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.

Match Preview: Yeovil Town vs Swindon Town

Yeovil Town 1

Form Guide…

5th placed Swindon are falling down the League One form table, now 13th, with a record of two wins, two draws and two defeats in six games.

Away from the County Ground, Town lost 1-2 at Brentford a week ago and have a record of three wins and two draws and one defeat in six League One games; putting Swindon 5th in the away form guide. Swindon haven’t failed to score on their travels for five games.

Yeovil Town are the division’s surprise package under Gary Johnson. The Glovers are level on 63 points with Swindon, but behind on goal difference. In their previous six outings, Yeovil are unbeaten in three games with two wins, three draws and one defeat in six.

As hosts, Yeovil are unbeaten in nine League One games in a run stretching back to mid-November and the visit of Carlisle United who traveled back to Cumbria with a 3-1 win. Yeovil drew their last game at Huish Park 2-2 with Crawley, before that they won seven in a row.

Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk Head-to-Head…

In all League, FA Cup and Football League competitions, Town have faced Yeovil on 14 occasions, winning 8, drawing 2 and suffering 4 defeats, scoring 28 goals and conceding 13.

At Huish Park, Town have 4 wins, 2 draws and 1 defeat, with 11 scored and 4 conceded.

Swindon drew 3-3 in our previous visit to Yeovil in October 2010 with goals from Charlie Austin, Sean Morrison and JP McGovern.

Yeovil’s 4 goals scored as hosts versus Swindon have only come in two games.

Swindon have scored in 5 of 7 trips to Somerset.

The Stats…

Defence Attack
Yeo (Hosts) r STFC (Away) r Yeo (Hosts) r STFC (Away) r
Shots Against Per Game 7.5 3 7.9 1 Shots For Per Game 11.1 15 12.4 1
% Shots Against on Target 49.7% 12 52.5% 19 % Shots For on Target 47.6% 17 59.2% 2
% Save Rate 73.2% 14 78.7% 8 % Strike Rate 15.7% 3 11.2% 15
Corners Against Per Game 4.6 8 5 3 Corners Won Per Game 4.8 22 8.1 1
Possession Conceded 47.9% 9 47.2% 2 Possession Won 52.1% 9 52.8% 2
R = rank: The ranking shown for each measure indicates the efficiency of the sides against the rest of the division as either hosts or the away side | 1 equals the best and 24 is the worst | TheWashbag.com

There is little to separate the sides in defensive terms, with only Wes Foderingham’s save rate significantly outscoring Yeovil.

Yeovil’s attacking efficiency does highlight their high quality finishing as hosts with 15.7% of all shots have been scored, ranked 3rd best in League One. This contrasts with Swindon’s very high average shots per game, % of shots on target, corners won and possession won, but for an average 11.2% strike rate.

SCORED 1-15 16-30 31-45 45+ 46-60 61-75 76-90 90+
Yeo (as hosts) 3 5 7 0 3 6 8 1
STFC (away) 2 4 6 0 5 3 4 1

Yeovil are slow out of the blocks and progress to be an effective attacking force as each half progresses.

Swindon have been more dangerous in attack during the two 15 minute periods either side of half time away from home.

CONCEDED 1-15 16-30 31-45 45+ 46-60 61-75 76-90 90+
Yeo (as hosts) 4 3 2 0 4 4 2 1
STFC (away) 4 5 2 0 0 2 2 1

Two goals conceded at Brentford in the second half added a signification proportion to the tally.

Yeovil’s goals against as hosts are spread about, with only a marginal improvement towards the end of each half, which is interesting considering their lethal finishing in those periods. Clearly Yeovil haven’t allowed their attacking endeavours to come at the expense of the defence.

My prediction…

As much as I’d want a Swindon win, this game has a score draw written all over it…

2-2 final score.

Come on You Reds!

