Swindon 2 Burton 0: Another game, another vital three points
Swindon made it ten League Two wins in a row, 30 points out of 30 and stretched the lead at the top to four points with a 2-0 win over Burton Albion. Adam Johnson looks back on the continuation of success from last night…
In recent weeks I’ve been going to Swindon games expecting three points and have just been going through the motions. Get in the car, get out of the car, get a pork roll (which is immaculate by the way) stand in my spot in the Town End, watch Swindon score and go home.
For the tenth game running, last night’s routine was no different, (although a bit more pork would have been nice) as Swindon once again left victorious to put the title of champions firmly in their grasp. It wasn’t an amazing performance but we were always in control and left Burton trailing.
Before I go on to explain how Burton never really looked like troubling us, I thought I’d recall their best chance.
Straight from kick off they did what I like to call the ‘FIFA kick off’. This is where you kick off and just run straight for your goal assuming you’ll beat everyone and slot it in. This didn’t work out for Burton as the move broke down at the first hurdle and was subsequently their best and last attacking threat.
That is harsh on Burton but it does symbolize an evening where Swindon, although unable to break down Burton in the first half with their 4-5-1 formation, were always likely to find a way through.
Di Canio’s men did struggle to break down Burton and started the game by playing long balls into space which isn’t everyone’s favourite tactic but can be utilized well. However, it wasn’t on this night as Burton dealt with the long balls bombarding them from all angles.
When we did get the ball down and play it we looked the superior side but still couldn’t find a way into the Burton area. A chance, beautifully passed through by Matt Ritchie, gave Simon Ferry a one on one opening but his effort dragged wide.
Town could only threaten from distance and it was Paul Caddis who before half time sparked a bit of life into the County Ground as his powerful long range effort stung the fingertips of Albion ‘keeper Ross Atkins.
It was this effort that gave the momentum required going into half time to give Swindon the victory within the first fifteen minutes of the 2nd half. Town came straight out the blocks, FIFA style, and could have quickly took the lead were it not for a Burton player clearing a glancing header off the line.
Town were threatening from every angle and it was Alan Connell who should have taken the plaudits for the opening goal but as he was set through, the striker couldn’t get a shot away.
That would be his last involvement in the match as on loan Ronan Murray came on and with his second touch, tapped in from 1cm (maybe 2) to make it 1-0.
As a chorus of ‘oh, I want to dance with Cibocchi’ rang out from the Town End, it was his cross that found Paul Benson who headed to Murray to run and nod in.
Up to that point, Burton had been organised and tough to break down but once they were broken, you knew that was it for them in this game.
Luke Rooney and Matt Ritchie, the destructive duo, were terrorising the full backs and it was Rooney who helped seal the three points only five minutes later. He had the full back on the back foot and with the outside of his boot found Benson who also poached to score from 1, maybe 2 centimetres out…. importantly his 100th goal in professional football.
After the second and winning goal, there wasn’t much to chat about as Rooney had a good chance from a cut in that went wide and Murray’s one on one effort was saved.
As even The Town End contemplated sitting down for the final few minutes, Paolo struck the crouched down pose on the touchline, contemplating the evening that had passed and the stats tell the story. Swindon shots on goal 17, Burton shots on goal 2.
For this reason man of the match could easily go to Wes Foderingham, just so he had a reason for playing. More importantly, another great team performance was the crucial factor in this victory. The backline all the way to the front had to adapt from the first half and work hard in bringing about a not so pretty but another three points.
We all know the skills of Alan McCormack, Simon Ferry, Matt Ritchie, Luke Rooney, Paul Benson to name a few who play every week and give us the same top performances. It has been a tough time though for others such as Joe Devera, Alessandro Cibocchi and Oliver Risser since moving to SN1 but they deserve some praise this time.
Cibocchi didn’t put a foot wrong and had great delivery from the left. He isn’t my preference at full back but put in another good shift and has improved. Risser is another one who isn’t people’s cup of tea but last night did his job well after replacing Jonathan Smith and helped control the tempo of the game.
Joe Devera gets his own paragraph because after the injury to Aden Flint, many were worried about the effect this would have, but has it had an effect? Devera has stepped in and been brilliant in the games he’s appeared in. He is calm on the ball and has improved his positional play since bad memories of his marking for James Constable’s winner against us in August.
With another win and another three points, comes not just any other game. We have the perfect momentum now to go and beat Oxford, but I think I’ll let Paolo sum it up best: ‘‘we’ll never forget how they celebrated in our County Ground and so we will go and celebrate there. And that’s not a threat, it’s a promise.’’
COME ON YOU REDS!