With 2022 coming to an end in a few days, let’s take a quick look over the past twelve months and reminisce over the best and worst this year has served up for the Town faithful. Its fair to say that there has been plenty of activity to discuss.
When it comes to the best 90 minutes of action over the past twelve months a few matches come to mind.
The emphatic 5-2 win over Northampton Town on New Year’s Day, as Harry McKirdy, bagged four goals, another five-star performance when taking apart Walsall 5-0 in late February.
Our 5-2 win over Mansfield ranks highly, simply as our best performance this season, a mention also goes to our 2-1 win over Port Vale in the Playoff Semi-Final First Leg, as McKirdy’s brace made us firmly believe there could be a fairy-tale ending.
But we all know when it comes to which is the best game, it’s not just about the action on the pitch but the situation surrounding it, and the last regular game of last season at Walsall was a special occasion.
We came into the game knowing a win would secure a playoff spot and a very slim possibility that other results went our way a chance of the automatics.
It was the best atmosphere I’ve seen at a Town away game for years, as over 3,500 Swindon fans crammed into the Bescot Stadium to witness Town secure a playoff spot with a convincing 3-0-win thanks for goals from McKirdy and Jack Payne in the first half, putting the game to bed.
The second half was more a celebration of what a superb season we had enjoyed, made even more remarkable considering all the uncertainty surrounding the club the previous summer. Ben Garner and his team had achieved great things over an entertaining campaign.
With all the other categories, there are a few options to be considered, but for me, this category has only one.
Sadly, it means visiting Vale Park for the Second Leg of the Playoff Semi–Finals. I don’t need to go through the game, or everything that surrounded that awful evening, as we all know what happened on the pitch and even more terribly, what happened after the penalty shoot-out.
But safe to say it was a dreadful evening, which in my opinion, hasn’t been dealt with strongly enough by the authorities.
Let’s get the worst moment out of the way, there are a few that come to mind when digging up moments we’d all like to forget this year, the 1-0 defeat to Newport in April, which left us 10th in the league, and looking like we could throw away a whole season.
Walsall’s winner in the last minute on Monday was a hard pill to swallow, but it has to be at Vale Park.
After a turgid 120 minutes of football came to an end, only penalties could separate the sides, and after taking an early lead in the shootout McKirdy’s awful penalty set the tone, as Davison missed the chance to win the tie, then comes the worst moment of the year.
As Elis Iandolo put his spot-kick over the bar, leading to some of the worst scenes ever witnessed on a football pitch. We all know any player can miss a penalty, and sadly it was Iandolo, someone who gives, and has given, so much to our football club.
Let’s finish on a high note, and thankfully there have been many moments of action on and off the pitch this year we can look back on with huge pride, and in one case, huge belly laughs when John Sheridan made his return to the County Ground.
Dion Conroy’s last-second goal against Oldham Athletic saw Town take all the points and the former Town manager use a certain digit when leaving the dugout after the game.
Jack Payne’s last-minute winner from the penalty spot at Valley Parade in early March was a huge moment in the season, some might even say yesterday was the best moment of the year when Sky Sports interviewed and all but announced a certain returning striker.
But I’m going for Harry McKirdy’s goal against Premier League Champions Manchester City in the F. A Cup 3rd Round.
Yes, it was just a consolation goal in a 4-1 defeat, on paper it doesn’t look like much, but at that second when McKirdy struck that ball past Zack Steffen, it was pure hysteria inside the County Ground as we made our mark against the best club side in World football.
And not Manchester City U23s, but an eleven including Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Kyle Walker, Nathan Ake, Ilkay Gundogan, Keven De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva, and Gabriel Jesus.
It was a special evening at SN1 and an even more special moment.