Town v Walsall: No Hart pun here…
This has been a week in which Swindon Town replaced Danny Wilson as manager, perhaps expecting an immediate positive impact on results having gone 11 games without a win. Yet the move to bring in Paul Hart yielded nothing, apart from leaving a bumper 10,489 crowd flat and bemused on the final whistle, as Town suffered another bout of failing to meet expectations…
And yet this was all after a positive opening section where Town dominated possession, but failed to make any impact on Walker in the Walsall goal.
A lively Mike Grella was persistent, controlling the ball well and frequently taking on the Walsall defence. If it wasn’t for his greedy decisions and refusing to pass, Town could’ve secured a clear shot on goal and we could be sitting a point above Walsall in the table.
The match was like many previous against the ‘unfancied’ League One teams.
How many times we seen a stubborn and resolute opposition defence turn up to face us at the County Ground? But we’ve never learnt from this and found the creativity and cutting edge to break down our opponents, this despite Town comprising a more technical than physical team.
Unlike some impatient Town fans who sit near to me in the Arkells, constantly barracking the players for not taking the option to push forward, I can see the benefits of a considered possession based build-up. However only if something comes as a result on at least a majority of occasions.
With the exception of Rose, who broke well down the left, for too long the remainder of the back line and Douglas resorted to passing the ball, often wayward, amongst themselves. I lost count of the number of back passes, mostly poorly hit, back to Lucas and the sideways passes, often placing too much onus on Douglas to redistribute, without eventual success.
In the second half Town hit the post twice. First Jonathan Douglas nearly opened his Swindon account as his header hit the corner of the crossbar. Then in the dying minutes many supporters taking a chance to leave before the final whistle turned back to see Michael Rose smash a strong strike only to hit the underside of the bar. Millimetres between Town and a first victory in two months.
So did the largely dull and goalless 90 minutes at the County Ground tell us anything about our prospects of avoiding the drop?
A first clean sheet after conceding 14 in the previous 6 games is a positive note, however Walsall only managed to test Lucas on a single occasion.
The incoming Paul Hart was hoped to make an immediate difference to the team, but to do so was an incredibly hard task. The problem now is we are facing Plymouth away on Tuesday when I’d prefer a break until next Saturday to face our next opponents to rectify the deep rooted failings in training.
Jonathan Obika joined us with a reputation for not always making the biggest effort to assist his teamates. His ineffective cameo appearance after replacing JP McGovern after 73 minutes infuriated Hart and the Town faithful, pushing Obika closer to replacing Ben Hutchinson as the worst loan signing in recent years.
A draw wasn’t necessarily a bad result, as before the game I would’ve taken 7 points against Walsall, Plymouth and Dagenham & Redbridge, although as other results went against us the task of avoiding the drop is becoming harder and harder.