Swindon Town In The FA Cup

By Swindon Link - 31 October 2022

Sport

The FA Cup is the one competition where football fans of all clubs can truly believe miracles will happen. Yes, the venerated old trophy lacks some of its former glamour, but for fans, the prospect of a good cup run is guaranteed to get the juices flowing.

  • Gloworm 44 at English Wikipedia, Swindon Town July 07, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

    Gloworm 44 at English Wikipedia, Swindon Town July 07, marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Sadly, for Swindon Supermarine, those dreams have been put to bed for another season following their 5-1 thrashing by Farnborough in the Third Qualifying Round.

It was Nick Hornby, in his seminal book Fever Pitch, who said, 'the natural state of a football fan is bitter disappointment, no matter what the score', and he's an Arsenal fan! His disappointment is frequently broken by the odd trophy or, at worst, some breathtaking football. What about lower down the league like Swindon Town, where disappointments are measured in decades, mediocrity is the default mode, and a 92nd-minute winner at home to Sutton United is as good as it gets!

There have been some good moments for the Robins. Beating Arsenal in the 1969 League Cup Final, for example, the Premier League for one glorious season in the early 1990s and defeating Wigan Athletic in a FA Cup tie back in 2012. To date, this is perhaps the biggest upset caused by our local team, although facing Man City in the competition last season was a big moment, even if the result didn't go their way.

With a First Round draw away to newly promoted Stockport County this season, the Robins have the chance to dream big. When the teams met earlier in the season at Edgeley Park, The Guardian reports the home side needed a late equaliser from Antoni Sarcevic to earn a point after Swindon had taken the lead through Frazer Blake-Tracy. The Hatters are back in the EFL for the first time since they were relegated to the National League back in 2010/11; the fans have been turning up in large numbers averaging more than 7,000 a game; Swindon can expect a tough battle if they are to progress to the next round. They’re massive outsiders to actually win the FA Cup in the Coral odds, but they can still write a piece of history and, who knows, maybe even allow younger supporters to savour their own notable giant killing so often associated with the FA Cup?

Swindon have given their fans such an experience in recent years. Managed by Italian Paolo Di Canio in 2011/2012, the road to the Third Round had been steady rather than spectacular, defeating Huddersfield at home 4-1 and Colchester United away 1-0. Meanwhile, Wigan Athletic may not have been the most glamourous name in English football, but at the time, they were handling themselves very well in the Premier League.

More than 13,000 crammed into the County Ground to witness history but soon felt deflated after Callum McManaman scored from the rebound after Ben Watson's penalty hit the post. However, when Alan Connell levelled soon after, the ground was rocking with Matt Ritchie at the heart of all that was good from the Robins. And it was Scottish international Ritchie's long-distance effort which was deflected in via Paul Benson, which sent the fans home happy.

Unfortunately, the cup run ended at Leicester City in the next round as Swindon slipped to a 2-0 loss. It would not be all doom and gloom, though. Swindon made a few quid from their cup run, and their Country Ground became a fortress for the rest of the campaign conceding just one more goal on their way to winning the League Two title and promotion as champions.

How nice would it be for a repeat of that this season?!
 

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