Ardley’s hairdryer blows away winless run as AFC Wimbledon produce stunning comeback at Crawley Town

Crawley Town 1-2 AFC Wimbledon

Neal Ardley was forced to revert to the hairdryer treatment to inspire AFC Wimbledon’s superb second-half comeback at Crawley Town on Saturday.

Bayo Akinfenwa’s first goal of the season and a winner by the impressive Andy Barcham cancelled out Gwion Edwards’ first-half header.

It gave the Dons their first away win of 2015 – and ended a run of 10 games without a win stretching back to March 21 – but came only after manager Ardley’s stern half-time words and change in formation as he replaced striker Tom Elliott with midfielder Danny Bulman.

“There was a tactical change at half-time, but I also challenged the players and really laid it down to them,” said Ardley after preventing a third defeat from the Dons’ opening three games of the season.

“I think a few of them were not happy with a couple of things I said. They responded in a big way.

“In the second half the pace, tempo and good moments that we created got us in front and we ended up with a win.

“I have learned now. I was brave to play the formation again away from home and brave to make the substitution, but the boys responded brilliantly. They are the ones who deserve the credit.”

Ardley reserved special praise for the fearless display of match winner Barcham and spoke of the importance of un-sung hero Jake Reeves.

“When you see an exciting player who works his socks off for the team and delivers an end product everyone is going to like him,” Ardley said of Barcham.

“I have liked him now for two-and-a-half years and I finally got him over the line during the summer.

“He is showing us why we worked so hard to get him. Anyone who is not excited by Andy should not be watching football.

“The work that Jake Reeves did for the second goal was breathtaking.

“He outran someone in midfield, before sending a lovely ball through for George Francomb. That teed up the whole move.”

The Dons host Cambridge United on Tuesday evening and will be after back-to-back wins for the first time in 2015.

Feature image courtesy of AFC Wimbledon, via Youtube, with thanks

Related Articles