Swindon Town’s excellent current form continued on Saturday with a hard-fought, well-earned victory over table-topping Huddersfield.
The Robins, now unbeaten in five matches, came out on top due to what boss Danny Wilson described as a ‘good team performance’. In fact, during a post-match radio interview, Wilson named almost the entire starting XI when singling out players’ achievements.
From the outset it was clear that the teams were closely matched. Huddersfield, with their abundance of forwards and reputation for goals, started the brightest during a scrappy opening and Jordan Rhodes went close with a left-footed effort saved by David Lucas.
However, a nasty injury sustained by Gary Roberts 15 minutes in seemed to rock the visitors and Swindon began to retain possession, even playing a little on a pitch where space was scarce. In the second half, the home side were able to impose themselves on the game and dominated in all areas of the pitch. This was summed up by Wilson who explained that while the first 45 minutes were ‘nip and tuck’ the second half belonged to Swindon.
Once again, Town’s back four demonstrated how well they are functioning as a unit. Having now conceded only one goal in their last five outings, Swindon’s run of games without defeat seems to owe a lot to this developing relationship.
Indeed, apart from preventing opposing teams scoring, including high-flyers Huddersfield and Carlisle, the defenders have also contributed going forward: Alan Sheehan has scored one and made two assists, including the corner for fellow defender Sean Morrison’s headed winner at the death on Saturday.
Similarly, although he hasn’t registered this term, right back Kevin Amankwaah continues to press forward at every opportunity and came close with a fearsome strike from eight yards out early on and a second half volley deflected for a corner.
The whole team seems to be taking heart from the character and determination shown by the defence. After such a great result it is a shame that the team was only able to climb up to 12th in the table. Yet this only serves to highlight the competitiveness of League One; only two points separate practically half the division, from Bournemouth in third to Bristol Rovers in 13th.
Tonight’s game against Plymouth is now even more important; it is crucial that Swindon can gain another three points to express in the most positive way their belief that they belong at the top.
If strikers Pericard and Dossevi can continue to cultivate their own partnership and match the defenders for quality and endeavour, I have no doubt that five unbeaten games will become six, three wins on the trot will become four and 12 points will become 15.
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.