Neal Ardley reckons with a little extra nous, AFC Wimbledon could have been jumping for joy last night.

A Steve Gerrard brace broke Dons hearts as Liverpool returned to Merseyside with a 2-1 win and a place in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Adebayo Akinfenwa’s first half equaliser had given the home faithful hope and Dons certainly pushed their Premier League visitors all the way.

Ardley said: “I am proud, but I am also disappointed because we were in the game to win and I thought with a little bit more quality and nous, we could have come away with a draw and we would all have been jumping for joy.

“Unfortunately we were outdone by a world class player [Gerrard]. The headline was written for him after the week he’s had and we did not want to be part of that positive for him.”

The Liverpool defence, and goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, came in for criticism but Ardley saw it from a different angle.

“We should get some credit because when we go forward, we’re a decent side,” he said.

“We have a good partnership – it’s not easy to mark Bayo [Akinfenwa] and deal with him in and around the box, and [Matt] Tubbs is as sharp around the box as they come.

“Although we caused them problems, they were reasonably resilient. The Liverpool defence were not poor, they stood up to the challenge.”

He added: “It’s not stuff that Liverpool are used to. In the Premier League, a lot of the play is in front of you and it’s more about movement and playing between the lines.

“We tried to give them a different challenge and they came through it. The Liverpool defence were not poor, they stood up to the challenge.”

Wimbledon Times:

Closer: Adam Barrett gets his head to the ball only to see it cleared off the line by Steven Gerrard