Bradford 2 Swindon Town 1

THIS was a display and result that showed how much hard work there is still to be done to get a degree of – winning - consistency into Swindon’s game, writes Peter Mitchell.

Regrettably Town’s performances and game plan has been totally upset by the spate of injuries to their central defenders and that has to be recognised.

It was a disappointing toothless performance against an unexciting but workmanlike Bradford side, who totally dominated the first half. On the basis of Swindon’s second half performance, when they brought on Michael Doughty instead of Keshi Anderson, they might have just deserved a point – but nothing more. Anderson and Lloyd Isgrove were ineffective and unable to help counter the continuous onslaught from the Bantams, for whom Zeli Ismail was a constant threat.

Sadly, this defeat marked the end of an excellent unbeaten away run for the Town.

All the goals came in a 15-minute period late in the game and both Bradford goals really resulted from bad decision making on Swindon’s part. Firstly, a poorly executed throw in from Rob Hunt created an opening for the hosts. Shay McCartan’s shot was parried by Luke McCormick but Hope Akpan was in the right place to head back over the keeper into the net. With five minutes left Isgrove should have cleared from the edge of his area but instead decided to dribble out, lost the ball and McCartan’s subsequent shot went in off a post.

A tremendously well taken equalising goal by Jerry Yates turned out to academic in the end. With his back to goal he received a good ball from Kaiyne Woolery, who looked far more effective on the right in the second period, and then turned to slam the ball into the corner of the net. He almost added a second five minutes later, when Woolery again found him, this time inside the six-yard box, but despite getting in a downward header it somehow contrived to bounce up and over the bar.

Unfortunately, this week, we can’t lay any of the blame for Swindon’s defeat at the hands of the officials – they were quite competent throughout.

Swindon fielded new free-agent signing Gabriel Zakuani at the centre of defence. Despite only being with them for a couple of days he looked strong and fitted in well. It is perplexing that the manager again included, as last week, two central defenders on the bench, who he seems to have little intention of playing. If he feels Tom Broadbent has lost confidence, and Taylor Curran is too inexperienced, why on earth include them in the match squad?

Swindon have slipped to seventh and now face two more tough games.

Home to Plymouth next Saturday, whose away support rivals that of the Robins, and then away to fourth place Crewe.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the sad passing of Peter Downsborough. It is very difficult to try to compare players from different eras, but Peter was a superb keeper who I was fortunate to see play many times. There is little doubt that for the best single performance ever by a Swindon keeper, his display in 1969 against Arsenal, has no close contenders.