Optimism was high around the stadium as Swindon kicked off their League Two campaign. On the show of the 3-0 victory, optimism had not been misplaced. As well as it being our first victory of the season, it was also our first home of the calender year.
On reflection of the first half, the final scoreline does look rather kind to Swindon. The team were slow out of the blocks, a mixture of nerves and a team not quite gelled contributing to it. Debutant Joe Devera made an almost fatal error, losing possession in his own half and Swindon were only saved by an Aden Flint challenge.
This scary moment appeared to kick-start Swindon into life and started to attack and pass the ball around nicely. Matt Ritchie was booked for a late, sliding challenge in Crewe's area from a corner; extremely unnecessary but showed his desire hasn't been lost.
Town got there just rewards fifteen minutes into the second with a stunning volley captain Oliver Risser following a blocked shot from Billy Bodin. Overall, his performance wasn't much to write home about, but that goal overshadowed it. Paolo Di Canio's slide across the grass following the goal was superb; he still kicks every ball and makes every tackle alongside the players. Brilliant.
Swindon managed to put the cherry on the cake when Aden Flint scored the third. Flint was outstanding today and fully deserved his goal. Seen as back-up behind new signings Joe Devera and Alberto Comazzi, he really made a claim to become a more permanent fixture in the side.
Billy Bodin also impressed me today; much like Matt Ritchie, the youngster has really bulked up over the summer. Bodin showed some lovely touches and always looked to be involved in the play. Other youngster Callum Kennedy was assured at the back and clearly possesses a sweet left foot.
The ever present Matt Ritchie and Paul Caddis continue to impress me and showed some good link-up play on the right channel. Etienne Ejasas is likely to start on the left so is a partnership that could really blossom this season.
Paolo Di Canio has certainly instilled a passing, fluent style onto the side; very much similar to that of Dario Gradi's Crewe side. The test will come when we play a more physical, 'hoof ball' side, of which there is plenty in League Two. Our squad has a lot of small, nimble players so the likes of Aden Flint, Oliver Risser and Alan McCormack will be vital for their physical presence.
With games will come players gelling more as a team which is only a positive. Di Canio needs to ensure his troops start every game as they started the second half today; mistakes and nerves could cost against another team on another day. It is early days, but on evidence of today, the optimism descending on SN1 has not been misplaced.