AFTER the good performance against Mansfield, the midweek 3-2 defeat at Wycombe was another example of chalk and cheese so far as the Town defence was concerned, writes Peter Mitchell.

There was a shock when Matt Preston was ruled out injured and Olly Lancashire returned at the heart of the defence.

With another large away following behind them, Swindon got off to the perfect start when Marc Richards shot home in the second minute after the Wycombe keeper had parried a header from Matt Taylor. Almost immediately the home side levelled with a shot from Luke O’Nien, after Adebayo Akinfenwa had set him up.

And then, almost unbelievably, after 10 minutes the Town found themselves behind. Craig Mackail-Smith tapped in after Lancashire had lost control of a ball through the middle.

Swindon’s defenders looked unsettled and nervous throughout and their left flank was constantly being torn open. The Town defence, to a man, seemed overawed and intimidated by the sheer physical presence of Akinfenwa. Throughout the game he never lost possession and won every header effortlessly. Swindon fans’ constant jibes about his size were met with good humour on his part.

Keshi Anderson had a great chance to equalise just before the break but with only the goalie to beat he scuffed his shot well wide.

It was pretty much end to end stuff and at half time you knew there were more goals to come.

On the hour mark there was a free-kick which was as good as you will ever see. Matt Taylor drove the ball home from fully 30 yards, as straight as an arrow, into the top corner, and the power as it hit the back of the net was astounding.

The manager’s frustrating ploy of getting all 11 players back into the box whenever there was a corner or free-kick meant that as soon as the ball was cleared it was swept back in. One player left up front would have drawn two Wycombe defenders back.

With the Swindon defence intent on sitting so deep, it seemed only a matter of time before Wycombe would clinch a winner. Clear warning was given 10 minutes from the end when Akinfenwa, sandwiched between two Town defenders, still managed to head home, only for it to be ruled offside. Finally, with two minutes left the striker had the last laugh on the visiting supporters when he headed home after Charles-Cook had failed to cut out a straightforward cross.

Other midweek results mean Swindon have lost some ground, but with three of their next four games at home, they need to get back on track quickly and consolidate their position in the top seven.