Swindon Rue Missed Chances As Chesterfield Prevail In JPT Final

Swindon Town suffered their 4th defeat this year in a final that didn’t live up to the much expected anticipation. This was Swindon’s 2nd visit to Wembley in 2 years and once again they lost to a side that was more determined and ‘wanted’ the victory more. Here is how the weekend progressed for me:

Ticket Disaster Avoided Just…

Three (should of being four but @MrGASB69 was unavailable to make it) confident Grimsby born Swindon Town fans (@budsgotwood and @mark_wix) set off for the capital 26 hours before kick-off. This had been the plan ever since we invaded the pitch at the final whistle on the 7th February. The 180 mile journey to London passed with little to note (I say this but at around 50 miles into the journey I had been asked “You did remember the tickets didn’t you?”. Oops, I had left them in my glove box in my car at home. A quick call to the ticket provider and a £5 admin charge later, collection at the ticket office for some new ones was arranged). Some interesting discussion followed with subjects as ‘new on-loan signings’ and the talk of ‘whether Lionel Messi could be successful in the Premier League and for what team would he fit perfectly in’.

To Dream…

We booked into our hotel near the Docklands in the East of London and decided to go into ‘town’ and sightsee. As I had been to London on numerous occasions I took on the role of chief navigator. Big Ben, Houses Of Parliament, Leicester Square and many other places later we had our tea then headed off to an affluent area of town, Park Lane and Mayfair. The streets where littered with Porsches, Audi’s, Aston Martins, Ferrari’s and Range Rovers. We even saw a Pagani Zonda priced just short of 10 Alan Connell’s (£975,000). After drooling over these and examining some estate agents window displays we called it a night.

Traffic Jams…

The next morning we arose around 9am ready and were rearing to make our way to the National Stadium. After getting ready to we left around 1030 expecting it to take around an hour or so to reach the infamous landmark. It seemed to take an eternity to get through the traffic in central London and to reach the ground, and it did, over 1 and a half hours later we had finally parked up, at a mere cost of £15.

‘The Bobble’…

Stepping out of the car, all the confidence I had seemed to have beforehand instantly disappeared and had been replaced with a sense of nervousness and an air of trepidation. The other two didn’t have this feeling but I did share my anxiety with them but it was soon passed off. I had been there 2 years previous to this at the Play-Off Final in 2010, and being there again brought back the pain and disappointment of that day. I wish I could put the ‘bobble’ behind me but it still haunts me and always brings out the ‘what ifs’.

Not A Bad Ground…

After collecting the tickets we made our way in the Stadium, and to our seats. It was just as impressive as I remember, be it a whole different view this time. In 2010 @MrGASB69 and I sat 4 rows from the back, at possibly the highest point in the stand; it was similar to watching a game of subbuteo being played. This time the bottom tier was the place to be sat, the view was brilliant and as always a possibility of been seen on television.

‘Falling In Love With You’…

As ‘Wise men say…’ rung out over the tannoy system, I felt such a sense of pride and in that moment whatever the result I was proud of the boys and what had been achieved to reach this stage. The national anthem passed by and then it was time for kick-off.

Lucky Escape…

The match kicked off and immediately the atmosphere and play felt very flat, after all the anticipation the play wasn’t living up to what was expected. As Swindon settled into the first half we created several chances, and looked positive on the ball. Lee Holmes and Simon Ferry where instrumental in the half, switching play and providing key balls at times. Jack Lester, a former Grimsby Town striker did have the ball in the back of the net after 8 minutes but this judged to be offside, a quick text to a watching @MrGASB69 confirmed to me that he was in fact in an onside position when he had scored. When Lester was taken off injured he was pictured on the big screen and his disappointment was clear to everyone. The 36 year old seemed to of realised very quickly that this would probably be the last time he was at playing at Wembley. I did feel very sorry for him to leave the pitch so suddenly.

Turning Point…

The Millwall match here at Wembley turned on one moment, and so did this game. Just before the break, a good move by Swindon ended with Paul Benson setting up Alan Connell inside the 18 yard box and only the keeper to beat, the whole Swindon fan base held its breath as the 29 year old striker volleyed wide the best chance of the half. Watching the replays over and over again on the big screens did nothing to soften the blow. It was THE chance to put Swindon in front, it was THE chance to create history, and something in the back of my mind knew that in that moment we had blown our best chance.

Risser…

As soon the second half started, we looked very flat and didn’t seem to get going. A minute into the half and a clever turn by Chesterfields 28 year old French winger Alex Mendy resulted in a cross that was knocked into his own net by Oliver Risser.

The Response…

Going a goal down didn’t revitalise Swindon and in the end throwing bodies forward cost us the ultimate price. Swindon’s offside trap was non-existent and allowed Westcarr to race clear and slot home the winner for Chesterfield.

Final Third…

Going forward we lacked composure and failed to provide the quality service usually seen in previous games. Alan Connell works his socks off but just couldn’t deliver when the chance came around. As usual Benson held the ball up well but with his level of experience more of him was expected. Shots outside the box where few and far between and the players should have been more confident in their own shooting abilities.

Best Man…

Holmes troubled the Chesterfield defence on more than one occasion throughout the first half but failed to convert any; his control on the left hand side was second to none and in my eyes was the best man on the field. Simon Ferry was another candidate for my man of the match, his distribution and work rate was fantastic. I have just singled out a couple of players here, in my mind the best 2. All of Swindon’s players worked well, some didn’t perform to their potential but we have to learn and move on from these situations.

On The Whole…

1st half we were the better side and troubled Chesterfield with spells of great football. The miss from Connell just before the break changed the game along with the quick goal after the break which we never recovered from. All credit to Chesterfield, they man marked Ritchie out of the game and without Caddis he struggled. The statistics flatter Swindon, we lacked composure and finesse in front of goal and this was our undoing.

Quotes…

Oliver Risser: “After a loss like that you don’t see these things. The defeat is very hard on us and a disappointment to all of us. The stage is fantastic but it is a game you have to win or you die. We didn’t win so that is the most disappointing thing for us.”

Paolo Di Canio: “It happens to the best players in cup finals, they lose concentration. But not these players in the league, no. We next play at home and that is our fortress, so I don’t worry. It is a local derby (against Bristol Rovers) so a lot of people will come and support my players.”

Fans…

A view from Swindon Fans who were given just 5 words to sum up what happened:

Lee Young – Lacking creativity in final third.

Martin Score – Chesterfield were the better side.

Rosie MacGillivray – It just wasn’t our day.

Matt Strong – Bit complacent deserved to lose.

Mark Ralph – Knocked off rails with nerves

Danny Stephenson – Didn’t play to our capabilities

Other Views…

Calvin Hothi – “We didn’t really get into the game at the start and that showed with the offside goal. When we did we play well we controlled the game. We created some chances but couldn’t really convert them. An early own goal knocked the stuffing out of us and we never really recovered. The chances we did have were not taken and we played below par.”

John Wingfield – “I feel some players where too scared to shoot and that Paolo chose the wrong team. The missed chances cost us the game but credit to Chesterfield, they came out for the second half swinging.”

By Swindon Town blogger Craig Kendall. You can follow him on Twitter @engoism.