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Question of the WeekShould Stefan Payne be allowed to play again?
Dawn on the Horizon
By: Andrew Doherty
Date: 21/04/2018 (Last updated: 29/04/2018)
AFTER a long, hard struggle, there are signs that Town can get out of the mess that we find ourselves in. It was perhaps too much to ask Mr Jolley to work wonders, but at least we've been competing in home games, where before defeat was a foregone conclusion. The run-in is not easy but there is potentially dawn on the horizon.
Swindon, our opponents today, have not been having the best of runs but they are still in the hunt for a play-off place. This was the scenario at Coventry where we capitulated. This must not happen again.
By now, Mr Jolley will have worked out the Town players' strengths and weaknesses, and has had time to work with them, so we trust in him to get the right formula and attitude. Today's line-up: McKeown - Hall-Johnson, Clarke, Collins, Fox - Rose - Clifton, Summerfield, Woolford - Hooper - Cardwell.
Backed by a vociferous Town support in the crowd of 6,690, the game started. Town in blue showed the greater application in the early stages, and following a long throw from Rose, Clifton hooked a shot wide. A Fox pass won a corner as Town pressed. A good low cross from Hall-Johnson on 11 minutes ran agonisingly across the goal mouth. The game then slowed down as Swindon started to play possession football, but the pace was too slow to have any impact. On 17 minutes, Linganzi was given too much space but his shot was blocked. Then the same player ballooned the ball over the bar. Swindon worked their way up field slowly. Town's early momentum was killed. This was real 4th division fare. Summerfield then intercepted the ball after an error by Knoyle but Town tried to pass their way through the defence and just didn't have the control. Cardwell then could have stretched to meet a cross but didn't. Town won a corner on 26 minutes. Summerfield passed the ball in a training ground style move to Woolford whose shot probably finished in Swindon town centre. Town then went through a tricky spell. Rose waited for the ball to bounce inside Town's penalty area. Anderson had a shot, which McKeown palmed away. Swindon crossed from the left. The ball evaded Rose and Collins and fell to Mullin who headed home. McKeown protested and the referee disallowed the goal on the basis that a Swindon player handled it on the way through to Mullin. This was a big let off. Woolford then had a better volley than before but was still wide with his shot. Rose was then unable to collect a midfield ball, and Swindon attacked again. The ball landed at Richards's feet but the Swindon player fired his shot onto the top of the crossbar with only McKeown to beat. Swindon looked pedestrian however and only threatened in patches. Hall-Johnson was booked on 39 minutes for hacking down Anderson. This was not a dirty game but there were a lot of free-kicks as both sides sought to dominate the game without doing so. Swindon's manager then provided a lighter moment with the best of the game from the technical area. As added time was announced before half time, Clifton put in a cross, which was cleared. An innocuous through pass was played to Cardwell who was tripped in the box by McGivern. The referee awarded a penalty. After Swindon's protests had subsided, Rose stepped up and placed a low shot in the bottom centre. Charles-Cook couldn't get down to it. Swindon 0, Town 1. Rose was booked for celebrating. Unexpectedly, Town went in at half time a goal up. The Town fans were buzzing after a workmanlike performance against a Swindon team which had failed to capitalise on the clear cut chances they had.
Cardwell was immediately in action as the second half began and was lucky not to be booked as he chased down and fouled McGivern. A minute later a Fox error led to Mullin having an opportunity but the Swindon player's left foot curler went wide. A bad mistake by Swindon's Dunne was then pounced upon by Woolford, who supplied Hooper but the resultant shot went wide. Like Summerfield's corner in the first half, Taylor teed up Anderson outside the area from a free-kick on 51 minutes. Anderson's curled shot was well saved by the unsighted McKeown. Swindon followed up with a corner after a run from Romanski. Town came back quickly when Collins headed on a Rose long throw. The ball came back to Hooper whose fierce shot from 6 yards was blocked. Town pressed and commendably were not hanging on for three points. Clifton showed great determination on 58 minutes and won a corner. Fox put in a good corner but Collins headed just over. Town's set piece delivery was noticeably better today than in previous matches. As Town played on, Swindon started to appear disorganised. They hadn't been great but now their players were getting niggly and their play ragged, as they made mistakes - good for Town's chances. But there were still 25 minutes to go. Rose was bowled over in midfield. Summerfield's free-kick led to a corner, which Woolford took. Clarke was penalised for committing a foul. Town battled on, and Hooper had a lone run up the left before McDermott flattened Summerfield. Prior to the free-kick, Matt and Davies came on as replacements for Cardwell and Hall-Johnson. Again Town won a corner following the free kick. This time Fox's cross found Collins's head. Rose tried but was unable to back heel it on. On 75 minutes, a fluid move led to a Davies cross but Clifton was unable to direct his header. Swindon had a corner but the danger was quickly averted before Town launched an attack. Matt's touch was clumsy. Town were finding space but not always keeping possession, which they now needed to do. But the seemingly demoralised Swindon were not posing much threat, and as if to prove the point McDermott fired over with a shot. Town were playing the better football now. Suliman replaced Hooper after 85 minutes as Town sought to close the game down. Swindon's play was getting worse, but it still needed a Collins interception to stop a header from McGivern. Twine had a shot which went wide, then a volley from Linganzi was high. Town stood firm. The fans saw the possibility of a great result. Four minutes were added. Matt won a corner. Town hung on. Town were victorious. Swindon Town 0, Grimsby Town 1. As the Swindon fans trooped away, Town's fans and players celebrated as if we'd won something.
This was indeed a great victory. Town had not only battled through today and shown great character, but had showed genuine signs of creative play. The crossing was good, and at times the interplay was effective. Town wore down Swindon today. But the game was only part of it. The ritual now was to check the results of other teams in the lower reaches of Division 2, and hope that theirs worse than ours. We haven't reached The Light just yet, so we're going to have to come up with at least one more good performance like today, and then we can really celebrate our escape. There is dawn on the horizon.
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