Neal Ardley praised his side's spirit in adversity as AFC Wimbledon roared back from a two-goal deficit at half-time to beat Scunthorpe 3-2 with a late winner from Chris Arthur.

After falling behind to Sam Winnall's opener, Ardley must have thought it was going to be one of those afternoons when Irons keeper Sam Slocombe plunged to his right to keep out a Charlie Sheringham penalty.

Worse was to follow as Chris Iwelumo headed Scunthorpe 2-0 up before the break, but Ardley insisted he hadn't needed to raise the decibel levels at the interval to inspire his team before Michael Smith, Harry Pell and Arthur hit back.

"In the first half I thought we were lively and it looked like we were going to get the first goal," said the Dons manager. "But we conceded from an error and that deflated us.

"We worked hard all week and for the first 15 minutes it was just like we worked on but all that stopped when we conceded.

"We lost our shape and the players weren't thinking and were all over the shop. We lost our composure.

"When we missed the penalty you start to think it won't be your day.

"They got the second and we really went but it wasn't a shouting match at half-time. We all worked hard for each other in the second half and you really find out about team spirit in adversity.

"In the second half I challenged the players to come off the pitch with nothing left and the boys did everything we asked for, which was fantastic."

Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws admitted he was disappointed with his side's defending in the second period, as first Smith and then Pell were allowed the freedom of the box to score before Arthur's killer blow.

"We didn't defend well as a team for the whole game and we were stretched," said Laws. "Even though we took a two-goal lead they were in control for much of the game.

"After they scored the first goal it was clear we became completely dismantled as a team. We know that teams will have their moments but it's very disappointing as you don't want to throw a two-goal lead away.

"It was a very open game but we could have killed it off in the second half as we had chances but that first goal gave them a lift and they caused us problems.

"If we get the third goal its game over but we didn't and if you don't defend well you put yourself under pressure. We got deeper and deeper and we were disjointed. We didn't work hard enough defensively and they were able to break us down.

"Every goal we concede is disappointing. We had enough bodies in and around them for them not to score but we didn't get a foot in and that's not good enough."