COVENTRY 1 SWINDON TOWN 2: Smith makes it a Good Friday for the Robins

Swindon Town celebrate Michael Smith's late winner against Coventry

Swindon Town celebrate Michael Smith's late winner against Coventry

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TRADITIONALLY, Easter is the celebration of a second coming. For Michael Smith, Good Friday 2014 could be a platform for just that.

Smith, the January acquisition from Charlton Athletic, has struggled to endear himself to Swindon Town fans since his six-figure switch from The Valley, despite netting six times in 16 appearances prior to the trip to Coventry City yesterday.

He had incurred the wrath of his own supporters at the County Ground, mocked and jeered for a series of nervous performances. Perhaps now that might all change.

Smith rose highest in the 93rd minute at Sixfields yesterday to head home Jay McEveley’s cross and secure a dramatic three points for Town. More than 1,000 disciples in the away end went bonkers. Maybe this will keep the critics at bay for now.

Otherwise, the 22-year-old was a useful cog in a Swindon machine that looked well-oiled, well drilled and remarkably fluid. For the first 30 minutes Coventry simply couldn’t get near the visitors and Alex Pritchard’s tidy finish in the eighth minute had given Town a deserved lead.

However, as we’ve learnt from recent developments in the SN1 boardroom, this club doesn’t know how to do things the easy way. Had it not been for Joe Murphy’s terrific shot-stopping powers – the Sky Blues’ keeper kept out Massimo Luongo and Smith with two excellent first-half saves – Coventry would have been dead and buried.

But at Easter, comebacks are king. And John Fleck was the home hero in the immediate moments before half-time, as he found space on the edge of the box to drill home left-footed.

The second half lacked as many clear-cut chances, though Jack Stephens did clear off the line from Nathan Eccleston, and it seemed to be drifting towards a draw only for Smith to float through the air to score the goal that perhaps means the most to him of those he has scored for Swindon.

Resurrection may be an overstatement. It was certainly exhilarating.

Town started brightly and in the second minute worked Murphy in the Coventry goal. Pritchard muscled his way down the left flank and chipped a wicked cross into the back post where Smith rose above his marker to head goalwards. The ball seemed destined for the top corner, only for Murphy to stick out his left hand and paw to safety.

Callum Wilson wasted a good chance for the hosts moments later, ballooning over from 15 yards after being offered acres of space inside the Swindon box, before McEveley dragged horribly wide from range.

It was an entertaining and rambunctious start to proceedings and, within eight minutes, Town had fired themselves in front. Nathan Byrne’s delightful chipped pass into the Coventry area picked out Nathan Thompson and, when the full-back couldn’t keep hold of possession, the loose ball fell to the feet of Pritchard, who lashed confidently beyond Murphy.

With both teams willing to play expansive, high-tempo football, the chances kept coming. In the 18th minute, Wilson hooked Carl Baker’s corner narrowly wide at the near post, while Pritchard perhaps should have found the target at the back post with a header after Murphy had flapped at McEveley’s corner.

With eight minutes left before half-time, Murphy was called into action once again, as Luongo pulled the trigger from 25 yards. The Australian’s shot dipped late and the Sky Blues keeper did well to leap to his left and push the ball out for a corner.

Coventry were largely second best for much of the first half but in the final five minutes of the period they accelerated through the gears and, with their first shot on target of the game, levelled matters in the 43rd minute.

Fleck picked up possession 30 yards from goal and was allowed to drive on to the edge of the area, from where his left-footed effort beat Wes Foderingham to his bottom, left-hand corner.

Swindon needed half-time to regroup and the 15-minute interval appeared to have done them good as they began the second half with renewed composure.

Gladwin dragged a shot wide from 20 yards, Smith’s was blocked, McEveley hacked over and Jack Stephens saw a deflected header fall past the wrong side of the post.

Thompson was next to get in behind the Coventry backline, in the 67th minute, but after collecting Smith’s tidy pass he saw his attempt pushed out for a corner by Murphy.

