Chesterfield 2 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley blasted his players after they slipped to a second away defeat inside a week, losing 2-0 at Chesterfield on Saturday (9 February).
The Dons boss told the club’s official website: ‘We have a team full of players saying the right things before the game ... but we did not do it. I cannot accept it.
‘The boys have been told how I feel and they have to step up to the mark as it cannot continue. I am hurting after that, and I hope the players are, too.
‘We have characters in the squad, but we are not producing.’
Defeat leaves the Dons still bottom of the League Two table, although within spitting distance of their closest rivals and with a game in hand over many of them.
But their hopes of avoiding the drop weren’t helped by this defeat, despite the fact that it was the away side who had the better of the early exchanges, albeit without fashioning many clear-cut chances.
And with the Dons defence proving somewhat more resolute than in previous weeks, it made for a first-half of few openings. The closest that the Dons came was in the 40th minute when Gary Alexander failed to capitalise on Jack Midson’s flick.
Midson was withdrawn at half-time to try to negate Chesterfield’s marauding midfielders, but the Dons fell behind when they allowed Nathan Smith too much space and he set up Armand Gnanduillet who curled the ball home.
The Dons failed to respond to their manager’s frantic urgings to increase the tempo of the game and the result was effectively sealed with seven minutes remaining when Jack Lester was set up by Gnanduillet and beat Sullivan.
Luke Moore did have one effort saved by Tommy Lee, but it was Sullivan at the other end who had the final say, denying Drew Talbot with a spectacular late save.
Ardley will no doubt be hoping the Dons players respond to his criticism as they have two home games in quick succession, first against League Cup finalists Bradford City next Saturday (16 February) followed by the visit of Northampton Town (19 February).
With the clock ticking down to the end of the season, the pressure is on to get back to unbeaten ways.
Chesterfield: Lee, Talbot, Trotman, Cooper, Smith, Togwell, Hird, Whitaker (Brindley 90), Randall (Gnanduillet 46), O’Shea, Richards (Lester 21). Subs not used: Barrington, Clay, Wafula, Townsend.
Goalscorers: Gnanduillet 59, Lester 83.
Booked: Lester 34, O’Shea 73.
Wimbledon: Sullivan, Fenlon, Bennett, Mitchel-King, Hussey, Sweeney (S. Moore 79), Long (McCallum 69), Meades, L. Moore, Midson (Ajala 46), Alexander. Subs not used: Jaimez-Ruiz, Cummings, Balkestein, Yussuff.
Booked: Fenlon 37, Sweeney 57, Ajala 77.
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February 10, 2013