Some deep thinking at Deepdale
Vic Morgan travelled to Preston, the scene of a Swindon Town reserve team against the division’s second best team…
There was much scratching of heads and muttering when we found out the Swindon Town team on Saturday afternoon. Seven changes including several players with hardly any League experience against a more than capable and physical Preston team.
I was a bit put out, having left Devon about half-six in the morning, to find out we’d be watching basically a Town second string with little chance of victory. I get the resting of players before big games and understand the theory. However we’re not Arsenal or Chelsea so change on such a scale means the likelihood of defeat is increased.
After the initial chuntering we decided we wanted to be there anyway so we might as well enjoy whatever happened. For players like Tyrell Belford, Will Randall and Lee Marshall, it was a chance to impress. Jermaine Hylton got a start and we were later to see two League debuts from the bench.
Jokingly we wondered how long it would be before the first goal. Well one minute and forty seven seconds was the answer. Joe Garner beat the offside flag to convert from a Paul Gallagher pass and it seemed it was to be a torrid afternoon.
Slowly though Swindon began to take control with Marshall, George Barker and Randall looking rather assured in their passing. The Town were making a game of it without really threatening the home goal. Still it was good to see the young guard making their presence felt. Garner and Jermaine Beckford showed they know a thing or two about winning free kicks, although Beckford doesn’t seem to know about encroaching into the opposition’s penalty area when they have a goal kick. Fair play to the referee for being on the ball.
Unlike many others this season over this particular part of the game. It seemed Swindon would go into the break trailing by the only goal. Sadly that wasn’t to be. Garner, who’d won another free kick by falling to the ground, was able to head home from Gallagher’s cross. Sloppy marking very much the order of the day here as Garner was given the freedom of the Town box.
Two goals down at half time was harsh I thought. The lead was three shortly after the break when again the unmarked Garner completed his hat-trick when heading home after Beckford had seen his effort rebound off the bar.
From then on there was little of note. Preston seemed content with their days work and it just remained for Tom Smith and Josh Cooke to make their league bows.
Whether the resting of players works when we get to the play offs works we’ll find out in the fullness of time. To be honest our recent record at Deepdale is pretty poor anyway so maybe the first team may have not faired any better. At least the game was notable for some young guns getting a go. Let’s hope they go on to get more chances in the future and then maybe the loan market won’t be so important.
Swindon Town(3-5-2) Belford T; Ricketts, Stephens, Turnball; Barthram, Rodgers, Marshall, Barker, Randall; Smith M, Hylton.
Subs: Williams for Barker 66 mins, T. Smith for Rodgers 70 mins, Cooke for Smith M 83 mins.
Not Used; C.Belford, Jones, Antonio, Wood.