Bonkers but brilliant..!

Vic Morgan Blog

It’s Friday, so it must be time for the latest weekly review by BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan

That second half against Walsall on Tuesday was what we all love about football. After a dreary first forty five minutes, the game suddenly exploded into life. I guess technically it wasn’t great but who cares.

When two teams decide to throw caution to the wind and have a go it makes for wonderful entertainment. Ok, I think maybe the penalty decisions may have been a little questionable but thanks to the referee we saw a thrilling last half hour.

Credit due to the Saddlers for playing their part. So despite the fact it was two more dropped home points I went away thinking I’d had an entertaining evening. Mind you at half time I wasn’t so sure.

Still the play off berth is secure and so I suppose what happens between now and the end of the regular season is a bit irrelevant. It’s almost certain we’ll finish fourth and that makes for an amazing campaign. That also means the second leg of the semi final will be at home and hopefully gives a packed County Ground a chance to play it’s part.

What a contrast Tuesday was to the match against Yeovil three days earlier. It might seem odd to say but we saw a managerial master class by our former boss Paul Sturrock. Hardly daring to cross the half way line for an hour, the Glovers performed the perfect smash and grab.

It wasn’t pretty but it was effective and “Luggy” once again proved that he knows a trick or two. It was that game that pretty much ended our chance of automatic promotion.

What we all want to know now is how our play off path will map out. As had been said many times, if you get promotion in the end of season lottery it’s fantastic. If not it’s awful. Remember the likes of Crystal Palace, Brighton and Brentford? Of course you do. Painful wasn’t it?

Saturday sees the long trip to Preston. The result can have a massive say on who we play in any possible Wembley final. North End or MK Dons. Take your pick. Mind you, it’s a long way to go before that happens. Early start then and a very long day. Going to make the most of it though the season is nearly over.

Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON!

Glovers burn the fingers of stone-cold Swindon

2015.04.18 Yeovil

Adam Tanner visited the County Ground to witness the latest twist to an unpredictable season

Swindon Town went into the game looking for a third consecutive win. With a play-off place guaranteed, the intention was to keep alive slight hopes of automatic promotion. Yeovil Town had been relegated with four games to play, and had managed a measly two points and four goals from their last 11 away matches, stretching back to mid-December. Ideal opponents, surely? Mark Cooper settled for the same team which had stormed to victory at Rochdale in the week, with Yaser Kasim named as a substitute on his return from suspension.

The first 25 minutes were fine. Swindon dominated possession, and Yeovil didn’t threaten. Although clear chances were sparse, and too many set pieces were wasted, Town should certainly have taken the lead in the 19th minute. Nathan Byrne did well to reach a loose ball down the right ahead of the Yeovil keeper, who had dashed from his line in pursuit of it. Byrne’s cutback to an unmarked Jon Obika was perfect, but Obika hastily lashed a shot wide when there was really no excuse for missing the target. Ben Gladwin had a relatively quiet game, but he came closer to establishing a lead moments later when he found space for a curling right-footed shot from 20 yards. Unfortunately, it clipped the outside of the post, with the keeper beaten.

Things began to turn in the latter stages of the half. Swindon lost all attacking momentum, and play inevitably started to drift towards the other end. Jack Stephens, who was sloppy and casual all afternoon, carelessly conceded a corner, and from it Yeovil’s giant lone striker, Kieffer Moore, was left completely unmarked at the far post. Wes Foderingham made a strong flying save from his header, but things didn’t really improve, either before or after half-time.

As soon as the second half got underway, Nathan Thompson did well to win back possession just in time after more loose passing in dangerous areas had led to a Yeovil break. The visitors squandered a couple more chances, as might be expected of a team which had managed just 33 goals in 43 matches. However, they took the lead on 59 minutes when midfielder James Berrett drilled a low shot in at the near post from 20-yards.

