Teenage defender Richards only arrived on loan from Fulham 24 hours earlier but was thrown straight in against the promotion chasers and did not disappoint in the goalless draw.
"We switched to four at the back and Tom probably thought that he would be galloping down the left side playing wing-back," said Ardley.
"But 20 minutes in he was covering for the centre-backs in a back four and he did really well.
"He learned on Thursday that AFC Wimbledon wanted him and then he's in training with us for the first time on Friday. On Friday night he had to sing his initiation song for the lads in the hotel.
"He has a wonderful left foot and loves galloping down the left wing. I thought he was steady and he'll get better as time goes on."