NO HANGOVER FOR THE DONS
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.”
SPEED: Dom Poleon sprints SLIDE WITH PRIDE: Tom Elliott celebrates his well-taken Dons goal