The October STFC review from a Norwegian point of view
Norwegian Swindon Town supporter Hans J. Tandsether of HeiaSwindon.com casts his eye back over events at The County Ground throughout October.
Another month has gone by and Swindon are finally up there among the promotion candidates. Currently we are sitting in 7th, a place just inside the play-offs.
September month ended in bad fashion with a 0-2 loss on the road against Macclesfield. We started October month on the road as well and travelled down to League One Exeter City for the second round of the JP Trophy Cup. A solid 2-1 victory at St. James and next up will be AFC Wimbledon in the quarter finals. Will we have a serious go at this cup this year and finally make it to Wembley on another occasion than just the play offs? I would love a cup final as much as I’m sure Swindon’s trophy cabinet would! I really need another cup final DVD to watch other than the black and white final from ’69.
League matters we started October with a visit from Norway to the County Ground. My mate Bernt and his missus travelled to see Swindon play Hereford and what a game they saw.
Leading 3-1 at the break didn’t help and the big players from Hereford punished Swindon’s yet again soft set pieces defending. The final result 3-3 did not seem to take the mood away from the Norwegian guests at the County Ground and probably the highlight of the day was that Rocking’ Robin went up to the stand and gave Bernt a big COYR hug. You can read his travel report on my blog HeiaSwindon.com.
Swindon were aiming to set the record straight on the road when travelling to both Accrington and Plymouth for the next two games. We were lucky enough to keep a clean sheet at both grounds and snatched six points. The three points away against Plymouth came from a De Vita finish just eight minutes before full time – and this was probably the highlight of the season so far for me.
Plymouth is a troubled ship just starting to build their way up again after being on the brink of extinction. This weekend it was announced that the club was bought up and saved. No football club should have to suffer with these circumstances. As a Swindon Town fan we know the pain all sorts of economical trouble can have for a football club. Not in a matter of win or lose but in the matter of existence or not.
This month’s second Tuesday evening game was last week home against Gillingham. The Gills brought with them from Kent a few former Swindon players – Curtis Weston, Joe Kuffour and Frank Nouble started the game and Andy Frampton was on the bench. We managed another great result and another clean sheet – the third in a row. Two stunning goals from Matt Ritchie and Jonathan Smith sent the fans flying into this weekend’s game against Bradford City.
The Bantams from Yorkshire have had a couple of really horrible seasons in League Two, but they truly deserve to be higher up the league system due to their fantastic support – both home and away. They have by far the highest crowds in League Two and not many League One teams can actually say that they have bigger crowds. Just a few years ago they were in the Premier League but just as Swindon in the 90s so has the 2000s treated those claret and ambers from Valley Parade.
Would Swindon manage four wins in a row?
After a quiet first half we were handed a little gift when the referee sent off Bradford’s Andrew Davies ten minutes into the second half. Paolo Di Canio kept faith in his eleven but ten minutes from time he threw both Alan Connell and Cristian Montano into the frame. Bradford kept defending and earned them a good point. It was probably two points lost for Swindon Town but I will try to see it as the fourth clean sheet in a row – and take all the positives from that. Four clean sheets in a row is quite an achievement having in mind the troubles we’ve had defensively at the beginning of this season.
As for other things than just the games, Paolo Di Canio has been through a troubled time himself with his father passing away back home in Italy. Di Canio showed a great character in the way he managed himself and his team after that incident. No one would have blamed him if he travelled home but he wanted to keep on his routines at Swindon and the players were truly amazing to him after the game against Plymouth last Saturday.
The difference this month has been our loan players. Wes Foderingham has given Swindon a new safety behind the back four. He sounds like a great keeper although he had a nightmare situation against Bradford yesterday handing them a silly free kick inside his own box. As for Leigh Ridehalgh he’s been outstanding at left back and thankfully he is to play for Swindon the rest of this year. Too bad he won’t be able to play against Huddersfield (his own team) in the FA Cup 1st Round game at the County Ground in November but I bet Callum Kennedy would be rearing to go when he gets his opportunity again.
On top we’ve got Cristian Montano from West Ham. He did a great run for Notts County earlier this season and thanks to Paolo Di Canio we lured him away from League One and into League Two for at least a month.
Next up November is waiting. Snow, orange colored footballs and cold mornings. Our first game will be away against Port Vale and it will be great to see if we manage five clean sheets in a row at the start of November?
Best wishes for the month to come from the Norwegian Review and best of luck the TheWashbag’s own Ron who’s become a father for the first time. I bet the entire baby and toddler Swindon merchandise is already in place!