Play-offs are still in reach for Ardley
DESPITE a fifth game without victory, AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley is adamant his side have enough to claim a play-off place.
An evenly-matched contest with Morecambe only exploded into life late on, Andy Fleming putting the hosts in front with 14 minutes to go and Jamie Devitt doubling their advantage from the spot.
With Ryan Sweeney sent off after conceding the penalty, ten-man Dons fought back through George Francomb but couldn’t find an equaliser.
But Ardley believes they are “absolutely capable” of winning the majority of their remaining fixtures to seal a top-seven finish.
He said:“I don’t like using excuses, but they looked like they didn’t have a midweek game and we looked like we did.
“In the second half we were much better, but moments can change games.
“They took the lead – a bad goal for us to concede – we go down the other end, Lyle Taylor does everything right and hits the post.Within seconds, it’s 2-0.
“Credit to the boys, they showed unbelievable character with ten men. It’s a different story if Ade [Azeez] had scored at the end.
“But we’ve got to get our heads up. Are we capable of winning six out of our last ten? Absolutely.”
Substitute Fleming marked his return from suspension with his third goal of the season, netting from close range after good work by Shaun Miller, to begin the frantic finale.
It was the spark the Shrimps needed, as Tom Barkhuizen then won a penalty after being dragged back by Sweeney, giving Devitt the chance to fire home from the spot.
Moments earlier, Taylor had rattled the post for Dons, before Francomb’s low shot in the final seconds of normal time set up a close finish.
The visitors had a glorious chance to snatch a point at the death, but Ade Azeez could only blaze wide from close range.
For Morecambe it was a first win in 11 games and manager Jim Bentley believes it was well overdue.
He said:“We just about deserved it.Wimbledon are a good side so we knew it was going to be tough, but we played well and created good chances.
“I am a bit disappointed in our game management after the sending-off, but as Wimbledon were down to ten and had nothing to lose, they put bodies forward.
“When you haven’t won for so long it can get nervy and you could sense that, but we held on.
“Performance-wise, we’ve been doing alright and haven’t had that rub of the green. Now we have and hopefully we’ve broken the cycle.”
STAR MAN JAMIE DEVITT Moreca