BY SAM SMITH
Neal Ardley was adamant that AFC Wimbledon should have had a penalty in their 2-1 defeat to Sunderland.
With the score still 1-0 to the Dons, Joe Pigott struck goalwards and Bryan Oviedo prevented the ball going over the goal-line with his elbow.
Lee Cattermole went on to net a brace to turn the game around, the first prompting some confusion when the assistant referee raised his flag as the long-serving Black Cats midfielder struck home following a corner. However, Ardley admitted the officials were right to eventually award a goal on that occasion.
The Wimbledon boss said: “It was a penalty. I’ve seen the footage of it, it was a penalty. We should have had one against Coventry a few weeks ago and we should have had a goal at Barnsley which was given as offside but wasn’t offside. We’re finding it difficult to not make it a hard luck story at the moment.
“The officials have got [Sunderland’s] first goal right. The confusion was that it was one of our players who got a header on the ball, and had it been a Sunderland player it would have been offside.
“That’s what they had to double check. But they’ve got the penalty incident wrong. I’ve seen a video of it and I’ve seen a still image of it – their player stops the ball going in the goal with his arm.
“I knew Sunderland would try to change something at half-time to get control of the game and I was standing on the sideline thinking ‘we really need a second here’ and we didn’t get it. The quality told with their goals.”
Pigott had put Wimbledon ahead inside nine minutes at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, thumping home Andy Barcham’s cross with a stunning volley, but the hosts had plenty more chances and could have been at least three goals ahead at half-time – something that they would eventually rue.
Ardley was left frustrated by the missed opportunities: “I don’t want to stand here sounding like a broken record, we just have to take our chances when they come, when we have to kill teams off. By and large we are a really good team and we have enough quality to kill teams off.
“There is always something that we can do better. I’m not going to criticise any player or single them out, we watch the videos and show them where they can do better. I can’t be negative about anything they have done, the only negative from my view is the result.
“I liked our goal. That’s one thing, with the crosses, that we try to teach the boys about the second six-yard box and when to time the runs – and that’s what has happened there with that goal. When you have Pigott and Hanson on the field, crosses are something that you want to be quite frequent. We try to work the opposition and we did that, particularly in the first half.”
IMAGES BY KEITH GILLARD
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