Pritchard and Smith both wasted further chances for the visitors, while a terrible attempt from Cyrus Christie for the hosts almost ended up back in Coventry itself. Pritchard saw a fizzing effort deflected wide for a corner, from which Murphy made a terrific save to keep out Troy Archibald-Henville at close range when the loose ball fell to the Ton centre-back in the six-yard box.

At the other end, substitute Eccleston hit a wild effort off-target before coming within inches of stealing victory for the hosts with two minutes of the 90 remaining. The striker met a whipped cross from the right and prodded beyond Foderingham, only for the backtracking Stephens to hack the ball clear as it dribbled towards the goalline.

Everything seemed set to be shared but it wasn’t to be. Roared on by a boisterous away support, McEveley seized possession just inside the Coventry half in the final minute of injury time, pushed on and curled a gorgeous cross into the area. Smith’s finish was superb, as were the scenes in amongst the visitors’ fans at the final whistle.

A very happy Easter.

Comments (11)

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8:25am Sat 19 Apr 14

We are PANTS says...

Brilliant!!! With Peanutbutter getting beat last night could we start too believe?? Expect a big crowd Monday know!!! COYR'ssssssss
Brilliant!!! With Peanutbutter getting beat last night could we start too believe?? Expect a big crowd Monday know!!! COYR'ssssssss We are PANTS
  • Score: 4

9:31am Sat 19 Apr 14

the wizard says...

I see Sam is back to post codes as opposed to names then, LOL, anyway a brilliant win yesterday for us and of course Bradford. Mr Ferg-ooo-son will no doubt have his troops sharpened up for their next game but the pressure is on them now to keep winning. Anyroad, if they go up, can they stay there, history suggests not, lol.

On a more serious note it seems we were all over Coventry and just didn't go looking for an away point, which would have been an easy option. Instead we kept going, kept playing and efforts brings rewards. Very pleased for Smith, and hopefully that will get a few off his back, he deserves better than what he had to endure lately but the mark of the man is to keep going and let his talent rise above. A very welcome 3 points to keep the focus on the team. Well done to MC for keeping things right in the dressing room with all the other distractions.
I see Sam is back to post codes as opposed to names then, LOL, anyway a brilliant win yesterday for us and of course Bradford. Mr Ferg-ooo-son will no doubt have his troops sharpened up for their next game but the pressure is on them now to keep winning. Anyroad, if they go up, can they stay there, history suggests not, lol. On a more serious note it seems we were all over Coventry and just didn't go looking for an away point, which would have been an easy option. Instead we kept going, kept playing and efforts brings rewards. Very pleased for Smith, and hopefully that will get a few off his back, he deserves better than what he had to endure lately but the mark of the man is to keep going and let his talent rise above. A very welcome 3 points to keep the focus on the team. Well done to MC for keeping things right in the dressing room with all the other distractions. the wizard
  • Score: 4

10:18am Sat 19 Apr 14

Rebel_phish says...

Brilliant win yesterday, but these last minute winners are such a strain.

So, as it stands, with last night's results,
6 - Posh 67 pts
7 - Town 63 pts

Posh are obviously in the box seat and need just 5 pts from 9 to guarantee playoff spot - 1 win & 2 draws

Town need to win last 3 games to gain a max of 72 pts. But if Posh bottle it, we may only need 1 win and 1 draw to pinch it on GD

Posh run in
Carlisle - home
Shrewsbury - away
Port Vale - home

Looks easy on paper, but with both Carlisle and Shrews battling for survival, both games will be hard to call.

Town run in - if you need to know
Bradford - home
Notts - away
Rotherham - home

3 tough games for the Town. Bradford are mid table but will be no roll-over. Look at last night's result. Notts may still need the points for a chance of survival. Rotherham, in the play-offs, but playing for home advantage.

It could still be all to play for on the last day, and who knows, we could just be playing Rotherham again in the semi's.

