After comprehensively winning our opening game of the season we were served a touch of realism at the weekend as Town lost their first league game of the season as a trip to Blackpool proved fruitless for Richie Wellens’ side.
Jonny Smith once again looked a step above his teammates as every time he got the ball, he looked dangerous in possession, sadly his afternoon was cut short as he suffered an asthma attack and had to be subbed off for new arrival Joel Grant.
The former Plymouth winger didn’t enjoy a great debut as the game passed him by, but it would be incredibly harsh to expect too much from the 33-year-old as he’s still getting his fitness levels back up to where they should be for a new season.
The biggest talking point with the Town faithful was the performance of on-loan goalkeeper Matej Kovár, as both goals from the home side beat the 20-year-old keeper on his near post, something which also happened in the Charlton game at the County Ground.
There’s no getting away from it, the Czech born keeper hasn’t enjoyed a great start to his time in Swindon but no-one should be writing him off, I’ve even seen some fans suggesting we send him back and seek a replacement.
Last season I attended Town vs. Plymouth in the Leasing.com Trophy, the away side easily won the game 3-0, It was a throw-away contest, but it holds significance simply being Steven Benda’s debut for the club.
The big German wasn’t necessarily at fault for any of the three goals but I remember how erratic he was over the 90 minutes, and he looked far from the goalkeeper he grew into over the season.
The Man Utd loanee is a talented keeper, but he’s had a rocky start in his first-ever season being a club’s number one, he’ll take lessons from his performance which will only make him a better player moving forward.
One of the positives to come from the afternoon was the short time Hallam Hope was on the pitch, he was introduced with 25 mins left in the contest and made an instant impact as his well-placed shot hit the inside of the post and agonisingly went across the face of goal before being cleared. He also created problems for the Blackpool back-line with his pace and willingness to chase lost causes.
Hope’s time at Town has been a mixed affair as he started in perfect fashion scoring two goals in his first two games, but after his sudden impact he faded away from Wellens’ plans and wasn’t too involved in the starting eleven when the season came to a shuddering halt.
We all know the 26-year-old has something to offer but it’s unsure if he’ll be given a chance, especially with new winger Jordan Stevens arriving at the club yesterday on loan from Leeds United.
The former Forest Green Rovers man has joined Town on a season-long loan deal and comes very highly rated from Elland Road. The pacey winger made four first-team appearances from the bench last season under Marcelo Bielsa.
Life in Yorkshire hasn’t been plain sailing for Stevens as he was handed a six-game ban by the FA last season after breaching betting regulations and according to reports has struggled with homesickness whilst living up north.
Hopefully being close to home will help the talented winger settle into life at SN1 quickly and we may see the fruit of that this weekend as Town welcome Burton Albion to the County Ground where Richie Wellens will be desperate to get back to winning ways after the disappointment at the seaside.