Swindon Town 1

Plymouth Argyle 1

After a promising start to the season, but with only one win the last five games, Swindon appear to be in back-pedalling mode, writes Peter Mitchell.

Town’s injury woes continued although there was a welcome return for Mathieu Baudry at the centre of defence. Only the day before they had managed to recruit Dion Donohue from Mansfield and he gave a very impressive debut performance. Apparently, he had been released last week for disciplinary reasons, but the Stags’ loss could be a valuable gain for Swindon, as he fitted in seamlessly at left back. Also, young German keeper Steven Benda was given his first league start and produced an almost faultless display, being able to do very little about Plymouth’s equaliser.

A very healthy crowd of 9,500, enhanced by over 2,000 Pilgrims supporters, witnessed an entertaining and even first half. Swindon just shaded it by scoring the opener in injury time, when Eoin Doyle finished well after a good interplay of passing between Jordan Lyden and Jerry Yates.

Once again Town dropped off the pace after the break and hardly managed to decamp from their own half. Argyle players reemerged very early for the second half and seemed to have a game plan ready and waiting. They came forward non-stop and looked a slick and organised unit – most definitely upwardly mobile, after a slow start to their season.

Swindon fans could sense an equaliser coming 20 minutes before it did, and could also sense that the Town coaching team had little idea as to how to stop it. Michael Doughty came on with half an hour left, but he brought very little to the party.

George Cooper appeared for Argyle with twenty minutes left and this proved to be Town’s undoing. He was involved in a number of mazy tricky runs on the left wing and his pass led to Joel Grant scoring a deserved equaliser with fifteen minutes remaining.

Richie Wellens played up Swindon’s fighting characteristics, but also the lack of fitness of various of those players who he feels didn’t get much of a pre-season, and are now being asked too much of. That might be true of some but shouldn’t be in the cases of Doughty, Anderson and Isgrove, for example.

Once teams come at Swindon, and pin them in their own half, we seem to have very little idea as to how to counter this. It happened yesterday and also against Bradford, Colchester and Newport. Not only don’t we seem to possess a Plan B, but no Plans C, D or E either.

What an enigma midfielder Anthony Grant is. Since his arrival on loan, with Richie Wellens talking about his lack of match sharpness, the 32 year-old he has turned in Man of the Match displays almost every week. He has picked up a number of yellows, but that might be expected of a player who is so committed and pops up all over the pitch. He shows no sign of lacking stamina and looks as though he wants to play all day long. How on earth can a mediocre team like Shrewsbury choose to dispense with his services ?

Swindon still cling to seventh spot but face a toughie next Saturday when they travel to league leaders Crewe.