Are expectations too high at the County Ground?

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It’s not often your team scores four goals away from home and comes away with nothing. Now I know how Gillingham fans felt after their visits to Bury and Accrington.

Of late, Swindon Town have a habit of starting games sloppily and conceding 11th hour goals. On Saturday at London Road, Peterborough could not believe their luck; two goals up inside five minutes from Craig Mackail-Smith, a man who we have all seen can score goals for fun in this league.

And when Kevin Amankwaah’s injury time deflected own goal gifted Posh victory, Town’s supporters could be forgiven for tearing their hair out.

Not for the first time this season, Swindon battled back to parity in a game they could so easily have been dead and buried in before half time, only to throw it away. A pattern seems to be emerging in some matches whereby the team cannot settle quickly enough and, only after giving their opposition a head start does the trademark passing game develop and the players impose themselves.

At Peterborough, Swindon rallied from 3-0 and 4-3 before Amankwaah’s untimely intervention yet again undid all the Robins’ hard work.

Indeed, Swindon fans have every right to be edgy when the clock winds down on their supposed entertainment.

After witnessing Bradley Wright-Phillips’ 95th-minute winner for Plymouth recently and Bristol Rovers’ 93rd-minute penalty last week, albeit a consolation, it will be satisfying when their team can simply see a game out again.

As Danny Wilson fumed after this latest episode; “it's stupid, elementary school [defending] at the end and we end up putting the ball in our own net - which I suppose compounded the whole thing.”


Not that Swindon were alone in paying poorly at the back; their own second and third goals came as a result of dithering defenders unable to clear their lines. They may be the division’s leading scorers but Gary Johnson’s side have also conceded 22 goals in 12 league matches; only Hartlepool have conceded more goals at home!

Although the manager has lost some experience from last season’s playoff final losing roster, he did manage to resign some of the important loan players. The question must be asked: are expectations too high?

Wilson has admitted that his defence are young, and with youth comes immaturity and, consequently, mistakes. However, prior to the Plymouth games the defence had been solid during wins over the likes of Huddersfield and Southampton.

Furthermore, they have been contributing offensively with goals and assists. Even in a tight league, the errors clearly have to be cut out if Swindon is to get amongst the promotion hopefuls.

Perhaps the return of the talismanic Charlie Austin and a vociferous County Ground crowd will give the whole squad a lift for the visit of improving Leyton Orient this Saturday. To my mind, this topsy-turvy season promises more twists and turns yet.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.

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