The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Alas­dair Richards

A WEEK on from Wim­ble­don’s har­row­ing de­feat to bit­ter ri­vals MK Dons, boss Neal Ard­ley was thrilled to see the re­sult is well and truly out of their sys­tem.

Level and goal­less with Port Vale at half-time, there was noth­ing for the long-suf­fer­ing home fans to get ex­cited about.

But sec­ond-half strikes from Do­minic Poleon, Tom El­liot, Ty­rone Bar­nett and Chris Robert­son cer­tainly light­ened the mood.

Ard­ley said: “We were re­ally dis­ap­pointed last Satur­day [v MK Dons]. I’ve never seen the dress­ing room so low.

“We knew what it meant to the club and we were des­per­ate to put on a good show and we didn’t.

“We fo­cused all week at get­ting us right, get­ting the en­ergy lev­els where they need to be and I thought they were phe­nom­e­nal.

“I think it would be close to our best League One per­for­mance. We’ve had some good ones but it would be close be­cause ev­ery­thing we look for from our team was there.

And peo­ple might go away and say Port Vale were poor but some­times it’s how poor are they and how good are we. I would rather talk about how good we were.”

An in­spired per­for­mance from Port Vale goal­keeper Jak Al­nwick kept the game goal­less at half-time.

But in the 53rd minute Wim­ble­don broke the dead­lock as Sean Kelly made an ex­cel­lent run down the flank and crossed for Poleon to bun­dle in his 12th goal of the sea­son from close range.

Five min­utes later El­liot dou­bled Dons’ lead with a header from a cor­ner.

Port Vale al­most got back into the con­test quickly but keeper James Shea turned Nathan Smith’s ef­fort onto the cross­bar, be­fore Bar­nett and Robert­son net­ted in the fi­nal five min­utes.

And Vale as­sis­tant man­ager Michael Brown was left seething at the ul­ti­mate man­ner of his side’s de­feat.

He said: “You can get beat in games but the man­ner of get­ting beat out there was un­ac­cept­able.

“All we can say is how dis­ap­pointed we are and we’ve let them down, we’ve let the club down.

“The play­ers have got to have a look at the stan­dards that they need to set as a group.

“They were just out-fought. The way that ev­ery lit­tle chal­lenge, lit­tle loose balls, we were sec­ond to ev­ery­thing.

“We have got an in­ex­pe­ri­enced team there. Maybe some of our more ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers maybe would have got to grips with that sort of game over here, but it wasn’t to be.

“You shouldn’t do that at 2-0. You have a good chance with a great save, so if we score that I fancy us to go on.

“But they got the mo­men­tum, they pushed on, they felt we were there for the tak­ing. “That was the most dis­ap­point­ing – they pushed us and pushed us look­ing for more goals.”

PIC­TURES: Stuart Butcher/ProS­ports

SPEED: Dom Poleon sprints SLIDE WITH PRIDE: Tom El­liott cel­e­brates his well-taken Dons goal

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