TOWN FLIER is the weekly fan's blog about all matters relating to Swindon Town FC
THERE WAS one cracking piece of news in an otherwise sorry seven days for Swindon Town – the revelation that Matt Ritchie had extended his contract with the club until the end of the 2013/14 season.
Ritchie was voted the League Two Player of the Season last term – and with good reason.
Ritchie makes Swindon tick; when he plays well, Swindon play well. And we need him more than ever now we have hit a bump in the road.
Some readers were surprised by my pre-Oxford game comments that Paolo Di Canio was facing the first real managerial crisis of his career.
After three defeats in seven days, the hoots of derision have subsided.
And just look at the teams who beat us: Preston, who had not won any of their first three league games; Division Two Oxford and Leyton Orient, who had lost all three of their starts in the league.
But it wasn’t just about the results, it was the alarming way the team and individual performances have dipped.
Impossible though it may seem, Swindon Town have become a poor team overnight. For the reasons, I refer you to last week’s article.
Of course, the defeat at Oxford was particularly unpalatable. The Swindon support had started vocal and raucous and yet, even by half-time, we were deflated by what was happening on the pitch.
It was good to see Wes Foderingham being positive from the outset and he appeared to have put the Preston saga behind him. It was also a nice touch to see him refuse James Constable’s offer of a handshake at one point.
Of the new boys, it was mixed bag. Federico Bessone was impressive, both defending and going forward, where he seemed to have struck up an instant rapport with De Vita. Crucially, he seemed up for the battle.
I liked the look of Giles Coke, too; he was extremely comfortable on the ball and glided past challenges. If there is an end product to those silky skills, we will have a good signing. But he is going to have to play with a ball winner in midfield, so that rules out a long-term partnership with Simon Ferry.
Having seen him play in the bullying Millwall defence against us previously, I can’t believe we saw the best of centre back Darren Ward, whose increasing insistence on hitting the long ball did not endear him to fans.
Adam Rooney, admittedly played out of position to start with, looked disinterested.
As for the winning goal, my take was that it was Aden Flint’s to clear and that Ward caused the confusion.
Flint became the latest player to come in for some public stick from the manager, but dropping our best centre back for the fit-again Troy Archibald-Henville this weekend is not my idea of the way forward.