NATHAN Byrne says Swindon Town’s players are “happy and proud” of their performances in 2013/14, despite watching their slight hopes of claiming a play-off place come to an end at Meadow Lane on Saturday.
Goals from Alan Sheehan and Callum McGregor handed Notts County a 2-0 victory, in a game which saw Town reduced to nine men following the late dismissals of Troy Archibald-Henville and captain Nathan Thompson.
Swindon can now finish no lower than eighth in League One but are unable to catch Peterborough United in sixth and, while he accepted that a little disappointment still existed in the Robins’ changing room, Byrne stressed that overall Town can be satisfied with their efforts this season.
He said: “Obviously we’re disappointed with the result today but it feels a bit better knowing that Peterborough won anyway and we wouldn’t have been able to make it, even if we did win.
“It’s disappointing that we’ve missed out for the last few games because we were going on a good run, but these things happen and I think the lads are happy and are proud of how far they’ve come this year and what they’ve done.
“I think we’ve achieved above the fans’ expectations from the start of the season but we knew, while the team was being put together in the summer, it was all young boys wanting to do well, wanting to get better.
“We all knew we wanted to play the same style of football and I think if you’ve all got the same mindset you can surprise people, and I think we have done that with not just our fans but a few other teams this year.
“The lads have grown as players, individuals and as a team as the season’s gone on and that’s only a positive thing going into next season. Hopefully we can do just a little bit better.”
Byrne echoed the frustrations of his manager, Mark Cooper, at the performance of referee Richard Clark and his assistants at Meadow Lane, saying: “I think we were disappointed today, not just with the cards given out but in general.
“We weren’t happy at all but you’re not going to get it your way every week. You’ve just got to deal with it, I guess.”
In a physical game, Byrne felt Town stood up to Notts’s test, saying: “It was hard for us to play our game. It was bobbling from start to finish.
“If you made the right pass, perfectly executed, it was still bobbling.
“It was tough to play our game and they made it scrappy. Fair play to them, they got an early goal and we were chasing it from then.”