Can we do it? Will Posh slip up? We will soon find out.
Brilliant win yesterday, but these last minute winners are such a strain. So, as it stands, with last night's results, 6 - Posh 67 pts 7 - Town 63 pts Posh are obviously in the box seat and need just 5 pts from 9 to guarantee playoff spot - 1 win & 2 draws Town need to win last 3 games to gain a max of 72 pts. But if Posh bottle it, we may only need 1 win and 1 draw to pinch it on GD Posh run in Carlisle - home Shrewsbury - away Port Vale - home Looks easy on paper, but with both Carlisle and Shrews battling for survival, both games will be hard to call. Town run in - if you need to know Bradford - home Notts - away Rotherham - home 3 tough games for the Town. Bradford are mid table but will be no roll-over. Look at last night's result. Notts may still need the points for a chance of survival. Rotherham, in the play-offs, but playing for home advantage. It could still be all to play for on the last day, and who knows, we could just be playing Rotherham again in the semi's. Can we do it? Will Posh slip up? We will soon find out. Rebel_phish
  • Score: 3

10:27am Sat 19 Apr 14

Rebel_phish says...

btw

Posh have had a 4 and 5 match losing streak.

Town have only won 3 in a row twice, but we are 4 wins from last 5
btw Posh have had a 4 and 5 match losing streak. Town have only won 3 in a row twice, but we are 4 wins from last 5 Rebel_phish
  • Score: 0

10:31am Sat 19 Apr 14

We are PANTS says...

Five points would not guarantee Posh a play off place as goal difference would come into play... Currently plus 3 in their favour but if town were to win those 3 games it would defo swing back the other way... Big ask, but a very awkward game for Posh Monday.. Drop points against Carlise and it's game on!!!!
Five points would not guarantee Posh a play off place as goal difference would come into play... Currently plus 3 in their favour but if town were to win those 3 games it would defo swing back the other way... Big ask, but a very awkward game for Posh Monday.. Drop points against Carlise and it's game on!!!! We are PANTS
  • Score: 0

10:46am Sat 19 Apr 14

the wizard says...

We are PANTS wrote:
Five points would not guarantee Posh a play off place as goal difference would come into play... Currently plus 3 in their favour but if town were to win those 3 games it would defo swing back the other way... Big ask, but a very awkward game for Posh Monday.. Drop points against Carlise and it's game on!!!!
And, and, and they have a player banned for being sent off, and Ajose was subbed again, not playing his best games right now.

If only, if only, if only Ranger hadn't missed those earlier games and was fit now, but it only happens here.

I think Cooper has quietly done a better job than many of us think, and suddenly now its ours to win if others lose their heads and games.

Very much still all to play for.
[quote][p][bold]We are PANTS[/bold] wrote: Five points would not guarantee Posh a play off place as goal difference would come into play... Currently plus 3 in their favour but if town were to win those 3 games it would defo swing back the other way... Big ask, but a very awkward game for Posh Monday.. Drop points against Carlise and it's game on!!!![/p][/quote]And, and, and they have a player banned for being sent off, and Ajose was subbed again, not playing his best games right now. If only, if only, if only Ranger hadn't missed those earlier games and was fit now, but it only happens here. I think Cooper has quietly done a better job than many of us think, and suddenly now its ours to win if others lose their heads and games. Very much still all to play for. the wizard
  • Score: 3

12:05pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Coleview Red says...

the wizard wrote:
We are PANTS wrote:
Five points would not guarantee Posh a play off place as goal difference would come into play... Currently plus 3 in their favour but if town were to win those 3 games it would defo swing back the other way... Big ask, but a very awkward game for Posh Monday.. Drop points against Carlise and it's game on!!!!
And, and, and they have a player banned for being sent off, and Ajose was subbed again, not playing his best games right now.

If only, if only, if only Ranger hadn't missed those earlier games and was fit now, but it only happens here.

I think Cooper has quietly done a better job than many of us think, and suddenly now its ours to win if others lose their heads and games.

