GETTING in the right positions but not putting the ball in the back of the net is a well-worn concept from the bulging book of clichés surrounding the beautiful game.
It’s a term often spouted by those looking at matters through spectacles of a certain rose-tinted shade in a bid to place a positive slant on profligacy.
Small comforts are always welcome but, in their last two games in particular, Swindon Town appear to have developed a worryingly wasteful streak.
When Chesterfield visited the County Ground on March 4, it was perhaps no surprise to see Luke Williams’ side take the initiative and play large swathes of the game on the front foot.
The hosts enjoyed 63 per cent of possession and had 20 shots on goal, dwarfing the four mustered by the Spireites, but in the end, they were punished for not making their opportunities count as the visitors snatched all three points by way of Reece Mitchell’s injury-time winner.
With another ‘must-win’ assignment on the menu at Port Vale on Saturday, Swindon again took the game to their opponents.
Chances were quickly carved out but time and again, a nervous-looking Valiants side were left unpunished as Ben Gladwin curled meekly wide from a promising position and James Brophy failed to drive home from close-range.
Even such an accomplished finisher as Nicky Ajose was guilty of letting Vale off the hook within the opening 35 minutes.
Brophy’s electric dribbling ability allowed him to breeze past opponents from the right flank while Gladwin, who operated from wide at the other side of the pitch, also found himself drifting into the centre of the pitch with regularity but those moments would all-too-often end with the ball ending up at the feet of a home defender or high in the stand.
Then later on, with Swindon trailing, Ajose and Jonathan Obika, who formed such a deadly duo last season, quite literally got in each others’ way.
If Town are to dramatically pull themselves from the fire, they will need to discover some conviction and composure in the final third that has been sorely lacking in recent weeks.