Swindon 1 Northampton 0: Town move closer to promotion

Swindon completed the bank holiday weekend with another 1-0 victory, courtesy of a cross-cum-shot from Lee Holmes. It wasn’t pretty, as the power of Northampton looked to out-do the precise passing of Swindon reports Rosie MacGillivray.

Given Paolo Di Canio’s dissatisfaction at our performance versus Morecambe, it wasn’t a surprise to see two changes. Ronan Murray returned in place of Alan Connell, while Lee Holmes started, with Raffaele De Vita dropping to bench.

First-half, the huff and the puff of Swindon just wasn’t enough to blow Northampton down. It was apparent that Aidy Boothroyd had set up his team for a draw. Unsurprising, much of Northampton’s attacking play looked to come through Bayo Akinfenwa. However, Aden Flint was equal to him throughout the game with Oliver Risser also regularly dropping back to assist.

On the half-hour mark, it looked as if Swindon were to make that all important breakthrough. Typical good movement from Paul Benson to free himself in the box was followed up by a less characteristic shot, which went straight to Kitson in the Northampton goal.  Another chance quickly followed, as Ronan Murray charged down a goal-kick, although Kitson rectified his error.

Luke Rooney carried on where he left off, as his performance frustrated many a fan and team-mate. In particular, his loose pass to Jay McEveley from a corner – which resulted in the left-back conceding a free-kick – saw him receive an ear-bashing from Flint. He found himself substituted shortly into the second-half, with Rafaelle De Vita coming on.

Rooney did little to help my argument in liking the option of a short corner, as it obvious many detest them. Although, Di Canio may be wise to ensure Rooney has a little practice before his next playing time. With the exception of Benson, Flint and Risser, we’re hardly blessed with a team of giants that would challenge the challenge the average League Two defence.

Although the impact was to come from the other winger. Lee Holmes cut inside to provide a cross-cum-shot, which evaded everyone to beat Neal Kitson in the Cobblers’ goal. It was a moment of luck, but as the saying goes, if you don’t buy a ticket, you can’t win the raffle. It was just one of many attempts that Holmes had, in what was his best game since returning.

Northampton pushed forward in quest for an equaliser but Swindon defended like a team that have conceded just eight at home all season. And the visitors’ clinical finishing was void, especially after the exit of the big man Bayo Akinfenwa. The defence once more stood strong and Alan McCormack in particular, was outstanding and always found himself in the right place. Wes Foderingham wasn’t called on often but was always ready.

A testing cross from an ever-improving McEveley reached Benson, but he headed wide. On another day, Benson could have added another three or four to his ten goals this season. De Vita also had a golden opportunity to double the lead as he made space on the edge of the box but his composure left him, as the ball landed in the Stratton Bank.

It wasn’t a memorable performance but given that this was our third match since in little under seven days, it was one to be expected. At this stage of the season, it is always a bigger challenge to face a team not yet mathematically safe, than a team lying in mid-table. Defensively at least, Northampton put up a good fight.

It’s amazing to know, that if we continue to do our job and other results go our way, we could be celebrating promotion at home to Plymouth this Saturday before a potential title clinching match at Aldershot. A efficient performance in an incredible season.

4 comments

  • Alan McCormack was faultless against the Cobblers. It was as good a central defensive display as you’ll see. His distribution was also excellent.

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  • I thought Alan Mc was fantastic again today – just has that knack of being in the right place at the right time. I also want to point out how well Joe Devera has done for the town this season….Wherever he’s been played he’s never let us down….

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  • I agree about Joe Devera. Not an up and down full back like Paul Caddis, but solid in a defensive role. Very much an unsung hero.

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  • Oops, I’ve just realised that I missed a whole paragraph about Devera and McEveley.

    You’re both right, Joe Devera has been solid when called upon. Paolo hasn’t made too many mistakes but moving Alan Mac to right-back was one of them. While he may not be Paul Caddis, as the games have gone on, he has got forward more and his cross versus Morecambe for Paul Benson’s goal was evidence of that.

    Jay McEveley has got better as the games have gone on but he has yet to link-up with either Lee Holmes or Luke Rooney going forward. Since Caddis’ injury, our play has become more narrow.

    It does however, say a lot about our squad to be minus key players such as Flint, Ritchie and Caddis, and still winning games. This is the difference between Swindon and a team like Cheltenham, who have fallen away recently.

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