Ardley thanks Frankie for late Christmas gift in AFC Wimbledon Boxing Day win

Portsmouth 0-2 AFC Wimbledon

Frankie Sutherland earned special praise from Neal Ardley as the on-loan QPR midfielder helped AFC Wimbledon to a deserved victory at Portsmouth.

Sutherland scored his first senior goal in professional football in the ninth minute, before leading scorer Matt Tubbs added to his season’s tally shortly afterwards.

Wimbledon eased to victory after the break, which saw Portsmouth’s Dan Butler dismissed for a second bookable offence, with Ardley praising Sutherland’s impressive performance having left him out for a few games.

He said: “It was the right time to put him back in.

“Frankie did exceptionally well for us when he first came in, but he just got tired with the step-up from playing under-21s football.”

Ardley explained that while he rested the 21-year old, it coincided with the team putting a string of results together, but Sutherland continued to apply himself in training despite being unable to earn a first-team berth.

He added: “You can tell when a player has got confidence and they are refreshed.

“It was the right time to put him back in.”

Wimbledon dominated the early exchanges and took a deserved lead through Sutherland’s strike – a sumptuous left-footed curler into the top right corner.

“I was right behind Frankie’s shot and as soon as it left his boot I thought it was going in,” said Ardley.

The goal was followed eight minutes later by on-loan Bournemouth forward Tubbs, who scored his 11th league goal of the season with a clinical finish after being put through by George Francomb.

As well as praising his on-loan midfielder, Ardley was pleased with his side’s performance.

“I thought that to a man we were excellent. We played a slightly different shape and the team coped well. We defended very well at 2-0,” he said.

Wimbledon are up to 12th place in the Sky Bet League Two table with 30 points – seven points behind Plymouth and Newport in the final two play-off positions.

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