FA Cup defeat gives Dons a chance to concentrate on League Two survival

First published in Sport Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley says there is reluctant relief around the club that the historic FA Cup clash at Stadium MK did not go to a replay.

After Jack Midson’s terrific header had brought the Dons level in the second round tie, AFC Wimbledon came within a whisker of winning the game, before seeing the possible reply disappear off Jon Otsemobor’s freak back heel.

And while Ardley was disappointed to lose a game he thought they could have won, and that the superb travelling Dons army had to drive back down the M1 empty handed, he still revelled in the proud and resilient performance of his boys in blue and yellow.

However, Ardley also said that losing the tie was not the major disaster it may first appear to be.

“After talking to the board members after the game, everyone was, deep down, a little happy there would be no replay,” he said.

“To win that game would have been the ideal of course, and when Steven [Gregory] went through I thought that was it.

“But in the end, we have to concentrate on our league position and doing whatever we can to stay in it.

“A replay would have cranked up the hype a bit more and the circus surrounding the game would have continued, where as we need to be focusing on Barnet on Saturday.”

Ardley, pictured right, added: “If we can take that kind of performance in to the league, and we are working very hard to do that, both on the training pitch and by looking into the transfer market, then the tie will be positive for another reason.”

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