Heading into Saturday’s game with Mansfield Town, Town manager Michael Flynn must have feared the worst.
Town hadn’t tasted victory for eight games, a run going back to Flynn’s old side Newport County on the 14th of October.
Nigel Clough’s side came into the game without tasting defeat in League Two, an incredible seventeen games, but Town sprung a surprise, as when 2:00pm came along, and we saw Captain Charlie Austin would start the game from the bench.
The manager changed his formation to counter the inform away side, with Liam Kinsella starting at the base of midfield, George McEachran and Saidou Khan playing in central midfield, and Dan Kemp playing behind the in-form Jake Young.
When Liam Kinsella joined the club in the summer, I expected him to be important in Flynn’s midfield, but the former Walsall man has had to be very patient in his time in Wiltshire.
With the 27-year-old only starting six League Two games out of the 20 played and finding himself more involved in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy alongside youth players.
But his patience is finally being rewarded, as he’s played an important role in the last two games, resulting in Town picking up six valuable points.
He broke up play and stopped the opposition from getting a foothold in the game, which importantly, gave more freedom to McEachran and Khan, who have both improved, as they’ve found themselves involved in attacking phases in games.
As we witnessed at full-time on Saturday, the manager’s tactical gamble paid off, with Town ending The Stag’s unbeaten run with an impressive 2-1 win at the County Ground.
The same eleven took to the pitch on Tuesday night, as Town faced Accrington Stanley in front of just under 2,000 fans at The Crown Ground.
With the new formation working well on Saturday, we saw it again in Lancashire, and within the first thirty minutes Town found themselves 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Dan Kemp from the spot and Jake Young finishing off a cross from Remeao Hutton.
On the hour mark, Saidou Khan unleashed a superb strike to make it 3-0, and with one minute left, substitute Charlie Austin seemingly finished off proceedings with a fourth.
But in true Swindon Town style this season, they conceded in the 92nd minute, the 97th, and again with 100 minutes on the clock.
Incredibly, the home side still had the chance to level the game as Murphy Mahoney miscontrolled his pass, letting in the home side, but their effort was cleared off the line to see Town pick up their first away win since August.
Time and time again this season, we haven’t finished off games, whether it’s a lack of concentration, game management, lack of experience in the eleven and off the bench, or a combination of all three, it needs to change when Flynn gets a chance in January.
One player who may not be with us when January ends, is midfielder Saidou Khan, who according to press reports, will be making a move to Wrexham AFC.
When Hollywood comes knocking, it’s hard to turn down, and with a reported £350,000 fee on the table, I can’t see how Town can reject that amount of money when we need to sign at least 5-6 new faces in January.
Khan will be a loss in midfield and difficult to replace, he joins the list of potential outgoings along with Jake Young and Dan Kemp, three key players who will be very hard to replace.
With Young sitting on sixteen goals in League Two, we know Bradford will be recalling him in January, in a painful reconstruction of the Eoin Doyle situation.
Hopefully, it can end the same way, with the owner putting his hand in his pocket, resulting in the young striker ending up at Town, but with the amount of money needed to make that happen, I don’t hold out much hope.
Thankfully, Dan Kemp is a different story with his contract coming to an end next summer and not having a future at Franchise FC, his ending in January as a Town player looks more likely, but with the form he’s shown since joining Town, many clubs will be after his signature.
Town picking up seven points from their last three league games needs to be something we now build on moving into the busy festive period, but before games come thick and fast, we have a ten-day break after the nightmare against Aldershot handed Town a free Saturday.
With an upturn in form, this break has come at the wrong time, but it should act as a important break to have the players ready for their trip to AFC Wimbledon, where we will face a different proposition than the side we demolished 5-1 in April, with Johnnie Jackson’s side sitting 10th in League Two and firmly in the hunt for a playoff place.