Swindon Town travel to Sincil Bank (LNER Stadium) on Tuesday night with confidence in the stride after completing a turn around that most fans will agree with, was unjustified against Crewe Alexandra on Saturday evening.
A 2-1 home win which included a freakish own goal from Travis Johnson after 10 minutes and a 94th minute winner from Scott Twine. A game that Swindon Town did not deserve to win and on any other day, Crewe Alexandra would have won the game in a convincing manner. Time after time, Crewe attacked on the left-hand side. Finding the ball to Charlie Kirk and overloading the box and would find a Crewe Attacker and the chance would be spurned. But good defending and a bit of luck persevered and Swindon Town managed to get the win thanks to good hold up play by Brett Pitman who backheeled into the on rushing Hallam Hope who had his effort saved and the re-bound found Scott Twine who made no mistake from close range. At the third time of asking Twine found the net after having two siters previously in the game.
I would have taken a point before kick off against an inconsistent side who were in patchy form, but to come away with the win in stoppage time was a massive bonus. It was bold or very risky from John Sheridan to go with a two-man central midfielder partnership against Crewe 4-3-3. It did not work in the first half and you can see that Sheridan had asked Jack Payne to drop back and go 3 vs 3 in the middle of the park. It worked for a little bit, but it still did not stifle to the Crewe onslaught in the second half. Especially in the last 10-15 minutes, but it worked in Swindon favour as they managed to get some efforts in goal and finally having a shot on target. The subs that John Sheridan brought on worked, as both Hope and Twine were involved in the goal. Odimayo was brought on for Caddis but that was just killing the game off in added time.
He will not get credit by some of our fans, but I will give him credit as John Sheridan got his tactics and his subs spot on in the second half. He got some awful stick from us fans and rightly so. It has not been the best of last few weeks, but that win will hopefully get us going in the right direction. Some winnable games coming ahead in recent weeks.
I was generally impressed with the return of Jonathan Grounds; he has not been in the side since the MK Dons defeat in the last game of 2020. Grounds was the Central player in the back 3 and did very well against a physical striker in Mikael Mandron. Made some excellent late ditch tackles when it looked that Crewe would get a second goal.
Swindon predicted xi 3-5-2
Woolacott, Conroy, Grounds, Broadbent, Hunt, Missilou, Palmer, Payne, Thompson, Garrick, Pitman.
Lincoln City are sitting top of the table in league one with 56 points from 28 games, just one point ahead of Peterborough United in second place. Lincoln City are three points ahead of third place Hull City in third place, but Hull have played two games more.
Lincoln City run of form in the last 6 games has been very impressive with 4 wins 1 draw and 1 defeat. The sole defeat in the last 6 games came up against Doncaster Rovers, Taylor Richards got the only goal of the game, but he was not the hero in this game. On loan Brentford goalkeeper Ellery Balcombe was the hero that day for Doncaster Rovers as he saved two Lincoln City penalties from Jorge Grant and Anthony Scully. The Sole draw was a 2-2 draw against Accrington Stanley, Dion Charles netted a brace for the visitors. Morgan Rogers and Tom Hopper got the goals for Lincoln City. The 4 wins in the last 6 have come against Northampton, Portsmouth, Gillingham and at the weekend a scrappy 2-1 away win at Wigan Athletic. A game Lincoln City had to battle against a Wigan side who are fighting for their lives, Tom Hopper netting the winner with 17 minutes remaining.
Michael Appleton likes to play attacking football, he has been adaptive in his set up this season. Appleton likes to play a 4-3-3 but has switched to a 4-1-4-1 and to a 4-2-3-1 in games this season. a telling stat is that 10 out of 17 Lincoln wins this season have come away from home. At Home Lincoln have only won 7 out of 14 games and lost 5. 5 losses have come up against Bristol Rovers, Portsmouth, Doncaster, Sunderland, and Shrewsbury Town.
The three key players to watch out for Lincoln City are the front three of Michael Appleton attack. Jorge Grant is the first player to keep an eye on, Involved in 15 goals this season in league one with 8 goals and 7 assists from 28 appearances. Grant is more of a potent threat from playing out wide on the left of attack with 6 goals in 7 and 2 assists.
Tom Hopper is the second player to keep an eye on, the Lincoln City striker has been involved in 10 goals in 27 league appearances. 8 goals and 2 assists. Hopper is in fine form with 3 goals in his last 5 league games including the winner for Lincoln City away at Wigan Athletic.
The third and final player is Anthony Scully, Scully has been in good form this season for Lincoln from the right side of attack with 6 goals and 2 assists from 22 league appearances. 10 appearances from the bench. Anthony Scully has found form in since the busy Xmas period with 5 goals in 9 appearances and got himself on the scoresheet last weekend away at Wigan.
This is going to be a tough game for Swindon Town against the league leaders and against a manager who has got the better of them in previous outings for a local rival. I am going in with low expectations as we are playing against a team looking towards the championship. If we can get something out it that is a bonus, especially with the Northampton Town 6 pointer coming up at the weekend.
Preview by Scot Munroe