Within moments, Swindon had two real chances to equalise. First, a close-range Massimo Luongo shot was blocked by a defender with the ‘keeper beaten. Next, a goalmouth scramble resulted in a firm Michael Smith shot, which crashed against the underside of the bar and was cleared. It looked as if the goal may have kicked Town into gear.

Unfortunately, although plenty of time remained, that was as good as it got, and the game gradually fizzled out, with very little to write about. Kasim hit a sweet free kick in the 96th minute, which drew a decent flying save… and served as a reminder that Town had barely tested the visiting ‘keeper all day. Very disappointing.

A post-mortem is certainly needed:

  1. The first goal

It’s interesting to note that we have won nine and lost five of our last 14 home games. We haven’t drawn one since Colchester visited in October. It’s even more interesting to note that, in each of those 14 games, the team to have scored first has gone on to win.

These stats capture Swindon in a nutshell. Of course, it isn’t all bad news. ‘Plan A’ is great, and, more often than not, it works a treat. One of the great attributes of Mark Cooper sides is their tendency to see out winning positions. That has not been a trait of Swindon teams with which I have grown up, and it’s great to finally have a side which has the confidence and composure to see the job through.

The trouble is, when things don’t go to plan, there simply isn’t a ‘Plan B’. There’s no middle ground. When we lose first blood, games routinely tend to slip away pretty tamely, even against very poor sides. There’s precious little urgency or tactical flexibility. And that isn’t good enough. Both players and management must share the blame for this.

  1. Team Selection

Ever since taking charge, I feel Cooper has tended to persevere too rigidly with a winning team. Whereas I fully respect the midweek win, Rochdale are clearly very different opponents to Yeovil. Yeovil were always likely to play a very defensive game, so surely the focus from the start should have been on breaking them down. If we had managed an early goal, we could well have been in for a comfortable afternoon.

Anton Rodgers is a very defensive midfielder who never shows any sign of playing a killer pass; he’s always eager to get rid of the ball, and quickly release it sideways or backwards. Kasim has his faults, but is an intelligent player who is capable of splitting a defence. He should have started the game.

I will save my detailed thoughts on the use of strikers for a separate article, suffice to say that Cooper has displayed a worrying habit of signing good ones, and watching them lash in the goals in the early stages, before we gradually see the confidence and ability drain out of them.

Dany N’Guessan, Michael Smith and Jon Obika are all examples. Jermaine Hylton scored a tidy winner last weekend, which suggested that he might act as a “wildcard” during the final few weeks. Therefore, when our poor form up front is factored in, it’s hard to explain why he has been given a grand total of four minutes during the subsequent two games. Instead, Andy Williams was unleashed yesterday for his customary stroll in the sunshine against his former club. “You only play for the money” sang the travelling fans. Since he has now managed two goals in 16 games (one of them a penalty), and has missed two penalties during the same period, it’s hard to see the logic in using him ahead of Hylton.

  1. The next few weeks

Town’s participation in the playoffs is now all but inevitable but, whereas most sides only have a couple of games remaining, we must cram four into the next fortnight. We have limped into the play-offs in poor form in each of 2004, 2010 and 2013, and have fallen short each time. History certainly suggests that momentum would be worth a lot, and we must simply try to win several of a reasonably winnable set of games. There’s little scope for rotation in such a small squad anyway, though the return of the reliable Jordan Turnbull on Tuesday will offer options at the back and, as suggested above, more action for the likes of Hylton would seem sensible.

Our play-off opponents look almost certain to be either Sheffield United or Chesterfield, and probably the former. There’s nothing to be scared of. Yes, we have a poor recent record at Bramall Lane, but they have won only 10 of their 22 home games so far; we have 11 wins from 21 away. They haven’t won at the County Ground in seven visits since 1994, we put five goals past them here this season, and they have never been promoted through the playoffs in seven attempts. Bring them on.

