AFC Wimbledon season ends is defeat and under-achievement, but Ardley has a promise

Surrey Comet: Looking ahead: AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley             SP81976 Looking ahead: AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley SP81976

AFC Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley admits this season has been progressive but ultimately frustrating, and he vows to do better next year.

Dons would have hit their highest points tally this season since being in League Two but for the three-point deduction incurred for fielding an ineligible player.

And Ardley believes that while it has been the club’s best season, save for the off-the-field sanction, there is still a sense of underachievement, and that means they are heading the right way.

“My take on it is: it’s been a frustrating season and I share the fans’ frustrations,” the boss admitted.

“We’re all disappointed. We all think it’s underachieving. Surely that’s a good thing if we feel like we’ve underachieved and yet it’s the best we’ve been.

“Some will think it isn’t. We know we’ve got to get better next season. The league is going to get stronger, bigger clubs more money. We’ve got to deal with it, and this club always fights in the face of that adversity.”

Dons ended the season with a 3-2 defeat at Accrington Stanley on Saturday, where Jack Midson's penalty and Kwesi Appiah's last-minute strike could not overturn a 3-0 deficit.

There was no fear over relegation going into the game, although Dons final resting place of 20th, three points above the drop zone, was a disappointment, but the boss is looking forward.

He said: “We’re starting to sit down and look and assess it: what we can afford and what we can’t afford, a lot of it comes down to that.

“People always say ‘oh budgets, you keep throwing budgets in’ but everyone wants £50 more than you’ve got.

“And when you look at your team you go, he’s done well, but I can't afford him because I’ve got to address this area where we’re weak, and I need to put a bit of money there otherwise we’re going to have the same problems next season, that’s what it is.”

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