2010 STFC Review: April
April ended up defining our season and highlighted the inexperience of the young Town squad in steeping up to secure promotion.
After trailing 2nd place by 14 points back on 12th December, Town moved into automatic contention with two successive 3-0 victories over a fruitful Easter weekend.
First up came 2nd placed Leeds United at Elland Road. Few had expected the 3-0 win back in January, let alone following this up with an identical result in-front of a stunned home crowd. Billy Paynter’s excellent brace was evidently enough to convince Leeds to poach Town’s top scorer to Yorkshire at the end of the season.
2 days later Tranmere were visitors to the County Ground and surprisingly put up little resistance in falling to a 3-0 defeat only days after beating table toppers Norwich City.
So, after 40 games and with Town 1 point clear in 2nd place, automatic promotion was ours to lose…
Next up was the first of two remaining matches against fellow contenders at Town travelled to Essex to face Colchester. The out of form ‘U’s’ were largely dominated, but like the Rovers game over a month ago, Town allowed the opposition chances which they took with clinical aplomb to secure a rather flattering, nonetheless convincing 3-0 victory. Town lost 2 points over our rivals and dropped to 4th with Millwall now the team to beat…quite literary!
When the Sky cameras rolled up at the County Ground on the Monday night to televise the Exeter game the little rest between the games was showing. A resolute Exeter City had one ambition, to get the first goal and to sit on their lead. That’s exactly what they achieved as a misfiring and disjointed Town could do little against the understandably defensive Exeter tactics until a last gasp Taylor own goal grabbed Town a deserved point, although this was another case of more posts lost.
More ground was lost in the remaining games, a 1-1 draw with Walsall followed by a 2-2 draw at Wycombe. With 3 points out of 12 it was surprising that it was only as little as a 4 point gap to Leeds in 2nd, but surely we’d lost any chance of joining Norwich in the Championship.
At least we’d secured a play-off place, an achievement in itself, but tarnished as it was ours to lose.