Cheltenham Town 2 v Swindon Town 2

Apart from the disappointing and unlucky defeat midweek, Swindon have produced some impressive performances in their first five league games, and yet they sit no higher than tenth in the table. True it’s early days, but this could be an indicator that it will be a tight league this season, writes Peter Mitchell.

Town recalled fit again Keshi Anderson, and his first half performance showed what a difference he could have made against Northampton. Also, with Zeki Fryers injured, Swindon gave a first league start to Tyler Reid at full back.

With 1, 400 fans behind them – a third of the crowd - it must have seemed almost a home game to the Town players.

Swindon began the game at pace and were looking dangerous whenever they went forward. It was no real surprise when they took an early lead with a typical striker’s finish by Eoin Doyle, from Lloyd Isgrove’s cross. The hosts hit back shortly afterwards when a cross left Swindon wide open on their right side, and Chris Hussey fired home.

Down the other end Town deservedly regained the lead with a goal very similar to the opener. From Isgrove’s cross, Doyle smacked the ball high into the net from close in.

Just when you thought Town might be heading for their first win at Cheltenham, the topsy-turvy half continued. Swindon’s right side was torn apart just before the interval and Luke Varney headed in at the near post.

Second half Cheltenham came into it much more, but still gave the Swindon defence very few problems. After Mathieu Baudry’s header was ruled out, apparently for offside, keeper Scott Flinders immediately pumped the ball downfield and almost caught Town out. Luke McCormick was off his line and had to scramble back fast to push the ball out for a corner.

It was no surprise to me to see Reid replaced with 20 minutes left. He won’t be physically outmuscled but his man marking seemed far too loose.

On 70 minutes Michael Doughty lost the ball and, frustrated, made a rash challenge on Chris Clements. His straight red card was not disputed by his colleagues and Town are now penalised by having their play-maker missing for two games.

Richie Wellens said afterwards, a win next Saturday against Morecambe and Swindon really will be up and running and making people take notice. With such a tight table they could even find themselves in the top three again.

With Jerry Yates available again, it has to be Doyle and himself spearheading the attack.