But we do need to get the basics right, as it would be a travesty to let such an unexpectedly great season cheaply slip away. Walsall may be stranded in 15th place, but they have lost one game in eight, have the fourth best defensive record in the division, and are unbeaten in their last three visits to Swindon. If we give them anything to defend on Tuesday, recent history suggests that it could be a long evening. If we start on the front foot, we might just see some of what we all know the team is capable, to rekindle a bit of excitement ahead of the play-offs.

See you there.

Follow Adam Tanner on Twitter @adamtanner87

Missing a Swindon Town match…

Vic Morgan Blog

It’s Friday, so it must be time for the latest weekly review by BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan

When deciding to take a day off, the fixture list plays an important part. The choice was either the  away game at Rochdale or next Tuesday’s home match with Walsall. I figured because the County Ground date was part of the season ticket it seemed the best bet. Well you know how that decision went.

Okay we’ve no idea what’ll happen when the Saddlers come to town next week. Sadly I can’t think it’ll have the same drama as was evident at Spotland. Watching scores come through when you’re not there is a frustrating business. A one or two nil win is great and annoying at the same time because you want to be present. When the goals were flying in like last Tuesday, well, irritating doesn’t do it justice.

Still, what a win and what a performance from Ben Gladwin! Here’s a player in his first full professional season and he’s been one of the mainstays of this extraordinary campaign. A hat-trick for anybody must be special but for someone who’s come in from the non league game it must be even more memorable.

Congratulations then to Ben and his landmark comes hot on the heels of another Town man plucked from outside the league. Jermaine Hylton’s first goal for Swindon against Peterborough was the highlight of an otherwise forgettable game. A sweet moment and hopefully the first of many.

Following the Posh game there was an opportunity to relax a bit at the annual Supporters Club dinner. It was brilliantly hosted by former Swindon full back Phil King. The ability to keep an audience smiling is a great one to have and Phil is certainly able to do that. Nathan Byrne was the Town player on our table and what a friendly and open person he is. It can’t be easy to talk to people who you don’t know and are somewhat older than you are. Nathan was great though and it made for a very pleasurable night.

This weekend sees the return of Paul Sturrock to Swindon. One of a handful of promotion winning Town managers “Luggy” is now boss at Yeovil. The Glovers have seen a rapid decline. From the Championship to League Two in short order. It’s up to Sturrock to steady the ship. Hopefully that won’t happen till after Saturday. Traditionally teams that have been relegated relax with the pressure off. Yeovil showed that in midweek and mustn’t be underestimated.

Looking forward to it after being absent, literally, without leave on Tuesday.

Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON!

Yeovil Town 1-1 Swindon Town: Handy Williams burns the fingers of the Glovers

2014.10.18 Andy Williams at Yeovil

Adam Tanner travelled to Huish Park to watch Swindon Town try to gain ground at the top of the League One table…

Heading into the game, the signs were good for Swindon. The team was looking for its fourth consecutive away league win, having managed 10 points from its first five away games. Better still, Swindon had won four and lost only one of seven previous visits to Yeovil. Surely an away win was on the cards…

After several changes were made for the JPT game at Plymouth, the team inevitably returned to something resembling the one which won at Leyton Orient. The only change from that game saw Jon Obika replace Andy Williams, after recovering much more quickly than expected from an injury sustained at Barnsley three weeks ago.

The first half started slowly. Yeovil’s two strikers were constantly pressing the Swindon defence and were getting plenty of joy. Our midfield was making little impression, and misplaced passes throughout the Swindon half were rife. A few narrow escapes were endured. First, after five minutes, an excellent recovering challenge from Nathan Thompson was needed inside the area, after a ball over the top seemed to have beaten our defence. Shortly afterwards, a heavy Wes Foderingham touch briefly left James Hayter in possession six-yards out, but fortunately Yaser Kasim was able to intercept.  A close-range Yeovil cross then clipped the top of the bar, before Foderingham made a sharp save to his left from Joe Edwards, who had been left unmarked from a corner. This was all inside the opening 20 minutes.

