Thursday, 12 January 2012

Two minutes with… Swindon Town

Tuesday night saw the first leg of the area finals for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy. We took on Swindon in the Southern section, with another 90 minutes at the County Ground to decide who will play at Wembley. To get this far in itself is a massive feat for the club, the furthest we have ever progressed in the tournament; although, reaching Wembley would be a remarkable occasion. In this instalment, I spoke to two Swindon fans, mates, Ollie and Robin.

Barnet 1–1 Swindon Town
(Hughes ’72 – Flint ’44)
Attendance 3,915 (away 1,414)

How did you get to the game?
Ollie: There were four of us who went and got the train over. We left Swindon at 4:41 and got into Paddington around 5:50, to then endure a long, hot and stressful tube journey on the northern line. We arrived into Barnet at about 7.25, the first time we had tasted fresh air since Swindon station!
What did you do pre-match?
Robin: The plan was to find the much talked about chippy that neighbours Underhill, followed by a pint in a local drinking establishment.  However the London Underground had other ideas.  Delays on the Northern line meant we didn’t get off the tube at High Barnet until about 7:25.  Therefore it was straight to the ground from there.
Ollie: Our pre-match routine was spent staring at peoples backs on the Underground and complaining at how hot it was... Sadly nothing to brag about!
 Where did you sit/stand in the ground?
Ollie: The four of us had the pleasure of standing in the side terrace, with our view being restricted by a pillar. Standing just in front of the food kiosk which was good, as could go back and forth when you wanted without worrying.
Robin: We had an excellent view of the two goals scored on the night, both at the South Stand end.
What did you make of the game?
Robin: The first half was an even encounter without too many clear cut chances.  Our goal from centre back Aden Flint was the obvious high point.  In the second half Barnet grew in confidence as the half went on, with Marshall and Deering a threat.  Most Swindon fans (and players!) were glad to hear the full time whistle.  It was predominantly Barnet pressure in the final 10 minutes!
 Ollie: The game was nothing spectacular in itself, scrappy at times and not recalling many chances for either side. Second half out come a very tired Swindon side after their victory against Wigan and the performance showed. Barnet had Marshall causing up problems and deservedly got MOM award. In my opinion, I think we did well to keep it 1-1 as I could see Barnet snatching a late winner. But I think the defence done well to keep it a draw.
Was the scoreline a fair reflection?
Robin: Although drawing 1-1 from a winning position always feels slightly disappointing.  It has to be said, from a Swindon perspective, we are pretty content with a 1-1 draw going into the second leg at the County Ground.  Our cup exploits against Wigan on Saturday really showed in the second half, with many of our players looking very tired.  I still expect a tough game in the second leg though.  Some Swindon fans now think a trip to Wembley is a formality, but on the evidence of last night, Barnet are a much improved side from the one that got beat 4-0 in Wiltshire earlier in the season.
Ollie: Overall, I think 1-1 was a fair reflection on the game. Neither teams creating many chances. Neither teams standing out as winners. Some very sloppy play at times with both teams giving the ball away too often.
Who, in your opinion was man of the match?
Robin: It hard to pick one for Swindon given we created very little in the second half. Simon Ferry, our central midfielder and playmaker, was probably our best player if I had to pick one.  For Barnet I would go for our former player Mark Marshall.  A much improved player since his spell at Swindon.  His pace caused us problems in the second half, particularly against some tired legs.
 Ollie: For Swindon, my MOM is Simon Ferry. Controlled the midfield well and picked up any loose balls. Opened up the game a bit more and used the space to exploit the channels at times.  Ferry has been one of our stand-out players this season and will continue to improve
Who do you play next and how do you think you'll get on?
We have Rotherham away at the Don Valley on Saturday.
Robin:  Another tricky away game.  Hopefully the players are sufficiently rested come the weekend, added to the fact I expect Di Canio to bring back Paul Benson and Alan Connell to the starting 11, I will travel to South Yorkshire fairly hopeful of getting a positive result
Ollie: We are missing McCormack who picked up his tenth yellow card of the campaign. Alan has been fantastic in defence alongside Flint. Originally a centre midfielder, Alan has adapted extremely well since being tried at CB and gets forward a lot causing problems amongst the opposition. I am predicting a Rotherham 2-1 win unfortunately.

Thanks lads

You can follow Ollie @olliehowitt and Robin @RW_Sharpe and check out their blog: ‘My Swindon Town Review’. You can also find my entry pre-Tuesday night’s game here.

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