MARK Cooper branded Swindon Town’s performance in their 1-1 draw with Crewe Alexandra as “one of the best” of their season so far.
Vadaine Oliver’s wonder-striker with 14 minutes remaining earned Alex a point at Gresty Road after Town dominated much of the match and went ahead through Ryan Harley’s thunderbolt three minutes after half-time.
In his post-match interviews, Cooper cut a frustrated figure, lamenting his team’s profligacy up front, where Michael Smith and Nathan Thompson both squandered good chances.
“It’s very, very frustrating. I thought it was maybe one of our best performances. I thought we totally dominated the game for 80 minutes and we gave them a little bit of a lift and they finished a little bit stronger, but the game should have been dead,” he said.
“It should have been over. You can’t have that much play in and around the final third and still be only winning 1-0. That’s something we had to get right but the forward players are still young lads and they’re still learning their trade.”
Compared to Tuesday night’s lethargic display in the draw with Crawley Town, this was a reinvigorated Swindon display.
The diamond midfield quartet of Harley, Massimo Luongo, Yaser Kasim and Louis Thompson controlled long spells of the game. Crewe were mostly left chasing shadows, but Town still struggled to find a killer touch in front of goal.
The Robins were slightly fortunate not to have ended up losing the tie, as Chuks Aneke missed a first-half penalty for Alex. Though Cooper rightly chose to focus on the positives.
“The difference was the possession was there on Tuesday but not much there in the final third,” he said.
“I thought our movement and our passing was more incisive today. We got runners in behind and you’re not talking about half chances – you’re talking about balls being rolled across the six-yard box for a tap-in and people missing it, people going through one on one.
“The law of averages says it can’t happen but that’s football and that’s why it’s such an interesting game.
“We’ve got Michael Smith and Jacob Murphy that are young lads and they have to learn if they get that many chances and that much possession in the final third; they have to make it count.”
Of Oliver’s equaliser for Crewe, Cooper said: “I think the goalie should save it. I think it’s straight at him from 30 yards and it’s gone over his head. I’d be disappointed with our goalie for letting that in. He’s done really well today, Ty (Belford), but I felt he should have saved the goal.”