After a fifty-two-year gap between Swindon Town and Barrow AFC locking horns at Holker Street, I doubt the majority of the travelling fans would mind if it was half a century before another trip to Barrow-in-Furness.
In what turned out to be an awful afternoon, I want to first doff my cap to all the away supporters who made the long trip, as Swindon had the largest away following in League Two on Saturday despite the 10 hours round trip.
Sadly, those fans weren’t rewarded with another memorable away day as two second-half penalties sealed Town’s fate in a below-par performance on the day.
As Ben Garner commented in his post-match interview the effort wasn’t in short supply, but on such an awful pitch it was hard for Town to play their normal style of football, and never looked to change their approach.
Being so committed to one style of play regardless of the conditions is admirable in one way, but deeply irritating in another as it was clear things needed to change in the second half when we ran out of ideas.
Despite the frustrating performance and result from the last two away games, its vital fans don’t begin to turn on Garner’s side and remember how much we’ve overachieved this season as we currently sit inside the playoff places in League Two.
This doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be criticised after poor performance but it’s also important to look at the big picture, especially this season when our squad was put together so late in the day in difficult circumstances.
One man who did disappoint on Saturday on a rare off day was Harry McKirdy, who after struggling to get into the game was shown another yellow card for dissent.
When the former Aston Villa man was signed by Town in the summer the management team knew the sort of maverick they were taking on, as he had blown hot and cold for several clubs over the last few years, with one of the reasons on full display on Saturday.
He sadly lets himself down with his fiery temperament, as he’s picked up nine yellows already this season, not all for dissent but the vast majority, if this part of his game can be tempered, he’d become an even more important player moving forwards.
There is no doubt the 24-year-old is a positive influence on the club both on and off the pitch, as he’s the sort of character if channelled correctly, is a big asset in a changing room, and on the pitch, he’s been superb with his ability to find space between defenders to create chances and his goalscoring return for the club already this season has been impressive.
On Saturday, it wasn’t only McKirdy who talked himself into trouble as club captain Dion Conroy was shown a straight red at full-time for dissent.
We all know how frustrating it can be when you feel you’ve been on the wrong end of decisions in a game, and on Saturday, Town was unlucky in a few moments in the game, but as club captain, Conroy needs to keep his head and be an example to those around him.
The big blow to the club will be him missing out this coming Saturday as Town welcomes Matty Taylor’s Walsall to the County Ground.
Since their defeat in the F.A Cup, they’ve picked up four points from the past two games and look to have put their poor start to the season behind them.
After suffering two defeats on the road, it’s vital Town ends this mini-slump in form this weekend and establishes itself inside the top seven in League Two.