Washbag Podcast: Episode 32 – Who is Celvin Kalinga? Yate Town & Supermarine

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Episode #32 of TheWashbag.com Swindon Town FC Podcast, a mini-edition, is now available to download…

I decided to take the microphone to the Webbs Wood Stadium in South Marston this afternoon to briefly record the thoughts of Town fans Iain Watkins and Anthony Gingell on the both of the opening Swindon Town pre-season friendly fixtures at Yate Town and Swindon Supermarine.

A main talking point was trialist Calvin Kalinga who has featured for Town in both games after turning up at the training ground with his boots. He’s an unknown quantity. Even Google can’t find any dirt on his past, especially his time at Royal Antwerp in Belgium.

Get involved with the podcast, please submit your questions by emailing thewashbag[at]gmail[dot]com or tweet @thewashbag

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Supermarine 1 Swindon Town 3: ‘A Trialist’

Swindon Supermarine

No sooner had Brazil won the Confederations Cup final than the pre-season started here in Wiltshire. Town travelled the short distance to the Webbs Wood Stadium – formerly Hunts Copse until Webb cut down the trees – to eventually come away with a respectable 3-1 victory.

The match witnessed the return of my football alzheimer’s which always rears itself at this time of year. Massively confused by the array of trialists and new old faces, as well as twenty two Town players taking to the field,  I failed miserably to realise quick enough who was who and put any understanding to my thoughts. That included many established Town regulars playing out of position, notably some strange decisions to play Paul Benson as a centre back and James Collins in central midfield.

With only numbers, yes just numbers and no names on their backs, combined with my utter resistance before the kick-off to take any notes when the teams were read out, meant some had to put up throughout the ninety minutes with “who’s that?” and “who’s that no.9?”.

In the end ‘that no.9′ later transpired to be Albi Skendi, one of the three trialists from Banbury United and of Albanian heritage. He was meant to be one of the fittest in early pre-season, but instead lacked any anticipation and acceleration and I doubt will be signed. Of the two other trialists from The Puritans, Kynan Isaac (I think) threw himself in literally with three comical miss-timed shots, but nonetheless made an effort.

The problem facing all trialists is desperately trying to impress having been given limited match time on a bobbly non-league pitch. It must be incredibly difficult to show in one or two matches that you deserve a contract, particularly for those who are ultimately fighting for their careers. In the end, they frequently suffer by trying too hard and forgetting their game amongst unfamiliar players and surroundings. I certainly wouldn’t wish to swap places.

The game at Supermarine was as it always is every season, a light run out and first full match so little can be read more generally at the state of our chances and squad. New recruits have joined in Massimo Luongo, Grant Hall and Tijane Reis who didn’t feature and appear to form the basis for a settled side as we look forward to the match with Tottenham Hotspur in two weeks.

FA Cup Preview: Swindon Town at Colchester Utd

FA Cup 2011-12

Form… Swindon travel to Essex for an FA Cup 2nd Round tie versus Colchester United this Saturday.

Currently 6th placed in League Two, Swindon are unbeaten in 11 League and Cup games, a run stretching back to a JPT win at Exeter on 4th October. That run includes the memorable 4-1 demolition of Football League record unbeaten side Huddersfield Town in the 1st Round two weeks ago. Also, this run has seen only 7 goals conceded, including 6 clean sheets.

Meanwhile Colchester sit mid table in League One with 1 win, 2 draws and 3 defeats from their previous 6 League outings. The ‘U’s’ are winless in their past 2 League One games – a 5-1 thrashing at home by MK Dons and a 1-0 defeat at Carlisle – following their impressive 4-1 victory at Gresty Road against ten man Crewe in the 1st Round a few weeks back.

Did You Know… The last time we did 11 games unbeaten was at the start of 2009/10 – from August 11 (4-1 win at Franchise in the cup) through to a home draw with Millwall on October 10. We ended up playing 14 games undefeated in that run. Richard at Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk confirms a run of eleven unbeaten is pretty common, Swindon have done it 19 times already.

The club record is 22 unbeaten in all competitions, secured in 1986 by Lou Macari, from February 1 through to August 26, next best is 16 from April 27 thru Sept 25, 1963 under Bert Head.

Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk Head-to-Head… In the 69 Football League and Cup matches between the sides, Swindon have won 27 games, drawn 15 and defeated on 25 occasions, scoring 95 and conceding 90.

The sides have never met in the FA Cup, however top Swindon non-league side Swindon Supermarine travelled to Colchester in their amazing FA Cup run last season, eventually succumb to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Our record in Colchester is woeful. Of 35 matches we’ve won 8, drawn 7 and lost 20, scoring 32 and conceding 56. Swindon have never won in Colchester in two previous cup ties – a 0-1 defeat in the JPT in 2001 and 1-4 defeat in the 1971 League Cup.

Swindon FA Cup Record… Swindon have played 332 matches in the FA Cup, winning 165, drawing 53 and defeated on 114 occasions.

In those 331 matches 652 goals have been scored and 466 conceded.

