Lifeless Latics sell fans short
Reporter: MATTHEW CHAMBERS
Date online: 17 December 2012
Athletic 0, Swindon 2
Players lack effort and ideas
ATHLETIC again fell short here. Short in terms of points gained; short in terms of character shown, short in significant attempts on goal, short on expectation and short on toughness.
It won’t do. Not for chairman Simon Corney and not for the remainder of a loyal fan base which will only dwindle further as a result of watching rubbish like this.
Manager Paul Dickov banged the drum in the build-up that his men had to be switched-on for the Swindon game.
It is some stage to reach when well-paid professional athletes have to be reminded continually that their jobs need to be completed to a high standard, in front of an audience which has paid £20 each for the privilege of watching them perform.
But this is where we are: with a talented but infuriating Athletic team – seemingly stuck forever in the purgatory of 16th place – which picks and chooses where and when its efforts are channeled.
Perhaps nobody should have been surprised at this defeat, courtesy of two Raffaele De Vita goals in a first half that was owned by Swindon.
Athletic are calamitous at Boundary Park, having lost five of their 11 league games, because the threat posed is entirely down to how wingers Lee Croft and Cristian Montano decide to play.
If they carry the team forward, as they did to great effect at Colchester, then Baxter is able to find pockets of room in the middle of the pitch to create.
If they are stifled by a canny manager – here Paolo Di Canio – then Athletic fall apart as an attacking force.
Mvoto wasn’t alone in having his worst game in weeks. Swindon comprehensively bullied Athletic out of the game.
The right flank was the source of both of inverted left-winger De Vita’s goals. First, he hammered a right-foot shot low past Alex Cisak. Then as the visitors continued to pour forward, three
minutes later the Italian’s scuffed shot from a Nathan Thompson cross trickled past Cisak.
With just over half an hour gone, the game was over. It could have been worse for Athletic.
Athletic’s first shot of the game came after 48 minutes, the blameless Derbyshire not able to get hold of his 20-yard strike properly. At least it was on target.
With 14 minutes left and Robbie Simpson on the field as Athletic’s last change, there was drama when Cisak had to retire hurt following a nasty collision with Williams.
Simpson pulled on a spare goalkeeper jersey and as Athletic ended the contest with only 10 men, the home crowd were at least able to cheer one very effective punch clear of a Ritchie cross from a
There wasn’t much else to be happy about on a gravely dispiriting afternoon.
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