Ardley: Dons looking strong from bench to pitch

Wandsworth Guardian: Bang: Michael Smith celebrates his terrific header in the 1-1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge               SP81216 Bang: Michael Smith celebrates his terrific header in the 1-1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge SP81216

After Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Dagenham & Redbridge, Dons boss Neal Ardley declared he has a “decent League Two team” at his disposal.

The draw, which featured an excellent Michael Smith header, keeps AFC Wimbledon 10th in League Two.

It could have been billed as the shoot-out between the league’s top scorers – Smith ended the evening on eight goals, while Daggers’s Rhys Murphy, who bagged the equaliser, finished with nine.

Ardley admitted he had considered signing Murphy in the summer, but instead opted for Smith – a decision he certainly does not regret.

“Michael and Rhys are two different types of striker – we looked at Rhys, but at the time we were looking for a more orthodox number nine than a clever mover,” he said.

He added: “Rhys is good for them, but I thought Michael was phenomenal for us.

“Once I saw him chase back from the half way line to put a tackle in on the edge of our box, and when your centre forward is showing that kind of work ethic – alongside his pinning, bullying, scoring, looking like a threat – you know he could be a very good player.”

But most fans left the Cherry Red Records stadium frustrated at a match that was littered with fouls and stoppages at the behest of the referee.

Ardley said: “We’re the home team, so we wanted the win. I am sure fans will be disappointed, but they are a decent team.

“I cannot remember them having too many good chances, they hit the post in the first half, but Ross [Worner] did not have too many chances to deal with.

“I thought we had some chances to win it – we looked like an attacking threat, and had a solid defensive show against a pacy team.

“If I was a fan, I would be thinking we have a decent League Two team this season.

“I looked at our bench today, and I thought they were all good enough to play – last season we did not have that.”

Dons go to Bristol Rovers this weekend still without the services of Chris Arthur (ankle) and Will Antwi (back).



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