Fleetwood Town came out on top in the Sky Bet League One relegation clash against Swindon Town as they thrashed the Wiltshire club 5-1 at Highbury Stadium yesterday.
Swindon failed to secure back-to-back wins under new boss Martin Ling, as they conceded four second half goals to continue their miserable start to the season.
The Robins carved out a glut of chances in what was an entertaining first-half – Anton Rodgers, Nicky Ajose and Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill all going close.
The visitors paid the price after failing to convert their chances and Fleetwood went ahead on 34 minutes thanks to an own goal by Swindon’s Adam El-Abd.
As the second half commenced, the Robins looked lost and were torn apart by Fleetwood.
They gave away a penalty on 55 minutes as Swindon goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux came out and tried to grab the ball, but fouled David Ball. The referee was close by and awarded the penalty to Fleetwood, allowing Antoni Sarcevic to step up and convert the spot-kick.
A comeback was never on the cards and Swindon players seemed like they had already accepted defeat. Further strikes from David Henen, Tariqe Fosu and Bobby Grant heaped more misery on Ling’s side.
Nicky Ajose’s seventh goal of the season on 78 minutes proved to be nothing more than a consolation for Swindon.
Swindon’s revival under Ling has lasted just a week and they dropped into 22nd place in League One. Fleetwood climbed out of the bottom four to 19th, but are still only one point clear of the relegation zone.
Football League World writer Ashley Williams identifies three things that we learned from yesterday’s game..
1) Is Ling the right man to save Swindon’s season?
There were raised eyebrows when Ling was put in charge at the County Ground although it looked like the perfect start to his reign when they beat Scunthorpe United in their last game.
Yesterday’s performance was woeful however, and Ling made his feelings perfectly clear after the game describing the performance as “not good enough”.
It looked like the Swindon players just rolled over when they went 3-0 down and stopped trying.
Ling has a big job on his hands as that performance showed how low the confidence is in the Swindon dressing room.
2) Fleetwood encouraging performances of late have finally paid off
Despite Fleetwood still being a long way away from being out of trouble, they have showed some encouraging signs lately under new manager Steven Pressley.
They were unlucky in their losses to Chesterfield and Peterborough United recently.
Pressley has really got the team going and today’s hammering definitely indicated that.
3) Swindon’s hesitant back five
Swindon’s defence were almost hard to watch at times.
There was no communication at all and they looked very shaky all afternoon. Goalkeeper Vigouroux gave away the penalty and played out some shaky exchanges to Raphael Blanco, who was also at fault for two Fleetwood goals.
El-Abd scored an own goal and was regularly beaten for pace all afternoon.
All in all, it was a shambolic display from the back five.
Fleetwood and Swindon fans… what did you think of the game? Can Ling save Swindon’s season? Was it too easy for Fleetwood today? Let us know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!