Match report: Swindon 0-1 Bolton Wanderers
Richard Maddicks reports on a fourth successive League One defeat as hosts…
Famously, Ossie Ardiles once said in his pre-match interview shortly after taking up the poison chalice at SN1: “Uuuuuuuh, Swindon Bolton, uhhhhhhhh, local derby”. In his defence, most games in England probably felt local to the much travelled South American. Well Ossie, the league 1 class of 2016 served up a donkey derby to an increasingly disillusioned, hopeless and diminishing viewing public. Oh yes, how this cried out for the flying wing-backs, Colin Eezergood’s discipline, Micky Hazard’s wizardry and Chalky White’s finishing.
The first half was resolute if lacking in sparkle. Town seemed to warm to the task of repelling predictably physical Lancashire fare whilst the near perfect conditions seemed to favour the passing and movement of the hosts. However, clearcut chances proved few and far between with Ormonde-Ottewill invariably choosing to come inside rather than endevouring to cross for Delfouneso or Norris. Meanwhile, Vigouroux’s often haphazard distribution was compensated for by his positional sense, telescopic limbs and shot stopping abilities. Any lack of penetration or great attacking quality meant that long range efforts from Murray and Goddard were seized upon as portents of better things to come.
Sadly, Town meandered and lost their way as the second half progressed. Whilst Thomas’s hip injury cast another shadow over the afternoon, his replacement Brophy offered a different point of attack, a more direct approach and committed defenders on more than one occasion. Town seemed briefly buoyed, purposeful and invigorated. However, this positivity quickly gave way as Bolton’s organisation, physical superiority and dominance began to tell. Whilst strangely inevitable, the build up for the winning goal, like the game as a whole, seemed destined to fall flat on it’s face until Ormonde-Ottewill’s fatal intervention.
There are no rabbits in the hat at the moment. No inspired substitutions or quick fixes. In fact, our wafer thin squad looks increasingly bare as the winter months loom. Maybe, like Luke Williams’ head, Lee Power can find a warm, wooly hat for it once the temperatures finally receded.
Yet, there were two late fireworks hidden in the dying embers of this encounter. Firstly, notwithstanding a scything tackle, Thompson’s heroic, surging run from deep seemed destined for glory; or his momentum may have simply carried him up Drove Road to Old Town for a deserved all day breakfast at Mckenzies. We’ll never know. Secondly, Branco showed the County Ground that he was merely warming his arm up on Aden Flint by throwing the mother of all elbows at his donkey derby protagonist. (Watch it back on the highlights Phil Parkinson. If you’re going to coach a team to throw their elbows around then at least ensure they do it with some purpose and precision). Apparently, someone in the Don Rogers stand caught some of the teeth. Whilst we all felt Branco’s frustration at another defeat, our wafer thin squad just got thinner for the rest of October.
The fact that the Town End’s disconsolate chants at the whistle were directed solely at Lee Power seemed to speak volumes. Focussing our ire at the rookie coaching staff or the rookie players wont help dig us out of this particular hole. They need all the help they can get.