Ard­ley ‘let down’ by a lack of pas­sion

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By James Cun­liffe

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.”

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