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Ardley’s pride after FA Cup heartbreak comes off the back of a freak heel
AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley was the proudest man in Milton Keynes after his charges came within a whisker of beating MK Dons and reaching the third round of the FA Cup.
Only a world-class save from David Martin to deny Steven Gregory in the 90th minute and a last-gasp freak back-heel flick denied the Dons a memorable result on an afternoon of high tension and emotion in front of a watching nation.
After Stephen Gleeson’s pile-driver broke the deadlock, the travelling Dons fans were sent into hysteria thanks to Jack Midson’s superb diving header.
However, the heartbreaking finale meant Dons had to settle for pride in defeat, rather than glory in victory.
Ardley said: “That game was a celebration of how far this club has come.
“I cannot tell you how proud I am of the players and the fans.
“As a winner, I do not like losing and I felt we could have won the game.
“We were set up to win and we could have won it in the last minute.
“There was nothing we could do about their first goal, and the lad who scored the second will never be able to do that again if he tried.
“But I’m immensely proud of every single one of my players. And the passion of the fans, who were superb from start to finish, at the end suggested that they were saying ‘We will take that kind of performance all day long’.”