Neal Ardley was in bullish mood after watching his AFC Wimbledon side go down 1-0 at Mansfield Town on Saturday.

The result ended a run of four games without defeat, and dropped the Dons to 17th in League Two, eight points above the relegation zone.

They could drop further down the table this weekend if they fail to overcome strugglers Bristol Rovers at the Cherry Red Records stadium on Saturday.

But while Ardley heralded his Dons performance at the Stags, he pulled no punches against the players he felt had an off day.

“I’m disappointed with the result, this is a results business – but the game was everything we thought it would be in terms of physicality,” he said.

“We lost Darren Jones early on with a cut head, and George Francomb was off the field receiving treatment when they scored.

“The free-kick went exactly where George would have been standing and the ball’s gone under Ross Worner’s body for a really sloppy goal.”

He added: “People often say a keeper gets a bad rap because one mistake can lead to a goal, but I don’t buy into that.

“If a keeper makes a few good saves, people say how well he played, but keepers are there to make saves.

“That is what they are paid to do.

“I did not say much to Ross after the game, I did not need to, but it was a sloppy goal and it cost us.”

Ardley also pointed a finger at Sammy Moore after the midfielder picked up a yellow card on the final whistle, leading to a two-match suspension.

Moore has collected 10 yellow cards this season, plus one that led to a red card against this weekend’s opponents Bristol Rovers.

It puts him top of the club’s misbehaving table, ahead of Harry Pell (eight bookings) and Luke Moore (five).

Ardley said: “Sammy got his card for mouthing off at the referee at the end, which is poor from him.

“We’re now without him for two games and at this stage of the season that is really disappointing because we are entering a vital few weeks.”

While Moore is suspended, Ardley has been boosted by the return of Jack Midson from his FA-induced absence following his sending off at Northampton – while Danny Hylton is back in training.

However, Darren Jones is a doubt, Alan Bennett and Andy Frampton face late fitness tests.