Wimbledon boss Ardley full of praise for brave Borough
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
The third-longest serving manager in the top four tiers of English football hailed the effort of Tom Loizou’s non-league minnows
AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley paid tribute to Haringey Borough after he saw his team survive a scare in the first round of the FA Cup on Friday night.
The Dons needed a 90th-minute deflected strike by Mitchell Pinnock to earn them a 1-0 win in front of the BBC Two cameras and a crowd of 2,710
It was slightly harsh on Bostik Premier side Borough after they had given everything on a wet and windy night in north London against their League One opponents.
Ardley said: “There was a little bit of nervousness and the players knew they were on a hiding to nothing.
“I asked them to show character and the conditions were tough for both teams and I thought Haringey were brilliant.
“They worked their socks off and tried to nullify all parts of our game. We didn’t move the ball quick enough to cause them the problems we wanted to, but their goalkeeper (Valery Pajetet) has made some good saves in the second half.
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“In the end, we’ve had loads of games this season where we haven’t had any luck and against Haringey we’ve had a stroke of luck, so maybe it does even itself out. The main thing in an FA Cup game is we are through to the next round.”
Pajetet was in inspired form from the off, after collecting a corner despite the swirling wind in the second minute.
He made saves from Ben Purrington, Toby Sibbick, Pinnock and Tom Soares before he was beaten on the stroke of full time.
Jake Jervis’ cross was headed out to Pinnock and his shot took a deflection off David Olufemi and looped over Pajetet.
“I thought we were too slow in the first half, we controlled spells, but we were slow in our build up play and we didn’t have enough shots on target. We only had one I think,” Ardley said.
“For the second half, we wanted to come out and have a bit more intent and I thought we asked a lot more questions, but then the game become a lot more open and one break away and there is a cup upset.
“We kept having shots and putting crosses into the area in the hope eventually we would get a bit of luck and we got it with the deflection.”
Borough certainly had their moments with left-back Michael O’Donoghue firing over in the first half and Charley Barker swinging in a number of dangerous deliveries.
In the 72nd minute Coles Park erupted when Joe Staunton fired in after exchanging passes with Michael Ademiluyi, but it was correctly ruled out for offside.
Ardley concluded: “These are tough games and I know people expected us to score two or three and wanted us to do that and show we are the better team, but we are in the next round.
“We would have got crucified if we weren’t in the next round. Haringey took us all the way, but we’ve ended up winning and the boys deserve at least some credit for that.”