Derby day is finally here, The A420 derby is upon us and it snuck up upon us. Swindon Town entertain local and hated rivals Oxford United on Tuesday night looking for a first home win in the league over Oxford United since October 8th, 2000.
Tom Broadbent was the hero for Swindon Town in the reverse fixture scoring both goals on the 28th of November and Swindon are looking for double, something that hasn’t been done since Steve Robinson double at the Manor Ground on the 10th March 2001. Almost 20 years to the day since Swindon Town recorded the double over Oxford United.
The last two games for Swindon Town have yielded 0 points from trips away to Sunderland and on Saturday at Accrington Stanley. The performance on Saturday was not good enough, the standard of football on show was appalling. A lot of basic mistakes against a side in Accrington Stanley who were struggling for form. Once again defensive mistakes cost Swindon in this game and it has been the story of our season to date.
For 20 minutes in the first half, Swindon were in the game just after Jonathan Grounds injury. The change of shape from a 3-5-2 to a 4-2-3-1 helped and Swindon Town were gaining control of the game. Got the deserved equaliser from Brett Pitman, then 3 incidents changed the game. The non-red card of Mark Hughes, Scott Twine free kick hitting the cross bar at 1-1. Colby Bishop scrappy goal just before half time. If Mark Hughes picked up his second yellow for the cynical foul it would have changed the complexion of the game and Swindon would have been in the ascendency playing against 10 men. Sadly, that never materialized and not long after the non-second yellow card Accrington Stanley got the winner and saw out the game with no problems.
After the game on Saturday, it felt like all the hard work from the previous week with the positive results have massively backfired. 7 points out of 9 the previous week and the feel-good factor was back with the fans and you could see that on social media with all the praise on the results. Fast forward a couple of days and that has all evaporated. Teams below are all picking results while Swindon Town are sinking closer and closer to the relegation zone.
Predicted XI for tomorrow game 4-2-3-1
Trueman, Odimayo, Conroy, Broadbent, Hunt, Missilou, Payne, Garrick, Twine, Hope, Pitman.
Oxford United visit the County Ground on Tuesday night and they are currently in 10th position in the league one standings with 47 points from 31 games. Oxford United form going into this second derby game of this season has dipped. Winless in the last 5 game which has included 4 draws and a home defeat to Portsmouth. 1 goal scored in the last 5 games which was Elliot Lee 97th minute equaliser away at MK Dons. Back-to-back 0-0 home draws against Peterborough and Charlton Athletic have followed. Oxford United last win in the league was the infamous home win against Wigan Athletic on valentine’s day. The game was delayed for almost an hour after a floodlight fire and the ground had to be evacuated while the fire brigade attended to the incident. Elliott More hit a late winner to give Oxford United the win and propel them to 7th in the league standings. But it has been rough sailing ever since with 4 points picked up from a possible 15.
Credit where credit is due, Karl Robinson turned the fortunes around for Oxford United after the reverse fixture at the Kassam stadium. 10 game unbeaten run was halted on the 6th of February in a 3-2 away defeat Doncaster Rovers, that unbeaten run propelled Oxford United from 20th in league one to as a high as 8th position in the league standings.
Karl Robinson likes to play an attacking brand of football, played on the front foot. He has mainly played a 4-3-3 system this season but is not afraid in changing the set up. Twice in the last 9 games Robinson has changed from the 4-3-3 to the 4-2-3-1 to accommodate the extra body going forward in attack.
The key players to watch out for in the Oxford United side:
On loan Bristol City striker Matty Taylor has already been a thorn in the Swindon Town side this season scoring the opener in the return fixture at the end of November. 11 goals and 2 assists in 31 league appearances this season. But Taylor is goalless in his last 10 league appearances for Oxford United, he last scored in the 2-0 home win over his former side Bristol Rovers where Taylor netted a double.
The second and final player to watch out for in this Oxford United side is on loan QPR left winger Olamide Shodipo. The former U21 Republic of Ireland International is very adaptive and can play in all three forward positions. 8 goals from 25 appearances with 11 coming of the bench. Shodipo did have success playing as the CF for the one appearance this season from the start with a double in Oxford 5-1 win away at Burton Albion.
Form goes out of the window for Derby games, Oxford United are winless in 5 and Swindon Town are winless in the last two games. This is a massive game for Swindon Town, a negative result and the doom and gloom around the club in the last 7 days will add more fuel to the fire of the car crash of this season. A positive result will see Swindon Town eek themselves clear of the congested relegation zone.
Tomorrow game is where heroes and legends are made, it is time for someone in the Swindon Town side to go down in A420 derby folklore and write themselves into the history books. Swindon Town are looking for a first home win over Oxford United in over 20 years and the first double in one day short of 21 years.
By Scot Monroe