United’s ever reliable central midfielder Neal Bishop described Tuesday night’s 2-1 victory at the Cherry Red Records Stadium over AFC Wimbledon as a “massive three points”.Tom Hopper scored his second goal in a matter of three days midway through the first period, before he was then fouled in the box, giving Josh Morris the chance to slot home from the spot five minutes before the break – something he duly obliged with.
Darius Charles pulled one back for the hosts with 30 minutes to go, ensuring a nervy end, but a determined and spirited defensive display ensured the three points would head back to North Lincolnshire.
“I think we’ll look back at Tuesday night and see it as a massive three points,” Bishop told The Iron PlayerHD.
“It was a game of two halves. We played really well in the first half, and we carved out maybe three or four really good opportunities on top of the goals - we could have been out of sight.
“2-0 at half time, it’s a precarious score, we saw that on Saturday. Once that first goal for them goes in the emphasis changes.
“We spoke about it at half time and it caught us by surprise in how they played direct really quickly, but we coped pretty well. When it was backs to the wall I thought we stood up to it really well, and we threw our bodies in front of everything.”
Many Iron followers will remember the 3-2 loss the last time United faced AFC Wimbledon away, as the hosts that day overturned a 2-0 half time deficit. At stages of Tuesday’s game.
Bishop praised the experience of the squad to make sure that did not happen.
“We’ve got some experienced lads out there with me, (David) Mirfin, Murray (Wallace) and (Stephen) Dawson – it’s up to us to try and steady the ship and don’t panic when that first goal does go in," he stated.
The 35-year-old praised the Wombles, and believes they have the makings of a side more than capable of coping with League One.
“You can see why they had success last season. The pitch is tight, and you don’t get any rest whilst you’re out there," he said.
“I think they’ll give many teams a problem this season, certainly at home. It’s a big three points and after back-to-back away games you have to take that.
“if the game had lasted another ten minutes on Saturday you’d have backed us to get all three there too, but four points isn’t a bad return at all.”
United were once again without last season’s top scorer Paddy Madden, who continues his recovery from a groin injury.
In his absence, the club’s three other strikers, Kevin van Veen, Hopper and Kyle Wootton have all stepped up with the trio scoring a combined seven goals in four matches in all competitions. Bishop praised his side for having competition for places in every position, and claimed that for them to be successful that was a necessity.
“You’ve seen it this season that not one player is guaranteed a start, and we’re not relying on just one or two players in each position," stated Bishop.
“If you look at the kind of teams that get out of this division they always have competition for places.”
Gillingham travel to Glanford Park on Saturday having started the season well, like the Iron. Despite Saturday’s opponents being in form, Bishop stated the need to send out a statement to the league by putting aside the Gills with ease.
“I fancy Gillingham to be up there this season. They’ve made some good signings and they’ve added to what they had last season, which was already a good team," he said.
“It’ll be tough but like I say early doors it’s all about points accumulation. If you look at how we finished last year, if we’d have had a better start we’d have been in the play-offs.
“We spoke about that and how we wanted to start well, and touch wood we have done. We want to keep doing that for the next 15 games or so, then we can have a look at the league table and see where we are."
See much more from Neal Bishop, Josh Morris and Graham Alexander on The Iron PlayerHD.
Tweets by @SUFCOfficial