Ardley refuses to blame referee after resilient AFC Wimbledon are made to pay for first-half red card

Luton Town 2-0 AFC Wimbledon

Neal Ardley thought 10-man AFC Wimbledon were ‘excellent’ despite seeing them fall to a late defeat at Luton Town.

The Dons played just under an hour with a man less after defender Karleigh Osborne received two yellow cards in five minutes at Kenilworth Road.

But despite the numerical disadvantage, the visitors more than held their own before conceding two Jack Marriott goals in the last 11 minutes.

Ardley told BBC London: “No one likes losing, we’ve gone five games unbeaten and it’s ended, we’ve got to start again.

“Obviously it’s tough, 35 minutes going down to 10 men but we can only control our performance levels, our energy, the effort we put in, the way we play. I thought we were excellent.”

Osborne was recalled to the starting line-up in place of the injured Will Nightingale, but two fouls after the half-hour mark saw the defender dismissed.

“I couldn’t see the first foul,” Ardley added.

“I thought the second one was a little bit light, and it’s disappointing not to get that warning to say it’s your last foul, but I’m not going to have a go at the referee about it.”

The sending off forced the Dons to a formation change that saw then adopt a diamond system with Adebayo Akinfenwa up front on his own.

“We defended brilliantly and we had chances to get our noses in front, but we conceded a ‘could have gone anywhere goal’, and then a breakaway goal when we’re chasing the game,” he added.

Even at 1-0 down, Wimbledon still had a chance to salvage a point from the game, but Akinfenwa was brilliantly denied by Mark Tyler.

The Dons must now look forward to two home games in the next seven days, entertaining Northampton on Tuesday night before Barnet make the trip to Kingsmeadow next Saturday.

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

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