Five minutes of madness leaves Ardley fuming as AFC Wimbledon’s poor start to the season goes on

AFC Wimbledon 2-0 Cambridge United

A frustrated Neal Ardley believes AFC Wimbledon’s lack of discipline cost them against Cambridge United last night as he fumed over their second-half performance.

A dominant first-half display saw the home side leading at the break thanks to an emphatic finish from Cambridge old boy Tom Elliott.

But the game changed within three minutes of the restart as Cambridge scored twice from corners through Leon Legge and Barry Corr.

The defeat means the Dons have lost both of their games at Kingsmeadow this season and have three losses from four games in all competitions.

“I told them several times to stick together if we faced adversity,” said Ardley.

“The first element of that was when we conceded a goal at the start of the second half, but we needed to pick ourselves up and within two minutes we have not dealt with the next part right.

“They had six or seven players over 6 feet 3 inches tall and they were always going to keep putting balls into our box.

“We said beforehand not to give away set-pieces because it would give them an opportunity to throw loads of bodies into the box.

“It was five minutes of madness at the start of the second half.”

Elliott, who formed a powerful frontline alongside Adebayo Akinfenwa, scored his first Dons’ goal as the hosts dominated the first half with Sean Rigg and Andy Barcham a constant threat on the flanks.

Cambridge had offered very little but that changed within a minute of the second half when Legge headed past James Shea and, just two minutes later, Corr took advantage of sloppy defending to volley in the second.

Ardley felt the Dons could have still salvaged the game but instead resorted to fighting it out with a physically imposing Cambridge side.

“The disappointing thing for me again was that we lost our discipline,” he added.

“We could have grown into the game again and got back on the front foot, but we turned the game into a fight against a team full of giants and that was disappointing to say the least.”

He also criticised his team’s finishing and believes the game should have been won before half time.

“You can put an attacking team out, get your full-backs and wingers working in unison, and keep getting bodies into the box, but you have to take your chances,” he said.

“We wanted to play two wingers with Andy Barcham and Sean Rigg pulling their two centre backs into wider areas.

“They did that brilliantly in the first half, but we have lost the game to two set pieces.”

The Dons now face the long trip to Carlisle on Saturday for what could prove to be a tricky away fixture.

Last year’s trip north ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw in September and the Dons will want to improve on the 3-1 defeat they suffered when the two sides last met just after Christmas.

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

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