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Why íkeeper role fell to me

Reporter: Robbie Simpson
Date online: 21 December 2012

The Latics star writes every week for Chron Sport

I FEEL the same way as everyone else about our 2-0 home loss to Swindon Town: it was disappointing to say the least.

After the run of form we’ve had, and with a week of very good preparation, we went into the match in high spirits.

Perhaps we were slightly over-hyped, though I know it didn’t look that way on the pitch. We were so keen to make our mark against a top-10 side and show we can challenge in this division.

I can’t imagine how the manager must have felt after seeing how up for it we were all week, with sky-high confidence. We just weren’t at the races.

That’s football, but as a group of players we have to learn from it.

Since Swindon, we have talked about how to react when we realise during a match that things are not going our way: we must stop our opponents dominating possession and dictating the match; then we have to find a way of getting back to our game plan, and playing the way we want.

This is a lot easier if experienced players are on the pitch.

Cliff Byrne is 30, with many Football League appearances under his belt, so when he went off injured early on against Swindon it didn’t help.

If things aren’t going your way in a game and you are young and inexperienced, you sometimes try too hard and it makes matters worse.

When our goalkeeper, Alex Cisak, had to go off with a head injury, I stepped in for a late cameo between the sticks.

It required someone with a big kick and a bit of height, so I thought maybe Jonathan Grounds or Matt Smith, but Groundsy is a defender so we needed him to stay where he was and Matt has a history of scoring late goals, so we needed him up front.

Not trusting anyone else, I stepped up and did it myself. Goalkeeping coach Paul Gerrard told me the trick: kick it long, then scream at defenders not to let shots through!

To be fair, they didn’t!

We go to Yeovil this weekend looking to return to winning ways. It is always a tough place to go; the pitch isn’t great and their supporters back them all the way.

They are similar to us in terms of budget and only a couple of places above us in the table, so it should be close.

We want to write off the Swindon result as a blip, draw a line under it and strive to go on another unbeaten run.


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