TOWN FLIER is the weekly fan's blog about all matters relating to Swindon Town FC
PAOLO DI CANIO insisted before the match that beating Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup would be ‘better than sex with Madonna’.
He probably has to lower his expectations to a consolation peck on the cheek from the Material Girl after seeing his side go out to the Premiership side’s 90th-minute winner.
The never-less-than-gripping cup tie was a tale of two strikers who each scored a brace of goals – Villa’s £7m signing Christian Benteke, from the emerging world superpower of Belgium, and Miles Storey, who has spent years in the Swindon Town youth system.
It’s been an interesting four days for 18-year-old Storey.
On his first start for the Town at Stevenage on Saturday, he scored a header of which Andy Carroll would have been proud – only to claim afterwards that he is not very good in the air.
And then, just when it appeared Villa had taken the sting out of any potential Swindon Town comeback on Tuesday, he came off the bench and scored two goals in three minutes to almost turn the match on its head.
On Saturday, we saw the pace for which he is already renowned; on Tuesday night, in front of a packed house of 14,434, we saw a young lad who truly knows where the goal is.
That back flick for the second goal is the type of finish that only the cream of the Premiership would try to get away with. And he is not 19 until January.
Di Canio moved swiftly to deflate any hype surrounding the lad, saying how sparingly he would be used in the near future – but perhaps a star is born.
As the departure of Paul Caddis opened the door for Nathan Thompson, so injuries have thrust Storey into the limelight before the boss thinks he is truly ready.
But the utter demolition of Stevenage and the classy display against Villa showed that perhaps we are not relegation fodder after all!
Paul Lambert’s team may be struggling towards the bottom of the top flight – and in truth that is probably where they belong – but to hit back from 2-0 down against any Premiership side takes a huge amount of character. Villa arguably played the slicker football and their finishing was clinical, but in no way did Town deserve to be two goals behind at the break. And they were the better side for large swathes of the second period.
And yet, Town were not at their best. There were a number of Town players who did not have great games and I’m not sure any of them deserved 8/10.
I would have given my MoM vote to Simon Ferry; okay he was brushed aside a time or two in midfield skirmishes but his energy levels were prodigious, continually trying to fire the comeback.
And how good was it to see Andy Williams back in a Town shirt? He did not pull up any trees on his return and he readily admits he is short of match sharpness after spending ten days at ‘Italy’s Lilleshall’ working on his rehab. But even so he could have been a hero and won it after his late mazy run deep into the box.
More positive news was the appearance of Thompson on the bench after his recent injury. At the start of the season, who would have thought we would be describing young Nathan as a key cog in the team – but that is what his displays have warranted.
I am positive Villa would not have enjoyed the success down the left channel they had in the first half had a fully fit Thompson been on the pitch.
Then, after an heroic comeback, at 89min 55sec Benteke found himself with too much time in the box and a jaded Town defence were seemingly unable to throw their bodies in the path of his goalbound shot.
But what a ride they had given us. Villa go into the hat for the next round, while Swindon emerged defeated but with their reputation enhanced.
Now let’s hope for a positive outcome from this week’s powwow between Di Canio, chief investor Andrew Black and new chairman Sir William Patey, no slip-ups in the FA Cup against Macclesfield and then we can look forward to another humdinger against Danny Wilson’s Sheffield Utd on Tuesday.