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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Swindon Town Preview

I'm not very happy at moment and judging from his pictures, neither is Parky. Despite four changes in defence, midfield and attack, he still cannot change the predictable state of affairs. We concede the first goal and then have to raise our game to take the game to the opposition. Its now been nine games since a clean sheet (Southend, December 5th) and six times now in the last 8 we have conceded the first goal and 5 times ( all bar Orient) we have had to come back to get a draw.

And we're now the team with the most drawn games, 11, in Tier Three. Its unusual to see the highest drawing team so high up in the table, ( in the other three divisions they're 15th, 21st and 12th ) and Parky must be feeling frustrated at our inability to turn these draws into wins.

And he also needs to fix his half-time talk because we're still useless in games where we've been drawing at half-time. Ten games, one win and not something to plan at the weekend because the three best teams when they've been drawing at the interval are Leeds, Norwich and ....Swindon.

Manager at Swindon is Danny Wilson who joined in 2008 after spells at various clubs but is most famous for his first managerial job which was at Barnsley whom he lead into the top flight for the first, and sadly only time, in their history in 1997.

Clearly something strange happened around October 31st at Swindon because since then, after just 4 wins in 14, they've had 9 wins in 12 games and if it wasn't for the 94 minute equaliser at the Valley and Southend's 89th minute equaliser last weekend it would be 11 wins in 12. And those two late goals have really cost them, as, with three games in hand, they would be just 3 points behind us. As it is they are currently 8 points behind but with a far worst goal difference.

And the thing that changed everything was due to the 4-1 win by the reserves against Reading on October 30th with Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin getting two goals each. And as Wilson said after the game, "We are still trying to get the combinations and the personnel right but its given us food for thought for Saturday because we're not hitting the back of the net. "

Well, they certainly are now with 26 goals in the last 12 games with nine wins and only one defeat, away to Bristol Rovers, in that run.

Dangerman by a mile since that October date is top scorer and Liverpudlian 25 year old Billy Paynter, number 20 and now on 17 goals but just to provide us with additional problems he's got himself a new number two after that reserve game.
Whilst we have two underperforming non-league strikers in Dickson and Fleetwood, Swindon seem to have picked up a peach from Poole Town. His name's Charlie Austin he's 20 and he's got 10 goals in 14 games since he joined in October including the first for Swindon on Boxing Day.

Whats Their Secret?
Not a secret more of a liability really but, as was amply demonstrated by Southend just last weekend, Swindon lack a bit of staying power. At Roots Hall they lead 2-0 with 2 goals in the first 10 minutes but once again at the death they conceded 2 goals in the last 5 minutes. Shades of the Valley then. And in fact while conceding no more than 3 goals in only other 5 minute spell, they have let in 4 in the 80-85 minutes and a massive 8 in the last five minutes of games.

And they are one of only 5 teams ( in the august company of the likes of Hartlepool, the Gills, Tranmere and Oldham) in this neck of the woods that have not won a game after going behind. Unlike the Addicks, of course, who now have only Huddersfield and Wycombe above us in the table showing points clawed back after letting in stupid goals. And its now eleven draws for the Addicks, more than anybody else, and 7 of those have been after going behind.
Rather more worryingly, apart from Leeds and Norwich, the next best team in games against the top half of the table is...Swindon.

We haven't got a bad record down at the County Ground with 6 wins and 10 draws in the 24 League games and with 2 League cups wins there as well its level pegging with 8 wins each. And of the last 10 games there since the 80's we've won no less than seven and lost only once...

The Team
Parky definitely threw all the predicted eleven's out of the window on Tuesday and surprised us all by bringing in Solly, Racon, Wagstaff and Akpo Sodje.
Chris Solly was handed his first start in the League while Racon, without a single minute in the last 8 games, was brought in to replace Semedo. Wagstaff, another surprise starter, started his first game since Millwall, while more predictably Mooney was relegated to the bench with Akpo's physical present given the nod over Leon McKenzie.

But, disappointingly for Parky, the changes failed to rattle Walsall, a team that had previously lost to Leeds, Norwich and Southampton at home although they had drawn 1-1 with Swindon but before Swindon hit their recent rich vein of form.

But, and we're not making excuses, the pitch was terrible, according to Deon, and the performance was better than of late so what can we expect against Swindon?

Elliot; Richardson, Dailly, S. Sodje, Solly; Wagstaff, Bailey, Semedo, Reid; Burton, A. Sodje.


We have a very good record at the County Ground but with three games without a win I can't see one coming in this game. But then, despite all the hype, Swindon weren't very impressive on Boxing Day against 9 for nearly an hour so .....

The key will be keeping those two strikers quiet and as I can't forecast a defeat so it'll have to be a draw, 1-1.

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