Swindon’s only serious first half chance came when Amari’i Bell broke down the left and fizzed a low ball across the area, which Michael Smith or Obika possibly should have attacked. Even so, a Yeovil goal was coming, and it arrived in the 34th minute after a heavy touch from Louis Thompson, facing his own goal, cost us possession in a dangerous area. Yeovil worked the ball forward, and eventually squared it for Hayter to score his ninth career goal against Swindon from six-yards. Swindon barely improved during the following 10 minutes, and the half time whistle was welcome.

Andy Williams replaced Jon Obika for the second half, and made a positive impact. More on him later. Within minutes, Williams collected the ball wide on the left and cut across the field with a strong run before pulling a shot wide. Massimo Luongo began to tick and, as is often the case, brought the team’s performance levels up with him. A couple of passing moves involving Luongo ended with Nathan Byrne putting shots wide. Although Foderingham made another good save, pushing wide a firm 18-yard shot, Swindon were generally on top.

Another substitute, Ben Gladwin, came on after an hour and made a useful impact. Playing out of position at left wing back after replacing Bell, he immediately seemed to give us extra width. Gladwin has an excellent touch and a good passing and shooting range to go with a strong physical presence. He has plenty of potential.

An equaliser came after 71 minutes. Jack Stephens collected a Luongo pass and strode down the right. He effortlessly steamed past the Yeovil left back, broke into the box and cut the ball back for Williams, whose excellent first time 12-yard chip crept just inside the far post, giving the keeper no chance.

Swindon smelt blood, but minutes later our chances took a blow when, having been booked in the first half for a cynical foul, Nathan Thompson received a very debatable second yellow, probably for handling the ball as he after being nudged in the back by a Yeovil forward. Perhaps Thompson doesn’t always help himself; lots of referees fall for his party trick of taking a soft tumble and landing on top of the ball (which makes it too awkward not to award a Swindon free kick… so they do), but those with a more cynical eye may evidently prefer to penalise him for obstruction or handball.

In fairness, Swindon didn’t seem at all fazed by the red card, and continued to do most of the running. Byrne’s performance wasn’t quite up to his recent high standards, and a couple of heavy touches prevented him from getting shots away after he had worked himself into decent positions, usually in tandem with Luongo. Michael Smith managed to hit a firm 20-yard shot, which the keeper parried to safety. Yeovil also managed a couple of half-chances from set pieces. But neither team did enough to deserve a second and, on balance, a draw was fair.

Here are my thoughts:

  1. Andy Williams

I’ve become notorious amongst those who know me for moaning about Andy Williams, so perhaps now is a good time to review and explain my thoughts.

Williams has scored seven goals so far this season; a healthy number. Several of them have been impressive, and in different ways. We’ve seen long runs followed by placed finishes against Gillingham and Crewe, a thunderbolt versus Oldham, a lob at Newport, and Saturday’s neat chip. Some of those that he scored in 2012/13 were also high-quality (ones against Portsmouth and Carlisle spring to mind). He’s making a positive contribution and credit is certainly due.

So where’s the problem? Firstly, when Michael Smith isn’t playing, we should be able to count on Williams, at 6’2″ to deputise as a target man of sorts. He doesn’t do it. He’s partnered Connor Waldon twice this season, versus Coventry and Plymouth, and has offered Waldon nothing at all. His aerial ability is incredibly poor for a guy of his size. In his Swindon career to date, spanning 67 games, he has only scored two headers. To put that into context, Jon Obika (who isn’t as big) scored two headers in his first four appearances this season.

Perhaps an even more striking stat is that Williams, a tall striker of decent build, has never scored from a set piece, of any description, during those 67 Swindon games. Obika did it three times in his first two. Something isn’t right.

