By Peter Mitchell

Swindon Town rounded off their spell of Christmas and new year matches on Tuesday with a very sluggish and disappointing performance against contenders Exeter City. Frankly I couldn’t take a single positive from this display and it was interesting that the manager basically shared my view, other than to add that he thought Keshi Anderson was the one player to come out with a degree of credit.

After a promising result and showing against Mansfield last Saturday, we were expecting a lot more than this.

Town did put together a few good moves in the first half, and tried to play an up tempo game, but the telling truth was that they still only managed one shot on target in the entire match.

Lawrence Vigouroux, in goal, had a rather hesitant game throughout and started the problem that needlessly led to Exeter’s penalty opener. He tried the short passing out from the back routine once too often, and Sid Nelson compounded the problem by being forced to trip Matt Jay as he gained possession and entered the area.

In the second half Exeter effectively put the game to bed with 20 minutes left, when Archie Collins scored spectacularly from 25 yards out, when the Town defence should have closed him down.

Centre half Nelson’s loan period from Millwall has now ended and, as he limped off injured, it was a sad end to his impressive stint in Town colours. Hopefully he will return.

I believe Town badly need a proven striker or two for the second half of the season but there are other underlying problems, that wouldn’t automatically be solved even if Roy Race arrived up front !

They have a plethora of midfielders, but few who can put in consistent creative displays. Michael Doughty can take penalties but he’s not put in any four or five star performances of late. He drifts in and out far too easily. Toumani Diagouraga should be fit again soon, and that should help Town to dictate midfield more, but again he’s not really a creator. Manager Richie Wellens has identified the need for pace players who can get the ball across into the area, but only Jermaine McGlashan seems to fit the bill, and his displays are very erratic. Young full back Kyle Knoyle could be converted to this role, but I doubt that will happen. This is a squad that Wellens has had no say in, and he will need 4-5 new arrivals of his own choice this month before we can really start to judge his pedigree. He also needs to ship out a few, to help balance the books, so there could be quite a few changes in personnel over the next few weeks.

Town are still 14th , but picking up just 3 out of 12 available points over the Christmas period means they are now 9 points away from that vital seventh place. Sure, a run of 4 wins on the bounce could put them right back in it, but that looks a long way off at the moment.

Interesting that, after the match, Wellens remarked that “some players at the club think they are better than what they are – and they are not ….” – I can think of a couple of likely candidates immediately.

“So inconsistent….so inconsistent…” he says – welcome to the world of Swindon Town FC, Mr Wellens !

Next Saturday they face a difficult trip to next-to-bottom club Macclesfield, who have new manager Sol Campbell trying to prove his worth.