Very much still all to play for.
I think Mark Cooper has done a fantastic job. At times our football has been of the very highest quality. We have rode our luck at times and won games we might have lost, but then we have lost games we should have won. We have at least 8 players who would slot into a Championship team which bodes well for next season, be it in L1 or The Championship. Has Mr Cooper made mistakes, yes - but don't we all. All things considered we have had a very good season, the next couple of weeks will determine if it will be a great season.

Mr Cooper and Mr Power deserve a lot of credit for the way the club is playing football, and long may it continue.
[quote][p][bold]the wizard[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]We are PANTS[/bold] wrote: Five points would not guarantee Posh a play off place as goal difference would come into play... Currently plus 3 in their favour but if town were to win those 3 games it would defo swing back the other way... Big ask, but a very awkward game for Posh Monday.. Drop points against Carlise and it's game on!!!![/p][/quote]And, and, and they have a player banned for being sent off, and Ajose was subbed again, not playing his best games right now. If only, if only, if only Ranger hadn't missed those earlier games and was fit now, but it only happens here. I think Cooper has quietly done a better job than many of us think, and suddenly now its ours to win if others lose their heads and games. Very much still all to play for.[/p][/quote]I think Mark Cooper has done a fantastic job. At times our football has been of the very highest quality. We have rode our luck at times and won games we might have lost, but then we have lost games we should have won. We have at least 8 players who would slot into a Championship team which bodes well for next season, be it in L1 or The Championship. Has Mr Cooper made mistakes, yes - but don't we all. All things considered we have had a very good season, the next couple of weeks will determine if it will be a great season. Mr Cooper and Mr Power deserve a lot of credit for the way the club is playing football, and long may it continue. Coleview Red
  • Score: 9

3:11pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Oi Den! says...

Coleview, I completely with agree with your assessment of the manager. Where I would disagree is on your assertion that we have at least 8 players capable of playing at the next level. If we have so many players of that standard, how come we are 27 points away from a promotion place? That would suggest Cooper isn't doing very well at all. Both can't be true, can they?

I'd say we have 3 or 4 players of that quality. If the unlikely event that we scrape into the play-offs and the even more unlikely event that we gain promotion that way, we would need to make massive changes to have any hope of survival. On the other hand, if you're right about those players and we are still in this division next season, many of them will not want to be with us. Players tend not to hang around long at a level below their natural ability.
Coleview, I completely with agree with your assessment of the manager. Where I would disagree is on your assertion that we have at least 8 players capable of playing at the next level. If we have so many players of that standard, how come we are 27 points away from a promotion place? That would suggest Cooper isn't doing very well at all. Both can't be true, can they? I'd say we have 3 or 4 players of that quality. If the unlikely event that we scrape into the play-offs and the even more unlikely event that we gain promotion that way, we would need to make massive changes to have any hope of survival. On the other hand, if you're right about those players and we are still in this division next season, many of them will not want to be with us. Players tend not to hang around long at a level below their natural ability. Oi Den!
  • Score: 0

3:41pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Coleview Red says...

Oi Den! wrote:
Coleview, I completely with agree with your assessment of the manager. Where I would disagree is on your assertion that we have at least 8 players capable of playing at the next level. If we have so many players of that standard, how come we are 27 points away from a promotion place? That would suggest Cooper isn't doing very well at all. Both can't be true, can they?

