Where there’s a will
Former BBC Wiltshire commentator Vic Morgan writes his latest blog for TheWashbag.com…
The last away trip of the season is done and dusted. Nothing to see here, just a nondescript game between two sides who’ll be League One next term.
Okay, Rochdale had an outside chance of the play offs, but in reality it was a case of get this over and see you again next year.
An obligatory trip to the chippy outside the ground brought the usual excellent lunch. Cheese and Onion pies vary from place to place but on this occasion they lived up to the billing even if the beginning of a hale storm threatened to add to the meal in an icy way.
Twenty two pounds handed over at the turnstile, yes a pay on the day game, a throwback to the old days no ticket required. That means no proof of attendance when it comes to the “Thanks for going, here’s a free something for going from the club bargain bin.” Oh wait, just kidding I’d go anyway.
We settled in seats and waited for the game to unfold on a bumpy pitch. Usual kind of end of season fare expected. Well that went out of the window as soon as Jon Obika scored within ninety seconds. Great finish after a decent move and hey, where was this form a few weeks ago?
There was something else notable about this game. A young debutant goalkeeper for Swindon named Will Henry was between the sticks. Surely the Rochdale forward line were licking their lips. Maybe not after seeing the way he was barking orders to his back line within moments of the kick off.
We didn’t have to wait long before seeing his potential. A sloppy challenge led to a ‘Dale penalty. Surely an equaliser? Absolutely not! Diving to his left, Will got a hand to the ball and saved. Scenes not seen since Cameron Belford saved from the spot a year ago and Petr Brezovan at Hartlepool. Great save, great moment.
That wasn’t all. Young Will defied the home side throughout that first half and Swindon grabbed a second through a rare Nathan Thompson goal.
A two nil lead at the break? Not quite, the home side pulled one back and it meant a slightly different complexion. Enough entertainment for the day? Not a bit of it. Some comedy refereeing, two dismissals and a pantomime villain appearance by Grant Holt, led to ire among the Town fans.
No excuse though to some hanging on to the ball in injury time. Rochdale had equalised and we were in six minutes of stoppages when some felt it was useful to keep the ball in the crowd. Well not really because the referee would add more time on you see. I’m not being patronising. I, and most other Town fans, were bleep bleep annoyed.
Anyway a draw was a decent result after the dismissals of Louis Thompson and Brandon Ormonde-Otterwill, surely want to forget the end of the season after the gas-gate incident as well. A heroes reception for Will Henry, much deserved and rather emotional if I’m honest, and then it was back on the bus for the long journey home.
Arrival back in Devon at half ten and reflections on a not so nondescript end of season game.
Next up Shrewsbury next Sunday.
The end of a long and disappointing campaign. It’ll be time to say goodbye for the summer and the chance for a break to recharge the batteries.
Keep it loud keep it proud keep it SWINDON!