Four of our biggest ever victories have come in the FA Cup including; 10-1 over Farnham United Breweries in November 1925, 9-0 over Maidenhead United in 1890, 9-0 over Poole in 1903 and another 9-0 against Whiteheads in 1902.

Swindon’s best performance in the FA Cup was a semi-final appearance in 1910 and 1912.

In modern times, Town have made the Quarter Final on two occasions in 1923/24 and 1969/70.

Since that Quarter Final in 1969/70, Swindon have been defeated in the 1st Round 5 times, 2nd Round 5 times, 3rd Round 16 times, 4th Round 13 times and twice in the 5th Round in 1991/92 and 1995/96.

Of those 41 seasons, Swindon have failed to progress beyond their first tie on 15 occasions. Town had their worst barren run of failing to win an FA Cup match for 4 seasons between 1996/97 and 1999/00 under Steve McMahon and Jimmy Quinn.

Swindon have not made it past the 3rd Round since that run to a 5th Round tie with Southampton and eventual replay defeat in 1995/96 as a Division Two side.

Since that run to the 5th Round, Town have been knocked out in the 3rd Round by Everton, Stevenage, Barnsley, Charlton Athletic, Coventry City, Manchester City, Crystal Palace, Barnet and Fulham.

My prediction… Colchester aren’t as good as the Terriers in League One…so this one should be straightforward….perhaps not given our poor record in Essex having lost our previous 4 games at Colchester. Even still, Swindon will be progressing to Round 3 and I’d say thanks to a 2-0 victory.

Does pre-season matter for promotion?

With pre-season now drawing to a close, Alex Cooke looks back at past seasons to establish whether pre-season and form taken into the campaign make any difference for mounting a successful promotion push.

Can anybody predict promotion from pre-season? What exactly does a crushing 11-0 win against a Norcia XI teach us?

What can Paolo learn from a match as one sided as a Melanie Phillips column against Marche XI? Do two 4-0 scorelines about local sides tell us more about the season to come than a narrow defeat by Reading? Have we discovered if Raffaele De Vitta and Alan Connell will score the goals Swindon need? Have the games shown that the trialist trio of Risser, Atiku and Kerrouche will really thrive in English football? And, does just two goals conceded in five games indicate that Alberto Comazzi’s experience of catenaccio will lead us to clean sheets and promotion?Continue Reading

Not Supermarine, a Super-Town in the making..?

After returning from Italy, Paolo Di Canio took his Robins a short distance across town to face Evo-Stik Southern Premier Swindon Supermarine at Hunts Copse.

With a first opportunity for the Swindon public to witness Di Canio in the flesh a bumper crowd swelled the football ground attached to a bungalow, delaying the kick-off for 15 minutes, a rarity for a pre-season friendly.Continue Reading

Pre-season: Are there enough games to prepare Swindon for League Two?

Discipline, respect and most importantly fitness have been Di Canio’s message to the returning Swindon Town squad early in pre-season. Nobody can doubt the positive change Paolo has brought with him to install upon a previously lethargic and injury plagued side, but for me there remains concerns whether there is enough competitive pre-season action to prepare Town for League Two. Continue Reading

2010 STFC Review: November

November was a hectic month with 7 games in League and Cup.

As the month started, ‘The Washbag’ looked back 2 years to the end of Maurice Malpas’ tenure at Town. There was an unwelcomed similarity between then and now, poor league position, inconsistent team lacking fluidity and cup progress hanging in the balance. How supportive should we be of Wilson and should Fitton be consistent with his decision 2 years previous and consider replacing Danny Wilson?

Wilson’s position wasn’t helped as Charlton Athletic secured revenge for their Play-Off semi-final defeat at our hands with a 3-0 victory over an inept and fading Town. The result demonstrated more clearly than anything else this season the Wembley hangover shows no sign of abating.

from swindontownfc.co.uk

The way to right the wrong of the midweek loss was to progress in the FA Cup. A 4-0 victory at Plymouth sent Town into the 2nd Round, who were joined by Southern Premier League Swindon Supermarine, 2-1 victors over Eastwood Town.

Town were hopeless at penalties, going out to Brentford in the area Quarter Final of the JP Trophy.

A home win against Colchester United was the only league victory of the month. This was a match marred by referee errors and oversights, however fortunately Town found the gear they’d been lack in recent weeks and took a narrow 2-1 win.

Another high scoring away draw, 3-3- at Rochdale was followed by a late defeat at Notts County. How many times in this year review have I commented we’d suffered a late defeat…

A trip to a frosty Crawley Town in the FA Cup 2nd Round and TV cameras yielded a 1-1 draw. Whilst this was never going to be an easy tie against Conference Premier leaders and the draw was probably the ‘fair’ result, surely Town would not be so generous in the replay?

Town & Supermarine Victorious in FA Cup

pic from thefa.com

Instead of travelling down the M5 to Devon to follow Swindon Town, which I started to regret once the goals started flowing in the Plymouth goal, I made the short trip to The Webb’s Wood Stadium, home of Supermarine, in the hope of witnessing history. Could Swindon’s second team continue their superb cup run against Eastwood Town?

