The Dons needed a late Alan Bennett header to rescue a point in a 1-1 draw with winless Accrington.
Kayode Odejayi headed Stanley into a 17th-minute lead but on the stroke of half-time the game turned as the goalscorer was shown a straight red card by referee Gary Sutton after clashing with Callum Kennedy.
"This league is unforgiving. Your levels drop for a second in the game and you're going to struggle," said Ardley.
"The biggest thing was the lads were confident and edgy throughout and that's the expectation of people thinking we should win the game and we believe that ourselves.
"We're going to be inconsistent. We are still a work in progress but that doesn't make me any more frustrated or disappointed in that performance. But we kept going and we got something out of the game."
On the sending-off, Ardley added: "I keep making these Arsene Wenger comments that I didn't see it.
"Every time something happens and the referee gives a decision I normally start shouting information to a different player on the pitch. At that point I was talking to our defender and the next thing I hear the crowd are cheering because something is going on."