Ardley ‘let down’ by a lack of passion
FURIOUS first team coach Simon Bassey slated his AFC Wimbledon players, saying they were not fit to wear the shirt after an “unacceptable” defeat to Luton.
The hosts held firm for 60 minutes at Kingsmeadow but the Hatters’ Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Elliot Lee both found the net, while Danny Hylton missed a penalty.
A sixth straight league defeat brought a man at the end of his tether in Bassey, who said he felt manager Neal Ardley failed to get the performance he deserved.
“It’s a disappointing result. The second half was unacceptable, nowhere near good enough,” said Bassey. “Neal [Ardley] defends the players regularly and they let him down. He’s a man with integrity, honesty, cares for players and they let him down.
“They didn’t run hard enough and if you don’t do that you’re in trouble.”
Mpanzu’s volley on 61 minutes – his first of the season – brightened what had until then been a dull match, with chances at a premium for both sides.
Returning from a three-game spell on the treatment table, Lee then settled the contest after 80 minutes with a sumptuous 20-yard drive, which would have been much to the relief of Hatters striker Danny Hylton.
The midweek hat-trick hero had the chance to double Town’s lead when he was tripped to win a spot-kick, but he opted for a Panenka penalty and weakly chipped at keeper Joe McDonnell.
It wasn’t Hylton’s day as he saw early headers hit the post and get cleared off the line, but that was closer than the Dons came to a goal.
“With confidence fragile, the first goal is huge,” Bassey said. “We’re struggling to score one at the minute so we know to score two is virtually impossible. “The crowd were excellent. They got up when the penalty was missed and you could sense a real feel of euphoria. The players didn’t respond to the crowd and that’s unacceptable for this football club.”
Luton manager Nathan Jones said: “I’ve spoken to Danny [Hylton]. I haven’t had a go at him but it’s not a day for clipped penalties.
“Otherwise, we showed a thoroughly professional side. We kept a clean sheet and we defended our box well against difficult opponents.”