The answer? To score lobs, chips, long-range screamers or solo efforts, you have to be a good footballer, and Williams is. To score headers, or scruffy set piece goals, perhaps, above all, you need to be brave, and willing to take the occasional whack for the team. And Williams isn’t. Until that changes, and until we get some bread and butter to go with the champagne, my opinion of him isn’t likely to shift.

  1. Centre Backs

If Raphael Rossi Branco isn’t fit to play on Tuesday, it will be interesting to see who Cooper selects as our third centre back whilst Thompson is suspended. The most likely call is probably Bell, who apparently has experience of playing there, but interesting alternatives in the sweeper position would be Kasim or Gladwin. Kasim already spends a lot of time collecting the ball and playing it from very deep areas, and I would be in favour of giving him a try there.

  1. Away Form

Last season, the thought of five consecutive away games would have caused most fans, including me, to break into a sweat. But times have changed, and seven points from nine, plus one win from two in the cups, is an excellent record, relatively speaking. We’re now on 11 points from six away games, which is more than we had managed after 15 away matches last season. Full credit is due to the players and management for such a drastic improvement.

Now, finally, it’s time for a couple of home games. We’ve always been good at those, and we could definitely do with some momentum ahead of a really difficult run which follows them. Roll on Tuesday.

Follow Adam Tanner on Twitter @Adamtanner87

Did you enjoy the football break?

Vic Morgan Blog

It’s Friday, so it must be time for the latest STFC weekly review by BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan.

Did you enjoy the football break? I certainly didn’t.

The return of our football team this weekend is something to relish. It’s just a short trip for me on Saturday as our boys go to Yeovil. I know we’re not supposed to advertise, but a trip to the Glovers also means the chance to visit one of the best chippies in the league. So a double cause to celebrate the resumption of Swindon Town’s season.

That season so far shows a lot of promise and is getting more and more attention. Leaving aside the recent slip up at Plymouth, Swindon have been playing fantastic football. While we watched a stuttering England huff and puff in the Euro qualifiers, it made me miss the Town’s super skills even more. Yes our national team are unbeaten and certain to make the finals but it’s a real test watching them play these days. Maybe I’ll give it a miss for a while.

I took the opportunity to visit the team just down the road from me last Saturday. Exeter City were hoping to continue their winning streak in the league at the expense of bottom club Hartlepool. Former Town midfielder Tommy Miller ran the show and led the visitors to an away win. Still it’s always pleasant to visit St.James’ Park, especially in the sunshine.

Exeter - St James Park

Which brings me to the price of watching football. City recently cut a couple of pounds off their matchday prices. The last time I went to watch them, it cost nineteen quid to stand on the Big Bank. This time it was seventeen. To sit at the League Two game could have cost twenty seven pounds. Maybe that’s something all clubs have to look at. Money is tight, football may be something that slips out of the family budget.

Many comparisons are being made with the price of the game in Germany. It seems amazing that the Bundesliga clubs can charge so little for their matches compared to the cost here. Does cut price football work? Would it bring in more supporters? It may not be the total answer, after all we all want to watch a winning team, but it may help.

It is a fact that watching Swindon home and away has got more expensive. I’m fortunate to be able to attend most games, but it is hurting my wallet more and more. As retirement looms maybe the wallet may have to say no from time to time.

Right now the main focus is on Huish Park and hopefully another three points taken back to the County Ground.

Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON.

Vic Morgan Blog: Where Does This M’Bargo Play Then..?

Vic Morgan 1

It’s Friday, so it must be time for the latest blog by BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan.

I know its an old joke but it sometimes needs repeating. I’ve no idea why the restriction on signing new players has been in force for so long. Remember since we last added to the squad, a Pope has resigned and a new one elected. So the Vatican at least has been able to fill the midfield general role.

The off the field situation at the County Ground has filled miles of Internet forum space. There’s never a day goes by when the words “could”, “might”, “possibly” or “maybe” don’t appear allied to that M’Bargo bloke.

