Neal Ardley admitted he didn’t recognise his AFC Wimbledon team in the first half of the draw with Charlton.
The Dons gaffer revealed his side has suffered a confidence hangover since crashing out of the FA cup to non-league Sutton.
He thought a serious of heart to hearts had got to the bottom of the problem, so was shocked by a first 45 minutes where his side lacked their usual competitive edge.
“We have had a really tough week mentally and physically,” he said.
“There has been a real hangover from the Sutton game in the FA Cup.
“The players have been flat for a couple of weeks now and I’ve turned into a counsellor this week, but we had got the group in such a good place come Friday, so that first half surprised me.
“We played with a lot of anxiety and nervousness and as if we had got the world on our shoulders.
“It created a disjointed team with players passing the buck, not taking responsibility and looking like they were shot to bits confidence-wise.”
Dons improved after the break and salvaged a draw thanks to Tom Elliott’s stoppage-time half-volley.
The point was soured however by the fact Elliott was sent off for excessive celebration.
Ardley was bemused by the dismissal particularly given referee Carl Boyeson had kept red cards in his pocket in the first half when both Lyle Taylor and Jake Reeves were subjected to dreadful challenges.
“When we played Sutton in the cup it was one of the poorest performances I’ve seen from a man in the middle but this would be close to overtaking that,” he added
“The tackle on Jake Reeves in the first half is as close to a leg-breaking tackle as you will ever see.”
“Then Lyle Taylor gets scythed down by the most blatant, cynical professional foul, but the silly little bookings our players got led to Tom Elliott getting sent off.
“We talk about players going into the crowd, Tom is a yard off the pitch with five players on top of him and fans putting their hands on him and he gets sent off for that.”
And the match...
Tom Elliott scored a stoppage-time leveller - and was then sent off as AFC Wimbledon salvaged a draw against south London rivals Charlton.
Dons were staring at back-to-back defeats when their talismanic striker latched onto a flick-on from a long ball forward to thrash a half-volley across Declan Rudd and inside the far post.
However, having already been booked, the target-man was harshly dismissed for excessive celebration.
The first half saw the good and decidedly ugly side Charlton’s Ricky Holmes. The Addicks’ midfielder gave his side a deserved lead with a delicious 20-yard free-kick, one Joe Aribo and Lee Novak might have added to with further decent chances.
Later in the half however Holmes was lucky to escape with a yellow after a terrible tackle on Dons’ striker Lyle Taylor.
Chris Robertson was narrowly wide with a header and Taylor twice went close as Dons improved after the break and their reward came late when Elliott struck
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