NOW NEAL IS THE NEW TINKERMAN
NEAL Ardley swallowed his pride and admitted he got his tactics wrong before a switch saw AFC Wimbledon overturn a half-time deficit to beat Mansfield Town.
The Stags opened the scoring after just ten minutes through Matt Green and continued to dominate the first half as the home side struggled to play with three in midfield.
However a quick-fire goal from Lyle Taylor in the second half and two more from Jon Meades and Adebayo Azeez capped off an impressive Wimbledon fightback.
Ardley opted to start with a 4-3-3 formation – an unusual choice for his Wimbledon side – before reverting to a 4-4-2 system more familiar to the home faithful this season.
And the manager admitted that he had made a mistake.
He said: “I got it wrong. We had a look at 4-3-3 and in training on Friday, they were fantastic at it. And Tom Elliott has been good in training and been a real handful, so I came away thinking it could work.
“We then went into the game and it was too attacking with too many forward-thinking players.
“Then before we knew it a usually very solid defence looked a little bit shaky and there was a lot of space in the middle of the park.
“To be fair to the players, they were a bit disjointed in the first half and the rhythm wasn’t there,.
“But in the second half I said that there were no excuses and they all knew their jobs.
“And credit to the boys, they went out and from minute one they were phenomenal.”
Green put the visitors ahead when he tapped the ball home after Dons’ former Arsenal goalkeeper James Shea failed with an attempted punch away.
However a change in formation and a revitalised Wimbledon came out in the second half and snatched a goal from Taylor, when he neatly rolled the ball into the centre of the goal.
Meades then put the home side ahead when he rose highest to head the ball into the net from a corner.
Then, with just four minutes remaining, star man Tom Elliott placed a through pass to substitute Azeez who gently lifted the ball over veteran goalkeeper Brian Jensen to put the game to bed.
“It should have been three, possibly four at half-time and we’ve come out and started sloppy,” said Mansfield boss Adam Murray.
“If we’re being honest that’s been the story of our season.
“We physically got dominated.We came up against three out-and-out six foot plus monsters, and we looked like babies.
“If we can dictate play like we did in the first half then they wouldn’t have had the opportunities to keep launching it down our throats “We need to understand how we swing it back our way.
“We can’t just keep going into our shell when we don’t get our own way.”
NICE AND EEZY: Ade Azeez makes it 3-1 to Wimbledon
LEVELLER: Lyle Taylor puts the Dons back on terms
STAR MAN TOM ELLIOTT Wimbledon