TOWN FLIER: At least Archibald-Henville showed the right attitude

TOWN FLIER: At least Archibald-Henville showed the right attitude

Nathan Thompson, right, who finished the game with Oldham wearing the captain's armband

Michael Smith being shown a yellow card against Oldham on Saturday

First published in Sport by

TROY ARCHIBALD-HENVILLE showed in his brief cameo for Swindon Town in the 1-0 home defeat to Oldham on Saturday the sort of drive and determination that is sadly lacking in the current squad.

Manager Mark Cooper criticised his team for having 'a lack of desire' and he was right.

But he has constructed a side which boasts few 'characters' and now the going has got deep and tough that shortcoming, allied to the suddenly waning confidence of his normally free-flowing side, is proving critical.

It is no coincidence that two Swindon Town captains of the recent past, Jonathan Douglas and Alan McCormack, who would have run through walls for the cause, are now part of the Brentford team which is topping League One.

When Darren Ward was substituted at half-time the captain's armband ended up with Nathan Thompson. Really?

Admirable though the young right back is, he is not obvious captain material. But, looking round, who had a greater right?

When Troy came on he took a game by the scruff of the neck. He did his job at the back but, more importantly, he did not just offload the ball to our mis-firing ball players, he took it upon himself to galvanise the team by making surging runs forward and a number of excellent passes in an attempt to make things happen.

His first booking came after he won a crunching 50-50 tackle immediately in front of the dug-outs. Perhaps with a little too much adrenalin coursing through his veins, he immediately went into a challenge that was not his to win.

It was not dangerously studs-up, but he went heavily through on the player chest to chest.

In hindsight, it was ill-advised and some referees would have shown him a straight red.

Mindful that he was already on a yellow, he did not make much of an attempted tackle to shut out the cross which resulted in the winning Oldham goal.

His second yellow which caused his early exit just before the end was laughable. It was simply a slightly mistimed tackle with no malice – a foul, yes, but never a booking.

So Archibald-Henville’s comeback – this was his first game for us since November, 2012 – has stalled straight away and he is suspended for tonight’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Area Final first leg against Peterborough, along with Alex Pritchard.

There will be no places, either, for the cup-tied pair Jamie Reckord and Michael Smith.

There can be no greater incentive than a place in aWembley final and you would like to think that the Town will raise themselves.

But finding form and confidence when it has seriously ebbed away is not as easy as hitting a switch and the side are in free fall at the moment.

They may have somehow scrambled a win against Shrewsbury and to a certain extent against Peterborough at home in the league, but in their last eight matches they have been second best, in five of those games to limited opposition in the wrong half of the table.

Saturday’s display, with one hopeful effort on target in 90 minutes, was the worst of the lot.

After the first leg of the Northern final, Chesterfield moved closer to another appearance at Wembley.

Of course, they ended our JPT dreams under the arch in 2012, a day when Paolo di Canio's side seemed to freeze on the big occasion.

It's time for redemption.

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