Swindon fans need to keep calm

Monday 29th April 2013 15:24

Marcello Trotta: Penalty miss proved costly for Bees

Marcello Trotta: Penalty miss proved costly for Bees

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FanZone's Swindon blogger Christopher Panks reflects on Saturday's dramatic finale and looks forward to the play-off battle with Brentford.

An incredible finale at Griffin Park, surely of sufficient significance as to elevate the game to final day folklore, confirmed that Swindon and Brentford would compete for a trip to Wembley. A place in the Championship, a visit to QPR at stake.

Marcello Trotta and James Coppinger now must surely become as synonymous with final-day drama as goalkeeper Jimmy Glass, whose winning goal against Plymouth Argyle in the final fixture of the 1999 season kept Carlisle in the Football League.

Coppinger, the scorer, played a big part, but it is Trotta's influence that will be recounted repeatedly by Jeff Stelling and Football Focus presenters of the future.

In injury time, Brentford were awarded a penalty. The sharp point of the 90-minute 'final' had been whittled to a diamond-like point. With everything equal to this moment, the match, the season would be defined not by the squad, the manager or fans. No longer 11v11, this game would be one on one, Trotta against Neil Sullivan. One simple kick. Score to go up.

Ten seconds later, having hit the bar and watched in agony as their opponents take the lead, in a turn of events that couldn't have been scripted better by the Roy of the Rovers writing team, it was confirmed that Swindon's play-off opponents would be the dejected Bees.

Several hundred miles north, after the Robins had taken the lead at all-but relegated Scunthorpe, the worrying trend of conceding both from set-pieces and penalties continued, to end the match disappointingly. Far less was at stake in Yorkshire as Scunthorpe were relying on Colchester losing with a goal swing that defied common sense - and Swindon's place in the play-offs had already been confirmed.

Still it is frustrating to concede a winning position in a five-minute spell, particularly to a team who will next year be plying their trade in League Two. As palpable as the disappointment was at Griffin Park, that their season had been extended by at least two games, you'd be forgiven for thinking that it was Swindon who had been so cruelly robbed of their chance to go up automatically.

Judging from the reaction on social media and other parts of the internet, it seems as though many fans were confused and thought that, in fact, Swindon's place in the division, not that of their hosts, was in doubt. Football is an emotive game, there are highs and lows, some would argue that is why we love it. The immediacy of communication in the modern world, coupled with the variety of channels available to voice one's immediate opinion, has spawned a new type of rabid, unenlightened correspondence. One which serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever.

Perhaps sharing every minute of their lives on Twitter or Facebook has filled them with the inaccurate notion that anybody cares what they think. Whatever the cause, the result is content sourced exclusively from Cretin-on-Twerp.

Before the match has even finished those who have not attended the match are calling for the manager's head, criticising tactics that they haven't seen the result of, performances they've imagined and most importantly, his shared nationality with a former manager who wasn't very successful.

Every week the local media are forced to read comments which veer violently week-to-week between blue-skied idealism which imagine European triumph in three years to impending non-league status depending on the result.

There's a Spanish proverb which roughly translates "if you cannot improve the silence, do not break it." I'm off to Spain.

By Christopher Panks, FanZone's Swindon blogger - you can follow him on Twitter here.

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