TOWN FLIER is the fan's blog about all matters at Swindon Town's County Ground
JUST when you thought it was safe to think about the play-offs for Swindon Town’s vibrant young side along came Walsall.
I watched the demolition of Notts County at the County Ground on Friday night, where the visitors led a charmed life to get away with only a 2-0 defeat, but missed the Tuesday night debacle against the Saddlers. Perhaps, it was just as well.
The crowd was exactly the same (8,188) but there the similarity ends. The bane of a young side is inconsistency and it sounds like we went from exhibition to X-rated football over the space of five days.
My reading of various official and unofficial outlets is that Wes Foderingham saved us from a bigger drubbing than the eventual 3-1. Nile Ranger was singled out for praise by Mark Cooper’s No.2 Luke Williams, but too many of the others failed to bring their A game.
Friday had been so different. County, on the back of a good string of results, including a defeat of Wolves, came to take us on at our own game – playing possession football. And for the first 20 minutes they saw more of the ball – a surprise on our own patch.
Ranger put them on the back foot with a classic striker’s header from a corner and Dany N’Guessan buried a penalty with purpose. But the visitors will wonder how they were 2-0 down at the break.
They had decent players like McGregor and Labadie, but there were signs – a bit of dissent in the camp and a lot of arm waving – that suggested they might not have the backbone for a fight back, and so it proved. After the break, it was one-way traffic.
Town pummelled County and only the woodwork, some outrageous ill fortune, and a goalkeeper (Bartosz Bialkowski) having ‘a worldie’, prevented Town getting into a position where the ref could have stopped the contest.
Seventeen games in, it is time for some reflection on our start to the season.
I admit that I didn’t like the cut of (owner) Jed’s jib and I thought the team building by himself and Lee Power was a recipe for relegation. I’m happy to say I was wrong.
The Walsall result underlines the fact that it is still a work in progress, but we do play some extraordinary and exciting football for this level.
Ranger is apparently being kept on the straight and narrow and has been a breath of fresh air; the mouthy Pritchard has been a delight, apart from to referees; Luongo is every bit as good a prospect as he looked in his loan spell.
And then there is Yaser Kasim. The midfielder seems to play in a parallel universe where even when under pressure he has all the time in the world; the drop of a shoulder here, the shimmy there, an almost 100 per cent completion of passes and a devastating shot. What’s not to like?
And then there is Mark Cooper, definitely the man for the manager’s job.
And we still have Ryan Mason, Ryan Harley and perhaps the most exciting of the lot, Tijane Reis to return to full fitness. #reasonstobecheerful.