Supermarine, with 7 former Swindon Town players in their starting line-up, were quicker out of the blocks against their Blue Square North opposition. Early close range efforts from Ashan Holgate and Ben Wells gave Marine a deserved 2-0 half time lead after controlling most of the half and creating plenty of chances. Eastwood Town players and their vociferous travelling support were left shocked wondering how they could get past the Marine back line.

After the break it couldn’t have been a more different story as the Badgers completely dominated. The signs were ominous when a deflected Lee Stevenson free kick flew past Town loanee Mark Scott in the Marine goal after 47 minutes. From then on waves of Eastwood attack after attack ensured it was a nervous second half with Marine pushed back deeper and deeper. It was a heart in mouth moment when Eastwood almost got an equaliser in the dying moments, only for a shot rebounding off the post to be hastily cleared away after two Eastwood players slipped when lining up to shoot.

At the final whistle I couldn’t believe what I had just witnessed as the hundred of Marine supporters ran onto the pitch to hold their captain Chris Taylor aloft.

Swindon Supermarine in the 2nd Round of the FA Cup, who would’ve predicted that a few months ago! Well done!

The 2nd Round draw wasn’t entirely favourable to either Swindon team.

Town face a potential banana skin with a trip to a big-spending Crawley Town, who sit top of the Blue Square Premier. The Reds comfortably beat Newport County in the fourth qualifying round then demolished Blue Square North Guiseley by five goals to nil in Round 1. A match that may be on TV after former Middlesbrough manager and ITV pundit Gareth Southgate said;  “For me the tie of the round is Crawley Town versus Swindon Town, that will be a fantastic game”.

Supermarine secured a very tough away tie at Colchester United, the 3rd best team in the FA Cup draw. Being in the 2nd Round is surely enough in-itself and for Supermarine just being in the draw is beyond their dreams, however I’m disappointed they couldn’t secure a plum draw against a Southampton, Sheffield Wednesday, Charlton or, of course, Swindon Town to ensure a significant financial boost, or a potentially winnable tie against fellow non-league or League Two opposition.

I wonder what the odds are on an all Swindon FA Cup 3rd Round tie?

Swindon Supermarine Fly Into FA Cup 1st Round

Last night Swindon Supermarine beat Blue Square Premier Bath City at Twerton Park with a last minute Karl Lapham header to come back from 3-1 down to secure a 4-3 victory and progress into the FA Cup 1st Round proper for the first time in their club history. Also this is the first time another team from Swindon has made it to the 1st Round proper.

Marine now play Eastwood Town at Hunts Copse on the weekend of 6/7th November.

What a fantastic achievement for a club, who less than 6 months ago had considered withdrawing from the Southern League due to management changes and financial troubles.

With Supermarine now run by their supporters and Mark Collier reinstated as manager back in June the club’s fortunes have changed, particularly as they have received £27,500 from the competition prize money from their cup run.

Eastwood Town play in the Blue Square North  and are suffering an inconsistent season down in 13th. Supermarine have shown they are no pushovers by beating Blue Square Premier opposition in Bath City so surely they have an excellent chance of progressing to the 2nd Round at Hunts Copse.

Given that Swindon Town have been drawn away at fellow League One side Plymouth Argyle, it seems Supermarine have more chance of progressing to the 2nd round than their more illustrious neighbours.

I’m going to be giving the long trip to Argyle a miss, so I’ll be at Hunts Copse to show my support for Supermarine. I hope you can join me there to offer your support to our local non-league team.

EDIT: Don’t forget to take your 2010/2011 STFC season ticket along with you to ensure a discounted price of £6 for adult entry to the game!

Town CVA Lifted and Plight of Wiltshire Clubs

The excellent Football Management blog by Dr John Beech has commented on The Very Strange Case of Swindon Town. This post may be of interest to The Washbag readers following Andrew Fitton’s announcement this week that our CVA had been formally lifted.

This commentary reveals a great deal on the history of our periods in administration and various attempts to bring the club out of the CVA.

As us Town fans are all to well aware, given the long running financial troubles at STFC, we can count ourselves fortunate that we still have a club to support. Evidently other clubs including Salisbury and Stockport need support from the wider footballing community to survive. 

Salisbury find out their fate, whether or not they are to be demoted from the Football Conference, on the 12th June. Salisbury City are Wiltshire’s first club since Trowbridge Town to play at the highest level of non-league football. Trowbridge played in the Alliance Premier between 1981 and 1984, but suffered a downward spiral following their relegation from the Conference. As a result Trowbridge lost their ground to developers to pay off significant debts and moved to play at Bath City’s Twerton Park home some 14 miles away in the mid 1990s, which ultimately led to their demise and liquidation in 1998.

So regardless of Salisbury’s division in 2010/2011, I certainly will be watching a few games at The Raymond McEnhill, as well as taking in a match or two at Hunt’s Copse home of Swindon Supermarine, who are also struggling financially. I hope you can join me in supporting our local teams.