Dons boss Neal Ardley positive after battling draw

AFC Wimbledon

AFC Wimbledon manager Neal Ardley was determined to look at the positives as his side twice battled back to claim a point at Gillingham.

The Dons remained in the relegation places, four points adrift of fifth-bottom Plymouth, but Ardley knows there is plenty of time for things to change yet this season.

George Francomb’s second-half own goal had handed Gillingham the initiative but the visitors were level five minutes later through Lyle Taylor’s penalty after former Gills striker Cody McDonald was fouled by Luke O’Neil.

The hosts’ response was rapid with Max Ehmer bundling in on 69 minutes before AFC Wimbledon grabbed a point six minutes from time through substitute Harry Forrester’s volley from close range.

“A point away from home is good; if we win on Monday it becomes a great point. Our points target comes after 46 games and not 24,” said Ardley.

“We’ve come from behind twice, which is something we’ve not done much of this season and need to get better at.

“Obviously we’re disappointed at the manner of the two goals we’ve conceded; an unfortunate own goal and the second from a set piece. You make things hard when you play well and go behind in that way.

“We need to tidy up those goals. We didn’t deserve to lose the game, that’s for sure. I thought we played well; there was plenty of spirit, energy and endeavour from the group.

“I’ve managed here three times and they’ve all been 2-2 draws. Gillingham were at home, they’re on a roll and they pushed for the win. Even then, at 1-1, I thought that we could go on to win the game.”

A point also left Gillingham, level on points with Plymouth, looking firmly over their shoulder.

And manager Steve Lovell admitted there had been a sense of deja vu about the scoreline.

“It’s the third game here in a row against Wimbledon that’s finished 2-2. It’s always a battle against them but I’m pleased with the lads,” he said.

“It was all alright, I’d accept that performance on a game by game basis, I’m just slightly disappointed not to get three points.

“In that dressing room you’d think we lost 6-0 – the players are disappointed that they’ve not won it.

“It’s pleasing for me to see them thinking that they should have won the game.

“The second half became a good game of football and we created good chances. When we went 1-0 up I thought that we’d win the game easily. But they got a penalty, which was a bit harsh, and that lifted them.

“Then again after we scored the second I thought we’d go and get another couple.”