Swindon Town 0 – 3 MK Dons: Glad it was all over…
After two and a half weeks of preparation for one of the most pivotal games in the race for a second place finish, Swindon Town crumbled in front of the TV cameras. Reports Davy Richards
After over two weeks without any football for us Swindon fans, I have to say that I was quite worried by the idea of facing Milton Keynes Dons. My fears became reality as a truly shocking second half performance lead to MK hitting the back of the net three times without reply from Town. With this result automatic promotion seems out of reach. But let’s be honest here, who wouldn’t have been happy to be finishing in the playoff spots at the start of the season? So just try to remember it’s not all doom and gloom, even if it seems that way after such a poor performance.
It was good to see Sam Ricketts make his first appearance in a Town shirt after signing on loan for the remainder of the season. I don’t remember him putting a foot wrong, hopefully once he begins to adapt to the play style we adopt he’ll really shine through. Saying that he best adapt soon with the dreaded match against Bristol City on Tuesday evening. I expect he’ll sit deeper though, with Nathan Thompson picking up his tenth yellow card of the season today, meaning he’ll miss both the City and Peterborough United matches.
Town started the game slowly, with MK on the front foot, with Nathan Thompson being robbed in one of his runs out of defence. Fortunately for him Wes Foderingham was there to make the save and keep the score level. Shortly after, Swindon fail to apply any pressure to the MK players, and that sees Daniel Powell threaded through, but Wes made another quick save low to his left following the shot. These two early chances for MK were a sign of what was to come, as throughout the game it seemed too easy for MK to carve Town apart. Wes was called upon one more time just after this, managing to pull off a spectacular save to deny Will Grigg his first of the day after a simple ball over the top.
The second half was no different really, Town did manage to offer a slight threat to the MK goal, with Michael Smith running down the wing practically straight from kick-off and his cross finding Byrne at the far post, but he could only manage to fire his header wide.
Town did have a couple more chances themselves in the second half, with two crosses from the left from Massimo Luongo finding Nathan Byrne. Then shortly after Ben Gladwin’s cross finding Swift, however both chances were wasted; the first blocked by a defender and the second being put over by Swift when he really should have been hitting the target.
Up until the around the 60th minute there was not too many notable highlights, then worst case scenario happens, MK score. The theme of the day was MK having too much space, in and out of the box, and after Wes made a good save to keep out the first shot, the ball planted itself on to the head of Powell who found himself unmarked. His simple header to make it 1-0. Powell himself had looked dangerous all game, but until this point I was starting to believe that Wes was unbeatable, and you can’t blame him at all for the goal.
After the goal Mark Cooper decided it was time to make changes, off came Ricketts and Jon Swift, in come Yaser Kasim and top goal scorer Andy Williams, the later sub was one the Town fans were trying to encourage Cooper to make by singing out Williams name. For the next five or 10 minutes it seemed as though these changes were going to revive the performance, with Williams finding himself in space twice, firing one into the ‘keeper’s gloves and the second fired over.
Then the second goal for MK came about. Dele Alli yet again finding way too much space as he advanced down Towns right side, before finding Grigg in space, and his curled shot beat Wes this time, making it 2-0 to MK. Towns right side seemed especially frail, shown by the goal, and like throughout the game it was too easy for MK to hit us on the break.
Town had one last throw of the dice, bringing on Jon Obika, pushing towns formation from the original 3-6-1 into what was now a 3-4-3, unfortunately the formation change didn’t affect the game as MK continued to look threatening. Dean Lewington managed to get into controversy as he always seems to against Town just after Obika came on, pushing Mark Cooper to the floor and somehow getting away with it. The game was well and truly put to bed when the final goal went in, a simple ball passed across the box, and a dummy managed to dumbfound the Town defence and Grigg was there to tap in the third.
So overall it’s hard to find positives in that performance. The defence was beaten to easily and players such as Daniel Powell and Dele Alli found it way too easy to make space on the ball. Let’s just hope that these problems are ironed out by Tuesday, let’s just hope we get back to form, keep the faith because on our day Town play the best of football, come on Swindon!
Header image from FLICWiltshire