Mixed start to the season for Swindon Town

By Alfie Howlett - 1 September 2023


Link football correspondent Alfie Howlett delivers his verdict

After weeks of waiting the football season is back. 

And for an array of reasons, it feels as if it has never left us. Particularly because after Swindon’s first game, I left feeling unsure at the fact that some bad habits from last season still lingered. 

That’s right - Swindon still can’t protect a lead. But let’s try and start on a more positive note, shall we?

At the time of writing, Town have only played two matches, with their opening day fixture breaking a record for the first time an opening fixture has been postponed due to a waterlogged pitch! As a result, we shall study the Robins' first two games. 

The first saw them fall on penalties after a 1-1 draw at Peterborough in the League Cup. However, despite failing to progress, Swindon should take a great deal of pride and confidence from the result, having held their own against higher level opposition. 

Their second game, the first of the league season, displayed Swindon at both their best and worst. For the large proportion of the game Town looked organised, spirited, and energetic. 

However, after sailing into a comfortable lead they collapsed. After failing to hold on to a lead on several occasions in the previous season, Town had started their new campaign back to square one. Although in this contest Swindon offered more than enough encouragement this was overruled by the worrying failure to address last season’s main issue.

Now, on to the players who have already shown glimpses of potential. The first player who has impressed me is Udoka Godwin-Malife. 

The centre back was poached from league rivals Forest Green with Marcel Lavinier involved as currency between the two clubs. Town’s new acquisition has shone through his commanding strength and power. As well as this he has demonstrated strong capabilities to overlap into the attacking third. 

In fact, Godwin-Malife has already shown his goal-scoring prowess after opening his Town account on his home debut. Along the way 23-year-old has also gone viral for his changing room rendition of John Legend’s All of me.

Secondly, new signing Dan Kemp has shown flashes of brilliance. 

Town’s new number 10 was brought in on a season-long loan from MK Dons in the summer. Since then, he spectacularly announced himself with an exquisite volley on his debut against Plymouth. To date, I’ve been impressed with the midfielder’s willingness to take on the difficult passes. Although they don’t always come off, Swindon will benefit from a player of Kemp’s quality when it comes to unlocking backlines. Moreover, Kemp possesses skilful flare which as a fan is exciting to watch.

So, to conclude, Swindon have shown a handful of reasons to feel positive for the months ahead. However, Town have also demonstrated a few red flags which should be a cause for concern. 

Nonetheless, nobody ever wins the league in August so there is plenty of time for Michael Flynn’s men to iron out some early faults. 

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