So, here we are; the end of the season. It has been a historic one for the club. We competed in the Football League for the first time, we took baby steps in the League Cup and, to cap it all off, we pulled off an amazing and unlikely Johnstone’s Paint Trophy triumph. Our league season has been a little less successful, but a mid-table finish is nothing to be sniffed at considering we had only just been promoted.
Before getting into our only game of this episode, I bring you news that what I described as Alex Diabate slotting the ball under the opposition keeper in our game against Wrexham was, in fact, a curling shot from the edge of the area. Either way, well done Alex, it earned you goal of the month.
Matchday 56 – League Two – Swindon Town v Weston-super-Mare
Now then, to the final game of the season. Swindon, having started like a sloth that didn’t have anywhere to be, sacked Paolo Di Canio. I was then offered the job but turned it down. Since appointing Phil Parkinson, the club have really turned a corner. They now found themselves just needing a win to guarantee a spot in the play-offs. We were all that stood in their way.
Clearly, the club’s upturn in form over the past few months hasn’t really captured the imagination in the town as only 9,000 were predicted to turn out to see this crucial tie (although this was billed as a good size crowd, I disagree).
We went with a mind to spoil Swindon’s party, but we were absolutely blown away in a first half in which Swindon scored four times. Angelos Tsiaklis, another player I had tried to sign in the summer, got them off the mark after ten minutes; a cross was headed clear but fell kindly for him to hit on the half volley and into the top corner of Pedro Guedes’ net. Billy Paynter then got in on the act by tapping home from a Simon Ferry cross, before getting on the end of yet another cross, this time from Evandro Brandao, to head home Swindon’s third. Just two minutes after Paynter’s second, Brandao grabbed himself a goal as he also headed home from a dangerous cross. We were rubbish.
At half time, with our game plan thrown out of the window, we resolved to try and claw back some dignity. This didn’t seem to be working, though, as Brandao netted a beautiful second goal mid-way through the half to really put the game to bed. That said, their fifth sparked something of a revival in us and seven minutes later we forced their centre back, Darren Cole, into bundling into his own net. Minutes after the restart, Steven Howarth robbed Simon Ferry of the ball before bursting through the Robins’ defence and netting our second. Fun though a comeback would have been, we couldn’t sustain it and we somewhat ran out of steam.
Not the best way to end the season, particularly after our strong April, but it is what it is. I think the two-week break may have had something to do with our sluggishness, but let’s not make excuses; we were poor.
So, this is the final table. Swindon finished above Wrexham, Oxford didn’t make the play-offs at all, Bury joined Plymouth in being relegated and we finished the season in 13th. We had a goal difference of -5 which isn’t really surprising as we hardly scored any goals (or it felt that way, anyway).
This is a recap of our fixture in May, in case you had forgotten…
…and this is becoming a bit of a joke now, surely?
Now, for some kind words for our physio, David Callow, who has decided to retire from football. Clearly, the stress of a pretty much consistently full room of injured players has taken its toll on David over the past three years, but we thank him for consistently getting the players fit enough to injure themselves again.
A bit of excitement followed (for me, anyway) as Swindon won the League Two play-offs and will now be in League One next season. Well done Phil Parkinson.
Now that the league is over, we have been paid some money from the Premier League parachute payments. £287k is a lot of money and will go a long way in helping us keep the club running for next season.
We were also notified that our 13th placed finish was a record high for the club. It is not surprising, since we have never been in this league before, but it is nice to be reminded.
And so, that concludes season three of Weston’s Super Mare? I hope you are enjoying things and that you will join me again for next season where we will be hoping to challenge for promotion. Can we do it? Come back next time! Cheers!