A guide to the League One playoff race

2011-12 League One Play Off Winners - Huddersfield Town 1

In the second edition of our look into the League One promotion race, Adam Johnson continues his guide to Swindon’s promotion rivals. In this blog, we focus on those fighting for a play off spot and to follow Huddersfield as League One play off winners…

With 19-22 games left in the League One season, we’re now into the business end for sides that have hopes for promotion or saving themselves from relegation.

Luckily, Swindon gets to look down on most of the division in 5th place but they have plenty of challengers who could possibly pick up on any slip in form. We’re going to look through those already in the playoffs and on the outskirts who could steal a last minute place.

2011-12 League One Play Off Winners - Huddersfield Town

We start with Brentford, a side who have had an outstanding season and currently lie 3rd in League One. Led by Uwe Rosler, who has recently signed a new contract, The Bees have been a surprise package in the league but with names such as former Town Captain Jonathan Douglas along with striker Clayton Donaldson who has 14 goals, it’s not the biggest shock in League One.

The table again doesn’t lie as Brentford have only suffered three defeats all season, the last of which was in late October versus joint leaders Doncaster. If it wasn’t for 7 draws away from home in their 13 games, they could easily be top rather than 4 points away.

The stats, provided again by Ben Mayhew’s experimental361, show Brentford are an attacking team. They have the second highest average for shots on goal per game but do need 8-9 chances to score which is more than desirable if you wish to be a top two side. The defensive statistics then show they face the 5th joint least amount of shots per game which is handy and it takes their opponents 9-10 shots to score.

2013.01 att-eff-l1

This backs up their impressive season so far and with the capability of picking up draws when they could lose, that could be the difference in them taking a playoff place. They do however have the joint fewest amount of wins out of any of the top 6 so turn some draws into wins and the top two is possible but playoffs is the likely bet.

Up next are the pantomime villains and 6th place MK Dons. Karl Robinson has done a steady job at MK Dons and the playoffs are probably the club’s minimum expectation. They haven’t shouted as loud as others and have quietly gone about their business. After an average start to the season and an awful October, they really came to life in November with 5 wins out of 9, including a 1-0 win over table toppers Tranmere.

The basis for MK Dons success is hard to distinguish as neither defence nor attack has flourished but both have done enough of a job. They create a good amount of shots with an average of 12 and score with an average of 8 of those chances. However, they have Ryan Lowe as top scorer with 7 then midfielder Luke Chadwick on 6 just behind him which isn’t enough and will need more goals from their players in the coming months.

The defence is kind of opposite to the attack. They don’t do a bad job as they limit their opponents, 3rd best in the league, but they conceded more frequently than any of the others in the top six, which seems to be the difference between them and the rest of the top sides. It’s a small difference but the title and playoffs will be decided by small margins.

The Dons will be expecting a playoff place but with the form of other sides and the stand out players that MK Dons lack, a 6th place finish seems like the best they can hope for as they face a battle till the end.

Now that we’ve covered the obvious choices in the top 7 over these two blogs, who could be an outside bet for a late push?

Firstly a mention for Yeovil Town as they continue to defy the odds in 8th place. They’ve racked up an impressive 13 wins, holding more wins than their weekend opponents Sheffield United after a 2-0 win at Bramall Lane, but lose too many games, 11 out of 27, to consider a playoff spot. The Glovers have scored more than four of the top six but have conceded exactly double the amount of Swindon in 5th.

Crawley Town have gone quiet this season and the stats tell a tale of disappointment. Firstly, it’s a bad thing to concede more than you score and Crawley are 9th with a -3 GD.

With the striking options of Gary Alexander, Billy Clarke and John Akinde they don’t score enough goals even though they create just as many as others. The defence is also a tale of what could be as they don’t allow many shots on goal but concede regularly. They are a similar tale to Yeovil, won enough games with 12 out of 27 but lose too many, 10 out of 27, for a coveted playoff spot.

2013.01 def-eff-l1

My shout for a last minute push, but still unlikely to make the top six, is Coventry City. This may seem obvious with them being one of the bigger clubs but the stats show they’re an improving side.

