The Dons took the lead in the League Two clash at Kingsmeadow through Alan Bennett's first-half header, his first goal since joining on a free transfer at the beginning of the month, but they remain rooted to the foot of the table after Adebayo Akinfenwa's late penalty.
But since Wimbledon's 2-0 loss at Chesterfield on February 9, when Ardley took the unusual step of letting his players talk it out on their own in the dressing room afterwards, they have picked up four points from two games and have a renewed hope of avoiding the drop.
"There is an improvement, obviously we've had two games since and we've done well, we've got four points," said Dons boss Ardley.
"I don't think it was just the players though, I looked at myself - I always do - and we made sure the atmosphere was very positive over the past week or so going into the games and we've kept it going.
"There's a group of lads in there who are fighting for their lives, who are working their absolute socks off for us.
"At times the quality can be a little bit better, but given where we are in the league we'll take the effort, we'll take the energy and we'll take the desire and I'm confident that is going to be enough.
"The tough part is keeping the level of performance high and obviously we have got to make sure when we're not on-song we still know how to grind out results."