Wigan Athletic deserve title over season - Dons boss

Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley was happy to secure a priceless point against a Wigan Athletic side he believes will be worthy League One champions.

Saturday, 28th April 2018, 9:20 pm
Updated Sunday, 29th April 2018, 4:16 pm
Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley, far right
Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley, far right

Latics were thwarted in their bid to seal top spot with a game to go by a battling Wimbledon display that boosts their own hopes of avoiding relegation.

However, the mastermind behind halting Paul Cook’s men reckons the party has only been put on hold for a week.

“I think Wigan have been the best team over the course of the season,” said Ardley.

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“Blackburn have certainly more than matched them in the second half of the season.

“But they started slowly, whereas the stats were in Wigan’s favour from the off.

“They’ve been the best team, with the best stats, with the best winning outcome all season, and they’ve probably done enough to finish top.”

Not that Ardley will be taking any additional satisfaction in being the side that put the Wigan party on hold.

“I’m not worried about stopping them winning the league,” the Wimbledon manager added.

“I wish we could have given them a guard of honour on to the field, because it would have made our job that bit easier!”

The Dons were indebted to goalkeeper George Long for their point, with Ryan Colclough and Will Grigg left wondering how they hadn’t found the net in the second period.

“You need that when you come here,” added Ardley.

“It’s not like you’re going to come to Wigan and get a result and you’re goalie’s not going to make a save.

“We knew how big the challenge would be, Wigan are a great side with a great manager.

“The last half an hour was relentless, we knew it would be like that, but we put our bodies on the line and it was enough.

“Towards the end it was all hands to the pump - we had forward back defending and doing their bit.

“The goalkeeper’s made some great saves, the defence have stood firm and we’ve all put in a shift.

“That’s five unbeaten now, and we need to just keep going now and get ourselves over the line.”