Dons boss Ardley: Cobblers draw was a great advert for League Two

Neal Ardley's side are the first to play Northampton twice and not taste defeat. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds

Neal Ardley's side are the first to play Northampton twice and not taste defeat. Picture by Kirsty Edmonds

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AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley described his side’s 1-1 draw with Northampton as “a really good advert for League Two” as he praised both the Dons and the Cobblers for putting on a riveting spectacle at Sixfields on Tuesday.

There was no holding back from either side as the division’s two most in-form teams went toe-to-toe in a breathless encounter that could have swung either way.

A total of 32 shots were registered as both sides attacked with regularity but John-Joe O’Toole and Lyle Taylor were the only men to find the net.

“What a game of football,” said Ardley afterwards. “I had to have a little look at the stats to get gauge how the game ebbed and flowed and they had 16 attempts, three on goal, and we had 16 attempts, eight on goal.

“I thought it was two really, really good teams going at each other hammer and tongs and I’m proud to be part of that game and we certainly deserved at least a point from it.

“I’m glad we got something because we went toe-to-toe with Oxford on Saturday and we were better on the day and then we’ve gone toe-to-toe with Northampton today and what a great game.

“They put a bit of pressure on us late on but we had a spell 20 minutes into the second half where you’re just thinking you’ve got to score again because Robinson hit the post and we had a couple of other chances.

“We didn’t score and you knew they’d come back at you with the attacking talent they’ve got but there was great energy and commitment on show and I thought that was a really good advert for League Two with two of the better teams in the division going toe-to-toe.”

Ardley revealed he tweaked his tactics for this game following Saturday’s home defeat to Oxford United.

He added: “We slightly tweaked our tactics today and we had a game plan because I knew this pitch would be beautiful and a great pitch to play football on.

“Sometimes when we play at home we have to alter the way we play because of our pitch so it was a game where I wanted the boys to have plenty of the ball and enjoy having the ball and I thought it was a really good football match.

“It’s disappointing when you concede from a set-piece because we work so hard on them and for one player to switch off is disappointing especially a minute before half-time.

“We chased the game and showed great character and these boys are going this club proud and it’s another point towards our total.

“I didn’t want to be cagey and drag out a point, we wanted to have a go at them and I think you saw two teams have a real good go at each other.”