DAN THE FAN: 2023 is the year of Kemp – TrustSTFC

DAN THE FAN: 2023 is the year of Kemp

Dan the Fan

One week on from Town’s worst performance of the season at Valley Parade Michael Flynn’s side knew they had to bounce back and prove their impressive start wasn’t a false dawn.

Thankfully, any nerves from the crowd were put to rest within eight minutes as a superb through ball from Charlie Austin found Dan Kemp, who calmly took the ball past the County keeper to give Town the lead.

Kemp’s goalscoring run from attacking midfield in 2023 is beyond ridiculous, in 29 games for Hartlepool United and Town, he’s scored 17 goals and pitched in with seven assists.

I don’t care what it takes in January, new CEO Anthony Hall, and Head of Football Jamie Russell need to do everything humanly possible to tie him down to a long-term deal. If not, we can forget about any promotion hopes in 2024, it’s that simple.

One debate that has several Town fans in disagreement, is Charlie Austin’s inclusion in the side after his low tally of three goals this season in thirteen appearances.

Going by his goal return, you may think people have a justified reason for wanting him benched, but when considering Austin’s influence on the team and squad as a whole you need to look at the bigger picture.

Having someone with his experience at the top level of English football and his leadership skills is still beyond a coup for Swindon Town Football Club.

When he resigned last season, the excitement around the club was massive, and rightly so with him playing 329 games across the Premier League and Championship, scoring 122 goals in the process, people forget how fortunate we are to have him playing in the fourth tier, even-aged 34.

I’m not saying he hasn’t made mistakes, as there have been some chances he should have buried, but with him contributing five assists and invaluable leadership, which other professionals can learn from, he should be in the starting eleven every week.

Thankfully, the visitors didn’t have a response to Town taking the lead as throughout the ninety minutes only one side was ever going to take all the points.

After failing to capitalise on the poor showing from the Welsh side in the first half, Town looked like a much better outfit in the second, especially with the introduction of Rushian Hepburn-Murphy.

The pacey striker had a few good chances before being in the right place at the right time as Jon Maxted pushed Saidou Khan’s effort into his path for him to seal a 2-0 win.

But it wasn’t only the forward line that impressed as all three of Town’s centre-backs enjoyed a good day at a sunny County Ground.

Despite the away side not putting on a vintage display, they were never allowed to get a foothold in the game thanks to some superb defending, with Tom Brewitt deservedly coming away with the MOTM award.

In previous articles, I’ve mentioned how Brewitt’s unconventional career path has been beneficial to Town, and that continues to be the case, as he again managed to put his head on everything and clear any danger alongside Udoka Godwin-Malife and Frazer Blake-Tracy.

It was also a welcome sight on Saturday, to see Tom Clayton making his long-awaited return to first-team action after a long injury layoff.

In a forgettable 22/23 season, Clayton’s emergence as a real capable prospect as the season progressed was one of the highlights, and with him now ready and injury-free, I hope when he gets his chance, he takes it and builds on the talent we all witnessed last season.