Every football fan has a favourite away game they’ve attended, it could be for a particular goal, individual performance, or simply the occasion surrounding the day and the 90 minutes on the pitch.
Since I started watching Town a few favourite away days come to mind, Beating Leeds 3-1 was special for every Town fan at Elland Road.
Playing Fulham in the F.A Cup in the first game of the last decade was memorable because of the vast number of Town fans in attendance with 6,000 making their way to Craven Cottage.
A couple of away days under Di Canio, when we beat Bristol City in the League Cup at Ashton Gate, a result which kicks started the Italian’s time at the County Ground, or at Crawley Town when the entire away stand was pleading with him not to leave the club, there are many moments every fan can name at the drop of a hat.
And I’m sure if those in attendance on Saturday had a top 10 list of favourite away days last weekend’s 3-1 win over Scunthorpe would be pretty high on the list.
If you were looking at this game as a normal 90 minutes of football it was a pretty satisfying day all-round, as the result kicked off our season in a near-perfect fashion, but with everything that’s happened since May and the fact dust is only just settling after a turbulent summer; this result and overall occasion is easily one of my favourite days following the Town.
Away day atmospheres on the opening day of a season are always great, with the excitement of a new season and the hope of what’s ahead but the atmosphere in the away end at Glanford Park was on another level from when you entered the stand to full-time.
This was helped by the appearance of our new Owner and Chairman Clem Morfuni who came and stood with the fans in the second half, and was treated with the reverence you get when you save a football club, he also quickly found out what it’s like when Town win away.
After a forgettable first half and the home side taking the lead, Town’s new-look side took control and never looked back, with new loan signing Kaine Kesler causing havoc inside the home side’s box and earning a penalty, which was calmly dispatched by Jack Payne.
Just eleven minutes later Ben Gladwin sent the away fans into dreamland when his long-range effort found the bottom corner to give Town a deserved lead, and then wrap up the game, Tyreece Simpson latched onto some poor defending, as his shot was parried into Harry McKirdy’s path and he put the game beyond doubt with his first goal for the club.
As I said previously if this was a normal away day, it’s a special day, but this was far from normal for the Town faithful, as this side had only been together a couple of weeks, for some players only a few days.
The togetherness shown by every single player was incredible to see, it’s the sort of thing you expect to see if a side had been playing together for a while, but it’s remarkable that they hardly know each other yet and they looked such a tight unit already.
This is a testament to all the senior pros from last season who have stayed at the club despite the horror show they experienced in the dying embers of Lee Powers’ time at the club.
Andrew Hawes from BBC Wiltshire put it brilliantly in his interview with Dion Conroy when he thanked him and the other players from all Town fans for sticking around and not trying to cancel their contracts and still turning up for training, despite the fact they were training with the under 18 side and didn’t know what was going to happen next.
This thanks also goes to the people who work at the club day in and day out, they didn’t lose faith and they deserve all the positivity coming their way right now, we can’t thank them enough.
Ben Garner and Ben Chorley also deserve huge credit for doing such a superb job in just a few weeks as they’ve put together an impressive side and Garner has got them playing some great football, it’s also a relief to hear a manager in his post-match interview who knows what he’s talking about and clearly explains his ideas and thoughts.
On a very slight downer, Town was eliminated from the Carabao Cup this week as a much-changed side lost 3-1 on penalties to make it seven years in a row we’ve lost in the first round of the League Cup.
But in the grand scheme of things, it’s not a huge blow, with the squad still coming together and fitness levels still being worked on in training, concentration will be needed on our League Two campaign.
This Saturday sees the first league home game of the Morfuni Era and the first time since 7th March 2020 there will be no restrictions on how many fans will be allowed back into the County Ground.
I’m hoping an atmosphere similar to the Exeter City game at the County Ground in February 2020 will greet Town when they walk onto the pitch and we will see Ben Garner’s side put on a show for the thousands back watching football live, and to celebrate the fact, we’ve all got our Swindon back.