Neal’s not downcast even in drop zone
AFC WIMBLEDON are now in the relegation zone in League One as their poor run continues – but boss Neal Ardley sees plenty of signs of encouragement.
Ardley’s side were held to a goalless draw at Kingsmeadow, dominating possession and territory against Rochdale but never really carving out a serious chance of note.
The Dons have now only scored two goals, and won once, in their last seven games and drop to 21st in the table, not that Ardley appears too concerned.
“People talk about one win in six, or seven, as it is now,” he said.
“But I actually think in the last five games, we have played well.
“There are encouraging signs there with some of our approach play, and if you can’t win a game, you must make sure that you don’t lose it. But we need to improve and we know that.
“We were looking to win and if anyone was going to score, it was going to be us.
“But we looked a bit flat first half, which is a natural consequence of the results we have had recently.
“We lacked intensity in our game early on and that is something we will need to look at and work on this week; starting games better.
“We started the second half well, but couldn’t keep that up and overall, we just lacked that final ball or bit of quality that you need to unlock a side like Rochdale.”
After failing to win any of their first six league games, Keith Hill’s Rochdale appear to have turned a corner.
Andy Barcham came closest to a goal for the hosts with a curler in the first half and a blocked effort on the resumption while Barry Fuller’s angled drive also forced Josh Lillis into action.
Up the other end, Donervon Daniels’ header forced a save and Dale held on for their fourth cleansheet on the spin in all competitions.
But, having shored up the defence, attentions have turned to the attack.
“Defensively, I thought we were excellent,” said Hill. “Wimbledon havent been on a great run but we knew it would be a bit of a battle here.
“But we have to show more composure on regains. We’re a passing side but I don’t think we utilised our skills going forward.
“There has been a lot of concentration on keeping clean sheets, defending and being assertive against our opponents.
“But when we have got the ball, we have got to be better.
“We have got to be more creative.”