BY SAM SMITH
AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley credited the display of Isthmian Premier Division side Haringey Borough after they almost took the Dons to an FA Cup replay.
A last-minute Mitch Pinnock strike deflected off Tosin Olufemi and beat the excellent Valery Pajetat to take the South Londoners into the second round and cap a week of two cup victories.
Haringey performed admirably and the 89-place divide between these two sides in the football league pyramid was hardly evident.
“People expect you to put four or five past these sides and that’s unrealistic. They’ve done brilliantly to get here, they’ve been brilliant tonight,” Ardley told the BBC.
“People said to me ‘you should beat them’ but you know they’re going to have 30 per cent extra in the FA Cup, particularly in these [rainy] conditions. There’s always a chance they could win and you know you’re going to get battered if you do, so there was a little bit of apprehension. We showed a lot more intent in the second half and we needed that deflection at the end to win it.”
Wimbledon beat Stevenage 4-0 in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday and the 46-year-old hopes this week’s two wins can provide a platform for an improvement in his side’s league form. The Dons have lost seven consecutive games in League One and sit second from bottom.
Ardley said: “We’ve had a tough time of it these last few weeks. We got the win [against Stevenage in the EFL Trophy] on Tuesday night and played very well, and we’ve managed to dig in and get a win tonight.
“You hope so [that the win provides a boost]. We’ve won two out of two now, I know they’re both cup games and maybe they’re a distraction but we have a tough game next week away at Doncaster. For now we’ll take the win any way we can because we’re not used to it these last few weeks. Credit to Haringey, they were brilliant today.”
IMAGE BY KEITH GILLARD
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