TOWN FLIER is the weekly fans' blog on all matters at Swindon Town FC
8:24am Wednesday 13th March 2013 in Sport
I HAVE to take issue with both Kevin MacDonald and Uwe Rosler ’s post-match comments after Swindon Town’s utterly frustrating 2-1 defeat to Brentford at Griffin Park on Tuesday.
The respective managers both described Swindon as the best team in the league.
We WERE the best team in the league but that was when we had the services of Matt Ritchie and Danny Hollands.
Undoubtedly, Ritchie was our talisman and thanks to his tireless industry, Hollands our best central midfield player.
Rosler’s generous comments count for nothing, especially as his side has done the double over us this season.
In Macdonald’s three games in charge we have been the better team over 90 minutes against three top-half sides Coventry, Walsall and Brentford.
We got our just deserts against Coventry with two late goals and a resolute comeback, but in the two latest games over four days we have managed to throw away winning positions, both games turning on penalties for the opposition.
Our strikers have never been prolific but our hugely impressive goal difference shows that we still had the ability to destroy teams – even if the irrepressible dominance came for only 15 minutes or so.
We no longer have that ability and it was cruelly apparent on Saturday against Walsall. Though on top for long periods, we never looked as if we were going to put Walsall to the sword and without being able to put clear daylight between ourselves and the Midlanders we were going to be vulnerable.
That was the case even after Simon Ferry had hit what should have been a late winner.
Two players came off the bench and should have had fresh legs. However, neither showed enough desire in trying to prevent the equalising goal.
Joe Devera did not bust a gut to block the fine Hemmings cross that led to the goal and Rafa De Vita’s attempt to track the runner (goal scorer Paterson) was so half hearted as to be worthless.
On to Griffin Park on Tuesday night. It is fair to say that Rosler’s Bees had done a job on us at the County Ground to earn a worthy three points.
In reply, and for the first time this season, I think, Swindon played 4-5-1, mirroring the Brentford (starting) set-up. It worked.
It was not free flowing and ebullient football but it was very effective and with Alan McCormack continuing in midfield as the extra man – and proving our best player again in back-to-back games – we looked to have done enough to win the game for more than an hour.
We got our noses in front through what is no longer a collector’s item – a nicely-taken Simon Ferry goal.
And it should have be 2-0 within a minute but for Gary Roberts spurning a golden chance. Andy Williams might also have scored on the stroke of half-time and Macca had a second-half header ruled out for offside.
We were looking as comfortable as you can be at 1-0. Then we lost possession at our throw-in near the Brentford corner flag, only for Swindon’s deadline day signing Wright-Phillips (that’s another story) to hoist a long ball over the top and seconds later Brentford have a penalty.
From dead and buried, promotion rivals the Bees are now buzzing. They followed up by hitting the bar and within four minutes of the penalty scored a second – game over.
Nathan Thompson’s third yellow card in as many games arguably summed up the players’ frustrations.
With no game until the live televised match at Yeovil on Tuesday – another promotion six-pointer – there is the opportunity to bring in a couple of loanees – if this protracted transfer embargo is ever lifted.
Whether Macdonald can be lucky/clever enough to find players which have a real impact on our run-in remains to be seen.
When Swindon Town got in front earlier in the season, other teams knew that was probably curtains for their chances.
Deep down our rivals now know we have lost the creative quality to hurt them.