Does it matter? On the evidence of Tuesday night at Yeovil, no.

The current pool of players seem capable of picking up results in the midst of adversity and that does them great credit. Credit also goes to Kevin MacDonald. Our new manager seems a “just get on with it” football man. No histrionics, just makes do with what he has. I’ve seen him criticised because he seems rather quiet on the touchline.

Does that matter as long as he can coach and make game changing substitutions?

What will be a challenge for the remaining games is how a smaller squad deals with fatigue over the last weeks of a challenging season. There’s no doubting the fitness installed by the previous regime and no doubt carefully managed now.

Rest and recovery will be vital with the busy run-in to the 27th of April. One thing we’ve seen much evidence of since KMac has been in charge is his willingness to give youth team players the chance to travel with the first team. Again being sensible with the resources he has at his disposal.

Who knows what will happen over the next five weeks. It’s another Swindon Town roller coaster.

As for silence from the Boardroom? Sometimes it can be just about people getting on with the task at hand. I don’t know the people involved and to be honest I’m not, with all due respect, interested in the politics of it.

All I care about is that the team many of us have poured years and thousands of pounds into supporting will carry on. That’s all that matters. Not interested in plans of three year or five year duration. None of this “We’ll be in the Premier League in five years” rubbish. Just a guarantee that Swindon Town is safe and well run. That’ll do for me and for my part I’ll carry on supporting at matches whenever I can.

You see its in our blood isn’t it this game of football and Swindon is OUR team. It’s about eleven blokes in red kicking a ball about. Not status or ego its football pure and simple.

Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON.

Vic

Yeovil Town 0 Swindon 2: Town back on track for promotion

Huish Park - Yeovil 4

Televised penalty specialist, Adam Rooney, and second half substitute, James Collins, scored crucial late goals to take Swindon back up to third in the League One table. Daniel Hunt gives his view from the sofa…

The 0-2 score line didn’t flatter a Swindon Town side who dominated the second half on a cut-up Huish Park pitch. Kevin MacDonald’s red and white army gave a poor Yeovil team far too much respect in a dire first period that failed to live up to the pre-match billing of being a promotion chasing clash.

Glovers’ manager, Gary Johnson, had the luxury of signing two new players on loan in advance of the match, while Town had to make do with handing places on the substitute’s bench to Youth Team scholars, Alex Ferguson and Connor Waldon. Luckily for the 546 travelling supporters, Swindon’s unchanged eleven from the Brentford game were still comfortably too strong for, now 7th placed, Yeovil.

The dangerous Paddy Madden and James Hayter aside, I was really disappointed with our west-country hosts. I suppose it’s another sign of how poor England’s third tier is this season and why it’s so important that the transfer embargo is removed soon to allow a strengthened push for automatic promotion. This may be an opportunity too good to pass up.

In a frantic first minute which saw man-of-the-match Nathan Thompson clattered by a high boot, Andy Williams passed up a good opportunity of his own – shooting tamely at Stech from a low Adam Rooney cross. Neither side could make an impression on the game as the half ticked by and Yeovil’s best chance fell to former Bournemouth striker, James Hayter, in the 17th minute. Hayter controlled a Madden cross with his head before volleying wildly over to the relief of an under worked Wes Foderingham, who kept his first clean sheet since February 5th.

Darren Ward will also be pleased with the return of a clean sheet but he should have been celebrating his second March goal, two minutes before the break. A deep free kick from the left wasn’t cleared properly by the Glovers’ defence and the 34 year old defender’s stabbed effort was deflected agonisingly wide for a corner.

The half-time whistle came as a relief to anyone watching at the ground or on television. I can’t help but feel that by playing a 4-5-1 formation, MacDonald showed far too little ambition in the opening period. I would love to see the return of two genuine wingers and two strikers to the line-up for Saturday’s tie with Notts County, if Town are to consolidate their position as a top two contender.

