Cook ‘would have been happy with a 0-0’ - Dons boss

Neal Ardley
Neal Ardley
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Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley claimed opposite number Paul Cook told him Wigan Athletic would have settled for a 0-0 draw before the visitors eventually gained control and ran riot in south London.

After a relatively even first period, Latics grabbed the all-important first goal on 55 minutes through Michael Jacobs - and never looked back.

Wimbledon’s hopes were dashed by the sending-off of Harry Forrester for a second booking just after the hour mark.

And further goals from Nick Powell, Max Power - both out of the very top drawer - and Ivan Toney gave the final scoreline a rather flattering look.

But Ardley believes his side were very hard done-by.

“It was never a 4-0,” he opined. “It is in the end, obviously, because the result goes that way.

“But if I did the team-talk 65 minutes in, it is a positive team-talk.

“They carried out the game plan really well.

“In the first-half Wigan had a couple of chances early on when we did not quite get it right.

“After that there was nothing between the two teams.

“I spoke to ‘Cooky’ and he told me that they came in at half-time and said: ‘If we get a goal, great, but if not, we will try to get a 0-0’.

“They did not expect what they got, but our ill-discipline was what cost us.”

Ardley also reckoned his men didn’t get a fair crack of the whip from referee Brett Huxtable.

“The referee gave a horrendous decision, which cost us the first goal,” Ardley fumed.

“It was a clear foul on Lyle Taylor, he did not get it, and within 30 seconds it is a goal.

“It happened all game and I spoke to the fourth official about it.

“They dismiss your comments and say: ‘It is only a throw-in’, but it’s a throw-in that can nearly lead to a goal, and so on, and so forth.

“We lost our discipline then, though. Within the last 20 minutes we lost our heads.

“The last 20 minutes you have to put to one side a little bit because the game was over by that point.

“People will probably remember the last 20 minutes and say that we were well beaten, but we were not.

“For 65 minutes, we had a right go. I was proud of that, but disappointed with the lack of discipline.

“I take responsibility for everything that happens at the club.

“I take full responsibility for the first 65 minutes when we were having a right go and then it was very difficult after that.

“When you are down to 10 men, there is no game-plan to cope with that.”

That said, Ardley did pay tribute to the ‘breathtaking’ nature of some of Wigan’s play.

“This is a team that dominate teams regularly,” he added. “Their second and third goals were breathtaking and from top players.

“There is nothing you can really do about them.”