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WHAT WE LEARNED: Walsall (0) Swindon (0)

Swindon Town failed to get anything going as they slumped to a 0-0 draw on the road against Walsall. Total Sport’s Joe Acklam looks at what lessons can be learned from the match.

Here are the lessons that can be learned from Swindon’s valiant draw with the O’s.

1. Any chance of making the play-offs is over.

The season was all but done after Carlisle won the game in the 96th minute, but taking one point from this pair of matches means Swindon are all but mathematically done. Town may just be six points off the play-off places, but they have been stuttering along all season and will need to show something they have not done at any point and suddenly string together a succession of wins in a row. Hopefully I am proved wrong and the Rochdale match this weekend turns into a Hartlepool moment from last season and Town turn in six wins on the bounce, but does anyone see signs of that happening?

2. Tom Brewitt seems to be a second free agent hit.

I had less faith in Brewitt than I did the George McEachran signing, but he has proved himself very quickly to be another solid addition since the transfer window closed. He looks like a player who wants to prove himself with the way he competes for every challenge and header. Against Walsall Brewitt won six of his nine aerial duals, 67%, against a very physical Saddlers side and for reference, Frazer Blake-Tracy wins 70% of his and the league leader for anyone who has played more than 15 times is 75%. He looks comfortable on the ball and has shown instant leadership qualities, hats off to whoever picked him out of the wilderness.

3. There is still a chronic lack of cutting edge.

This is more of a comment on the season than specifically a Walsall-thing, but Swindon are still looking very blunt in attack. Watching the game back this morning and Town had two shots on target with both being from outside the box and aside from Charlie Austin having a shot from three yards in front of the near post, all the others were not from dangerous areas either. A comment that applies to this game and virtually every other one this season is that Swindon worked the ball well until they got close to the box and Remeao Hutton is the only consistent threat. Sandro Di Michele has hit on almost every defensive and deeper midfield signing, but reliable forwards have proved far trickier and so they have shown as they get scared in the final third most weeks.

4. Funnel pressing continues to be in fine fettle.

I shall continue to commit to the bit and say that you can still clearly see Jody Morris’ imprint on this side through their work without the ball. Town turned two situations into shots on goal from transition and Walsall, who as a Mike Flynn side are want to do, play long when they can, were only able to retain possession on 15% of their long balls. The most consistent benefit from the funnel pressing is forcing inaccurate long balls when defenders start to panic that give Swindon the ball back and the Saddlers definitely felt that pressure. Despite thinking the end of this season will come too soon for Swindon, Morris quickly turning pressing into one of the team’s best assets shows his capabilities as a coach that can mould this team into a much better one with a full pre-season.


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Swindon Town FC

Swindon Town Football Club

STFC are Swindon's top football team, based at The County Ground Stadium.

The County Ground, County Road, Swindon, Wiltshire , SN1 2ED

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