I'd say we have 3 or 4 players of that quality. If the unlikely event that we scrape into the play-offs and the even more unlikely event that we gain promotion that way, we would need to make massive changes to have any hope of survival. On the other hand, if you're right about those players and we are still in this division next season, many of them will not want to be with us. Players tend not to hang around long at a level below their natural ability.
Fair enough - Of the current squad I would suggest that Wes, Nathan and Louis T, Archibald-Henville, Stephens, Ranger, Kassim and Luongo could all hold their own in the Championship. And maybe Pritchard and Jay? Just one man's opinion.......
[quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: Coleview, I completely with agree with your assessment of the manager. Where I would disagree is on your assertion that we have at least 8 players capable of playing at the next level. If we have so many players of that standard, how come we are 27 points away from a promotion place? That would suggest Cooper isn't doing very well at all. Both can't be true, can they? I'd say we have 3 or 4 players of that quality. If the unlikely event that we scrape into the play-offs and the even more unlikely event that we gain promotion that way, we would need to make massive changes to have any hope of survival. On the other hand, if you're right about those players and we are still in this division next season, many of them will not want to be with us. Players tend not to hang around long at a level below their natural ability.[/p][/quote]Fair enough - Of the current squad I would suggest that Wes, Nathan and Louis T, Archibald-Henville, Stephens, Ranger, Kassim and Luongo could all hold their own in the Championship. And maybe Pritchard and Jay? Just one man's opinion....... Coleview Red
  • Score: 3

7:30pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Oxon-Red says...

Still a very long shot but should Town make the play-offs we would probably go in as the "Form Team". Food for thought :-)

COYMR
Still a very long shot but should Town make the play-offs we would probably go in as the "Form Team". Food for thought :-) COYMR Oxon-Red
  • Score: 0

10:24pm Sat 19 Apr 14

Oi Den! says...

Coleview Red wrote:
Oi Den! wrote:
Coleview, I completely with agree with your assessment of the manager. Where I would disagree is on your assertion that we have at least 8 players capable of playing at the next level. If we have so many players of that standard, how come we are 27 points away from a promotion place? That would suggest Cooper isn't doing very well at all. Both can't be true, can they?

I'd say we have 3 or 4 players of that quality. If the unlikely event that we scrape into the play-offs and the even more unlikely event that we gain promotion that way, we would need to make massive changes to have any hope of survival. On the other hand, if you're right about those players and we are still in this division next season, many of them will not want to be with us. Players tend not to hang around long at a level below their natural ability.
Fair enough - Of the current squad I would suggest that Wes, Nathan and Louis T, Archibald-Henville, Stephens, Ranger, Kassim and Luongo could all hold their own in the Championship. And maybe Pritchard and Jay? Just one man's opinion.......
Also fair enough. The only ones I'd be completely confident about would be Fodders, Stephens and Ranger (but who knows whether he'll want to use his undoubted talent?) . Louis Thompson looks like he'll make it at that level but early days for him. A year ago, I'd have said the same about Nathan; not so sure now as he hasn't progressed this season. Too often he seems to need to foul to stop his man.. He's looked a bit awkward lately. Luongo has the ability but does he have the application?
Various reasons to doubt the rest. Also just one man's opinion.
[quote][p][bold]Coleview Red[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Oi Den![/bold] wrote: Coleview, I completely with agree with your assessment of the manager. Where I would disagree is on your assertion that we have at least 8 players capable of playing at the next level. If we have so many players of that standard, how come we are 27 points away from a promotion place? That would suggest Cooper isn't doing very well at all. Both can't be true, can they? I'd say we have 3 or 4 players of that quality. If the unlikely event that we scrape into the play-offs and the even more unlikely event that we gain promotion that way, we would need to make massive changes to have any hope of survival. On the other hand, if you're right about those players and we are still in this division next season, many of them will not want to be with us. Players tend not to hang around long at a level below their natural ability.[/p][/quote]Fair enough - Of the current squad I would suggest that Wes, Nathan and Louis T, Archibald-Henville, Stephens, Ranger, Kassim and Luongo could all hold their own in the Championship. And maybe Pritchard and Jay? Just one man's opinion.......[/p][/quote]Also fair enough. The only ones I'd be completely confident about would be Fodders, Stephens and Ranger (but who knows whether he'll want to use his undoubted talent?) . Louis Thompson looks like he'll make it at that level but early days for him. A year ago, I'd have said the same about Nathan; not so sure now as he hasn't progressed this season. Too often he seems to need to foul to stop his man.. He's looked a bit awkward lately. Luongo has the ability but does he have the application? Various reasons to doubt the rest. Also just one man's opinion. Oi Den!
  • Score: -1

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