Town’s unbeaten run now stretches to five in League Two after a laboured draw at home to Tranmere Rovers.
With injuries mounting up all over the squad, the back line had a new look, as Scott Lindsey went back to playing a back five, with Frazer Blake-Tracy, Cian Harries, and Ciaran Brennan the three playing as centre-backs.
When the team was announced at 2:00 pm I’ll admit to thinking we’d be in for a long afternoon, not because those three are necessarily bad players, but because it would be the first time, they’d played together against a good Tranmere side.
Those fears were realised nine minutes in, after a through ball from Chris Merrie sliced our defence in two, finding Josh Hawkes who finished well past Sol Brynn.
Harries and Brennan will be disappointed the ball found it past them with such ease, the lack of experience was on show with the visitor’s goal. If Mathieu Baudry had been part of that back three, who has a better reading of the game, could’ve made a difference but it’s hard to say.
Baudry’s omission from the starting eleven was a shock, especially when playing with three centre-backs, but it’s clear his performance against Stockport County marked his card.
In the Frenchman’s place came, Cian Harris, who was making his first start for Town in a league game. The former Rovers man hasn’t enjoyed a good start to life at Town, and after the opening quarter of an hour that didn’t look like it would improve.
But midway through the first half, the Welshman made a perfectly-timed block to keep out Elliot Nevitt, and he went on to have a steady afternoon.
It’s clear with his early performances and the negative reaction to his arrival back in the summer, they’d be a good chance he’d become the player people love to boo, hopefully, he can build on this decent showing if he’s ever called on again.
Thankfully, Town wasn’t behind for long, as Ben Gladwin’s pass found wing-back Remeao Hutton on the right, and his superb cross found Jacob Wakeling who levelled up the contest.
After finding himself playing on the left-hand side in recent weeks, goals haven’t been free-flowing for the former Leicester City striker, with the last coming away at Doncaster in mid-September, it was good to see him back on the scoresheet, scoring his fifth goal of the season.
With the change at the back, the midfield went from a four to a three with Gladwin returning to the side, partnering Ronan Darcy and Saidou Khan as the defensive midfielder, with one certain Welshman absent from the match-day eighteen.
When the Wales squad was announced last week, it was great to see Jonny Williams’ name included, after enjoying a superb season so far he certainly deserves to be playing on the big stage in Qatar.
It was disappointing not to see him involved on Saturday as he has been in such excellent form recently, but the reasons for his admission were understandable.
Williams joins an illustrious list of players who have been at Swindon Town whilst going on to represent their country at the World Cup, the others being Alan McLoughlin, Jan-Age Fjortoft, and Massimo Luongo.
Hopefully, he’ll be able to make his way onto the pitch at some point, and show the world what we’ve been witnessing since he first walked in the door at the County Ground.
Next Saturday, we welcome 16th-place Crewe Alexandra to Wiltshire in another important game in our season.
The Railwaymen left it late on Saturday to pick up their first win in League Two for eight games thanks to Dan Agyei’s header.
The Alex are currently managerless as Alex Morris, who took the job in April 2022, stepped down this month on compassionate grounds following a family bereavement, seeing Lee Bell step up on an interim basis.
After winning their last two games and turning a corner, it won’t be an easy afternoon for Town, but I’m confident we can earn a maximum if we play like we all know we can, and edge our way closer to the top three in League Two.