Swindon 2 Southend Utd 0: The Rejuvenation Continues
It’s an honour and a privilege to be a part of two wins in a row after a 2-0 triumph over Paul Sturrock’s Southend reports Adam Johnson.
Town moved up to 13th in the table after goals from Jonathan Smith and Mehdi Kerrouche sealed three points for Paolo Di Canio’s men.
It was a day of renewed optimism as Swindon put in a solid performance and took their chances to walk to a nice and simple win, something that seems to have eluded us for a while. We dominated the game, bossed the tempo and were able to deal with everything that came our way.
It was great to see the Town End in full voice supporting the lads from start to finish and seeing the players produce the goods on the pitch in a comfortable fashion. It’s something we have missed at the County Ground and it’s fantastic to have it all back.
Di Canio made three changes through injury and suspension with Alan Connell replacing Lukas Magera, Oliver Risser coming in to fill at centre back instead of Aden Flint and Joe Devera coming in for the suspended Alberto Comazzi.
Devera had a big game ahead of him with make shift partners in Oliver Risser, and due to an injury to the club captain in came Alan McCormack after 16 minutes. The former Barnet man stepped up to show what he can do after doubters, including myself, have put a big question mark on him. But Devera showed composure and maturity in how to deal with any situation throughout his confident performance.
Swindon started the brighter with an early chance as Kerrouche headed his effort onto the crossbar. Town continued to be on the front foot but chances did seem few and far between. Then the injured Risser was brought off for Jonathan Smith, with Alan McCormack becoming the unlikely fourth choice centre back partner.
It was an inspired substitution though as it was a rocket of a shot by Smith that put the hosts ahead. With much of Town’s dominance coming down the right it was actually one of only a few chances down the opposite flank that brought about the first goal. De Vita’s efforts to keep the ball pulled off as his cross was hit back to Smith and with one stroke of the ball from 25 yards drove his effort right through visiting keeper Glen Morris into the bottom corner.
The good work was nearly undone straight away as Southend’s Bilel Mohsni rattled the crossbar himself to calm all the players, and fans, down and make sure the hard work wasn’t going to be undone.
Town continued to push down the right with Matt Ritchie and Paul Caddis, who were a constant threat all afternoon, and it was these two that nearly helped to double Town’s lead. A goal mouth scramble was brought to life as Ritchie’s cross into the box found Kerrouche whose effort was blocked and only the post saved a Southend defender from heading past his own keeper.
The hard work though never looked likely to be undone as in the 47th minute Kerrouche got the goal his performance deserved. Good work down the right by Simon Ferry, who looked prepared to shoot, led to the Scot passing across the area finding the Algerian who had the simple task of slotting the ball home.
With the Town End in full voice and Swindon in control, chances were few and far between for Southend who looked short of ideas. Di Canio took his foot off the pedal and thought ahead to Tuesday night bringing off Ferry and Kerrouche, with both getting a deserved standing ovation from the 6,500 Swindon fans in attendance.
Southend ended the stronger with a few efforts but the only real chance led to a good point blank save from Mattia Lanzano in a crowded six yard box following a corner.
The full time whistle blew and a cheer of hope rose to congratulate the players as with being told time was needed, two good performances with two wins in a row was secured.
It was a solid all round good performance with every player contributing to the victory but stand out mentions have to go to Joe Devera, Simon Ferry and Mehdi Kerrouche.
Devera has already been covered but Simon Ferry gets my vote for man of the match. He is the type of midfielder that can control a game with his passing, movement and constant thinking during play. He gets in the right positions to receive the ball and barely puts a bad pass in with everything from Ferry’s foot meaning something or going to another player rather than lumping it to no one.
Kerrouche is also the type of striker who can be a big hit in League Two. He is physical, strong, quick and can find space to stand in to receive the ball. He is a constant nuisance to centre backs and gets himself about so we should expect more goals from the Algerian hitman.
It’s been a slow start to the campaign but hopefully we can now continue to be consistent with our performances and show the promise that has been displayed in games to come.