This has mostly been down to them, if you combined shots on goal with shots taken per goal, taking the award for best attacking threat and that was down to the form of top goalscorer with 16 goals David McGoldrick but he’s now ended his loan and gone to Ipswich Town. They’ve signed Leon Clarke to try and replace the hole left by McGoldrick and he did get his first goal for the club in their 1-0 win v Tranmere last night. The Sky Blues will have to wait and see whether it’ll pay off as he’ll get goals but his attitude may become a factor.

They do allow a lot of shots on goal with an average of 11-12 per game and concede every 8-9 shots which leaves them amongst the mid table sides in the stats and unsurprisingly is therefore where they currently find themselves. I expect them to have a good finish but without McGoldrick they’ll fall short.

To wrap up, this League One promotion race is going to be a fight till the end. Any club in the top seven could win the league as many teams are on form but some will have to settle for the playoffs.

I don’t see Tranmere keeping up their good form and even though we thought they’d drop away by now, I think it’s just a matter of time. Bournemouth look strong across the pitch for 5th and Sheffield United look set for the playoffs again without that killer instinct. Brentford in 3rd is cheeky as they are the form side but I just see them tripping up. It’s going to be dramatic folks…

Playoffs

3rd Brentford

4th Sheffield United

5th Bournemouth

6th Tranmere Rovers

To see more stats and information about League One, visit Ben Mayhew’s Experimental 361 page: http://experimental361.com/

Vic Morgan Blog: Wake up its a Chelsea morning…

Vic Morgan

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

‘Wake up it’s a Chelsea morning’ As the great Joni Mitchell once sang about Chelsea in New York City.

The mad mad world of football reached new insane levels on Wednesday morning with the sacking of Roberto Di Matteo. A man who won an FA Cup and the ultimate club prize, the Champions League, defeat in Turin put the Brakes on his Stamford Bridge career.

While we were feeling a bit depressed by a loss to Brentford, the Blues owner was sharpening his rather blunt axe ready to swing it again.

Do you know what… I wasn’t surprised. I always got the feeling Di Matteo put Abramovich in a difficult situation last May by winning Ol’ Big Lugs, the European Cup, and that he really didn’t want to appoint the former player in the first place.

Now he’s given him the bullet and the whole sorry story starts again. It’s a Chelsea fans business to love their club obviously but I don’t think many outside of that group have a great deal of respect for the Blues and the way they do their business.

Still I wait with interest to see whether the new man in charge stays more than three days beyond next seasons West Brom away game. That always seems to be the tipping point.

Anyhoo, back to our first love STFC.

A mixed week because obviously things are never set in stone where the Town are concerned. Against a tough well set up Yeovil we were tremendous. Some great football in a difficult game and a great result.

The two centre halves were just fantastic, everything you expect from a defensive partnership. Joe Devera deservedly won man of the match but I would have given it to Joe and Darren Ward who also got his first Town goal. It was tremendous for an old fashioned bloke like me to watch. Ward reminds me of the great Frank Burrows. Raw boned and relishing a tackle.

Then of course something we ought to have expected. The fall after the lift. A dull encounter against Brentford. A wet miserable Tuesday and nothing to get too excited about. To be honest I’d been more thrilled looking at the new Led Zeppelin CDs in a well known record store. Didn’t buy it got a birthday soon, hint hint.

Afterwards the realisation that we won’t beat everybody easily. We knew that anyway. Thought Brentford were well set up and played a very good away game. I think we’ll remember Jonathon Douglas’s effort for a while. Brought back memories of his hapless efforts on goal while with us.

And Bradley, thanks for your comedy moment while trying to retrieve the ball at the Town End. “She fell over” would have embarrassed you and thrilled you at the same time. Highlight of the game for me.

So then I write this enjoying a coffee in a shop with Zep on the sound system. Do you know what despite the weather things ain’t so bad.

On to Notts County for the mighty Reds and lets hope the tremendous away form continues.

Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON

Vic