After nine months of hard work in League Two, the Easter period would play a huge role in whether Swindon can achieve the unthinkable last summer, and have a chance of promotion back to League One at the first attempt.
It started perfectly on Good Friday as Town earned all the points in our first visit to Harrogate Town with a 4-1 win, as Louie Barry and Josh Davison both scored a brace to raise expectations going into our Easter Monday game against Richie Wellens’ Leyton Orient side.
But the confident, dominant side we witnessed at Wetherby Road failed to show up at the County Ground as the visitors took advent age of some more questionable goalkeeping from Jojo Wollacott, and despite being reduced to ten men the 0’s doubled their lead thanks to more poor defending.
Josh Davison pulled a goal back with twelve minutes remaining but despite relentless pressure Town succumbed to another home defeat, leaving our playoff ambitions in tatters.
As previously mentioned, it wasn’t a great afternoon for Town’s number one, who has looked out of sorts in recent weeks, with his decision-making being in the spotlight.
But despite this recent blip, there is no doubt he is a talented goalkeeper, and it’s exciting to see him make strides in his game and make his mark for Ghana on the international stage.
But it’s worrying to read his response when questioned about his future at the club, asked how he felt about his deal running out by the Swindon Advertiser, Wollacott said “It’s an interesting stat, but we’ll have to see, at the moment, I’m not interested in the future. I’m focused on the rest of the season, and I’m happy where I’m at right now. That’s a conversation for further down the line”.
Going by his words you may wonder why I call them worrying, but after seeing many, many players say the same thing when their contracts are coming to an end, his answer is very much “the party line” given to stop any more questions being asked.
I desperately hope Jojo does sign a new deal soon, and he is being genuine in his comments about just being focused on this season, as it would be a huge slap in the face to Swindon Town and all the fans if he packed up and left after Town gave him a chance to prove himself, and handed him the number one shirt last summer.
After recent results, Town now finds themselves 11th in League Two, four points from the playoffs, with four games remaining in their season.
If you look at the season, you hear these two statements the most, the first being we’ve overachieved throughout the campaign, and this Town squad is victims of their success, and the fact we aren’t in the same situation as Scunthorpe and Oldham is a huge relief with the financial restrictions put on the club.
Or you can ask why a team who has been involved in the top ten all season and has an obvious quality all over the pitch to make the top seven is now struggling to get over the line when the pressure is on at the most important time of the season
Everyone will have their views, and there are other circumstances involved, the biggest being injuries to key players and loan recall, but at the moment, I’m somewhere in the middle of those two statements.
On paper, Ben Garner’s side’s hunt for a playoff place is by no means over, if we can pick up three points next Saturday away at Hartlepool, we could find ourselves only a point from seventh with a game in hand over many teams around us.
But after recently only taking four points from a possible fifteen and with recent performances looking far too inconsistent, the playoffs now seem just out of reach for this season.