that.
“We want to push on now, there are a lot of good sides in the league, but we’ve started very well and want to use that momentum.
“For the two boys to score goals on their debut, and the performances of the others who made their debuts, it is outstanding.”