Meanwhile its another midweek game and the start of a crazy programme of 7 games in 25 days. Tonights opposition manager at the County Ground is, of course, Danny Wilson. For a 50 year old he's managed quite a few clubs starting with Barnsley and Wednesday and both of them in the Premier. He it was that in 1997 got Barnsley promoted to top flight football for the first time in 110 years but, sadly, they lasted only one season and they missed out on safety by just 5 points with the perennial Palarse finishing bottom as always. After Barnsley he spent 2 years at Wednesday but when it all finished sadly, it was famously said of him: "Lovely fellow, but he couldn't do it."
Moving on to Swindon and in complete contrast to our last opponents Wednesday but strikingly similar to Carlisle and Barnsley, Swindon are another team that has spent just one season, 1993/94, in top flight football and it all finished exactly the same as Carlisle, for unfortunately Palarse were not around that year so they finished bottom with 30 points and 100 goals conceded and 13 points away from safety.
15th best home record with 3 wins, 2 draws and 2 defeats against seasiders Brighton and Plymouth. Quite the reverse to last opponents Wednesday, Swindon had a bad start to the season with no wins in their first 5 games which contrived to carry them down to 2nd from bottom. Wilson proceeded to give them a kick them up the kursi and they brilliantly revived with three straight wins over Southampton, Walsall and Huddersfield which, of course, is something the Addicks have not yet achieved this season. However, Swindons miracle cure has proved to be a bit of a flash in the pan because they are slipping once again with only 1 win, and 3 defeats, in the 6 games since then and have the worst defence in Tier Three over the last 8 games with 17 goals conceded, 16 of them coming in their last 6 games.
So while we finished last season practically level pegging with the Robins, at the moment, despite Parky having to rebuild his team, there's a bit of a stark contrast because while only a single point ( OK, plus goal difference) keep the Addicks from the automatic promotion spot, the Robins are but a single point off the relegation zone, down there in 16th place in the table, five points off the Addicks.
A wandering career has then taken him to Portsmouth and Stoke both in the Premier before finally sinking into Tier Three after spells at Sheffield United, Plymouth and the spanners. He wears number nine but after injury was only on the bench at the weekend.
One man that will need stopping at the County Ground will be the former brickie, twenty one year old Charlie Austin, who is still knocking 'em in for the Robins and now has seven to his name this season. He scored the first goal at the County Ground in May but the man who scored the other two Swindon goals in the tie, 18 year old Danny Ward has been signed by Bolton and has now been sent to Coventry.
Charlton Legend Peter Shirtliff is assistent manager at Swindon for just over a year. He only played for us for three years and 124 appearances before heading back to Sheffield but his nine goals included those two precious ones that he scored in the last 7 minutes at St. Andrews on 29th May 1987 against Leeds that kept the Addicks in the top flight.
Whats Their Secret?
Although the Robins have the same minus one goal difference as the Addicks they have scored 4 more and are the 5th highest scorers in Tier Three scoring eleven in their last 4 games. And although lying down in 16th, they can raise themselves in the big games and 3 out of their 4 wins (Huddersfield, Southampton and Bristol Rovers) have come against teams in the top half.
Despite what you may think about the Addicks fraility in giving leads away, its the Robins who remain one of only five teams down here who have lost more than once after scoring first. The Addicks, in contrast, despite several close calls and ignoring League Cup results, remain one of 12 still unbeaten after scoring first.
And there's a bit of a contrast in the social behaviour of the two teams. Whilst the Addicks continue to lead the field in fouls committed, currently one shy of the 200 mark, our opponents from Wiltshire have less than half our yellows with only an amazing 12 in 14 games.
Swindon should be one of those rare teams that we really shouldn't have to worry about. After 89 years, overall its 26-13 to the Addicks. Home and away in the last 24 League games, since we last graced this Division in 1980/81 the Addicks have won 13, the Robins 5 and the remaining 6 have been draws. In the 12 games at their place in those 30 years the Addicks have won no less than 7 with only 2 defeats and 3 draws. However, one of those painful defeats was at the County Ground in our last visit back in May when we had high hopes of departing these troubled waters.
And talking about forecasts, I did rather shoot us in the foot last May by pointing out that "Swindon are one of only 4 teams ( in the august company of the likes of the Gills, Tranmere and Oldham) in this neck of the woods that have not won a game after going behind". Well, although I believe Mr Mourinho may disagree, I would say that even though they lost 1-2 at the Valley they definitely came from behind to secure a Wembley spot on that dismal night back 5 months ago.
Its all a question of 3's as the Addicks expect to line-up with an unchanged team for the third consecutive game with Lee Martin not in contention because of his 5 yellows. But Swindon fans will see a completely different team to the one that they beat 2-1 last May with only three players - Dailly, Semedo and Racon - remaining from the starting line-up that night when two Swindon goals in 8 minutes sealed a defeat even though Deon Burton pulled one back with his first goal for three months.
And continuing the number three theme - when was the last time we won three in a row? Last December in fact, when Bristol Rovers 4-2, Brighton 2-0 and Southend 1-0 were all beaten and we then made it 4 in a row by beating Stockport County 2-1. Can we made it three this time?
I was thinking a touch of revenge after last seasons disappointments might be in order but with only a total of 4 players involved last May (Wagstaff came on in the 79th minute while Elliott and Llera sat out the game on the bench) its maybe a little unlikely that that game will have any impact and Parky doesn't seem the kind of guy to hold a grudge.
Fact time - Our favorite scoreline, double that of any other, is the Arse's favorite, 1-0, but only Brighton have scored first more times than we have. Wagstaff is now leading scorer with 6 and dreaming of another strange celebration on scoring Charlton 5000th goal tonight, and currently leaving Benson trailing still on 5 whilst the Doc is the player with most minutes under his belt, to the surprise of many.
But the key player tonight could well be Therry Racon. Starting his 10th game in a row, after effectively changing places with Alan McCormack at half-time against Notts County, we've won 4 of those last 9 games and his performance next to Jose Semedo last Saturday won him MOM according to blackheathaddicted. Maybe driven on by seeing his ex-team moving away at the top of the table although one scribe attributes it to the added motivation of becoming a father but whatever the reason we need more of the same from T, tonight.
Elliott; Francis, Dailly, Doherty, Fry; Wagstaff, Semedo, Racon, Jackson; Benson, Anyinsah
There's been nineteen goals scored in Swindon's last 3 games, (a 4-5 defeat to the Posh, 2-2 at home to Orient and a 3-3 draw at Yeovil) so we should perhaps expect a few goals and I'm going for another 2-2 draw.