The start of the second half was much much better from a Swindon perspective as Andy Williams, playing against his former employers, sparked the game into life with several piercing runs. That almost every surge he made was ended, by a callous Yeovil foul, showed the viewer how much respect his previous team mates still hold for him.

McCormack fired over from the edge of the box in the 51st minute before Gary Roberts was denied a goal by the Referee’s whistle three minutes later. A deep free kick from the right found its way to the left winger via Ward’s flick on but Referee Stroud adjudged Roberts to have shoulder barged his opponent before lashing home past Stech in the Yeovil goal.

Town were well on top at this point but were failing to convert pressure into goals. After 57 minutes, Andy Williams ran half the length of the field before attempting a cross that just eluded Adam Rooney six yards out. Just after the hour mark, Adam Rooney did manage to get on the end of a Gary Roberts cross, only to see his clever right foot flick smartly parried by the goal keeper. Replays suggested that his effort would have struck the left hand post but for Stech’s intervention.

In response, Yeovil’s best two openings of the half both fell to twenty goal striker, Paddy Madden, but Nathan Thompson displayed his fantastic powers of recovery each time to foil the Irishman. With neither Flint or Ward blessed with natural pace, it is crucial that Thompson covers from right-back as he did in the 61st minute to deny Madden being clean through on goal. The second block was even better defensive work as Thompson’s flying tackle stopped a certain goal in front of the home end when the scores were still level midway through the second period.

Thompson’s rise to important first team player has been so smooth it’s easy to forget that this is his breakthrough season in the Football League. If Paul Caddis hadn’t fallen out with Paolo Di Canio in pre-season, we may still be wondering about Thompson’s merits as a professional footballer… Instead, we are blessed with the best and most aggressive tackler I’ve ever seen at the County Ground. I bore my friends by saying it but Thompson just doesn’t miss. Almost every time, he wins the ball cleanly. It’s so refreshing to see defending in purest sense (i.e. see ball, win ball) in an era where so many players are afraid to tackle.

Eventually the Swindon pressure did tell, helped by the 70th minute introduction of top scorer, James Collins. The ex-Shrewsbury man looked sharp as he almost broke the deadlock four minutes after coming on with a left foot curler from 18 yards. An opportunist long ball forward by McCormack was seized upon by Roberts who duly took the contact from ‘keeper Stech before tumbling to the ground for the penalty. As the Sky Sports commentators touched on, it wasn’t the first time big Czech Republican got his judgement wrong in the match.

The ‘ginger assassin’, Adam Rooney, expertly placed the penalty in the corner and the Reds finally had the lead their play deserved. With the exception of a wasted Madden chance with nine minutes remaining, choosing to shoot immediately rather than take it on when well placed, Yeovil mustered very little by way of pressure in the closing stages. Town’s much vaunted defence, the best in League One by four goals, was looking back to its uncompromising best.

The five minutes added on time felt like an hour and as I was shouting at the Referee to blow-up (not literally), Alan McCormack burst clear on the counter-attack and fed James Collins on the right. Like all good selfish forwards should, the Villa graduate shot for goal himself and with the last kick of the game, made it 2-0 to Swindon. A lovely icing on the victory cake!

It was Collins’ seventh goal of the season from the bench – has a Swindon player ever scored more in a season after coming on? Get to work Trivia fans… I know the answer!

James Collins – impact substitute.

James Collins - Impact Sub

On the second half performance alone, Town fully deserved the three points. The only negative from the evening was the five yellow cards picked up by an already thin squad. Let’s hope this pleasing win puts Swindon Town back on track for League One promotion. I think Kevin MacDonald will be content with seven points from his first four games in charge but it could so easily have been twelve with stronger finishes to the Walsall and Brentford games.

With promotion rivals dropping points all over the place, can Swindon be the side who put that strong run together and force their way to the top? Two consecutive home games against Notts County and Oldham Athletic will be the acid test.