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Ardley: AFC Wimbledon are ‘consistently inconsistent’

09:28 10 February 2014

Neal Ardley, manager of AFC Wimbledon. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Neal Ardley, manager of AFC Wimbledon. Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

2012 Getty Images

A bitterly disappointed Neal Ardley accepted his side were out-fought and out-muscled by a stirring second half display from Rochdale - but warned there was little money available to sort an emergency loan for a central midfielder.

“After the first goal we folded,” said Ardley immediately after the game. “Players stopped doing their jobs, we showed no character, and ultimately that is really difficult to take.”

“They were shocking goals to give away. It was one of those days when we were really poor. We need to be better, pick ourselves up, and keep going towards the points total we are aiming for.”

Sammy Moore, who has been a stalwart in the Wimbledon engine room over the past few months, was forced off after just 27 minutes with a gashed eye, and he joins long-term casualty Peter Sweeney on the injury list. And with Harry Pell struggling for form and George Francomb being played out of position in the middle of the park, it is clear that the Dons are understaffed in central midfield.

But Ardley suggested it would be tought to bring in extra cover, given the club’s limited funds.

“We couldn’t get hold of the midfield against Rochdale, and that’s just not something you can afford to not do. We lost a few players and replaced them with two less over the last few months, so our squad is thinner - but at the same time we’ve spent all our money.

“Sammy Moore knows how to do the things League Two demands of him, and he was a big loss in the game. More so now than ever I need to think about what we will need for the run-in with the injuries we have got. But I’m also confident we have enough in the dressing room to dust ourselves down and pick themselves up.

“We are consistently inconsistent. That is what you get when you have some players on decent League Two money and others on less. We have got to get better at what we do. Some of our players are a bit out of form at the moment, but when we stick to our gameplan we are a decent team.”

A Scott Hogan hat-trick undid the Dons on Saturday. The first goal came after 65 minutes with a close range header after keeper Ross Worner failed to connect with a punch; Hogan sprung the offside trap to round Worner for his second; while the final goal was an outstanding looped volley from a long-ball played from well inside the Rochdale half.

AFC Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller (Fenlon), Bennett, Morris, Jones, Arthur, Pell, S Moore (Sainte-Luce), Francomb, Hylton (Sheringham), Wyke

Attendance: 3,837 (278 Rochdale fans)

Man of the Match: Chris Arthur

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