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SWINDON TOWN: Perfect timing for Ritchie
6:10am Monday 27th August 2012 in STFC News
MATT Ritchie accepted that Swindon Town caught MK Dons at the perfect time of the season, with several key men unavailable for the clash at the County Ground on Saturday.
The Dons were missing Anthony Kay, Alan Smith and Stephen Gleeson through suspension and Mathias Doumbe because of injury when they arrived in Wiltshire over the weekend.
And the visitors struggled to get a stranglehold on the game at any point as Swindon dominated, with James Collins’ goal on the stroke of half-time eventually proving the difference between the sides.
Ritchie conceded that Town were fortunate to face the Dons, widely tipped to be challenging for promotion, during a bout of absenteeism – but he stressed that Swindon were made to work hard for their three points.
“They’ll be up there for sure,” said the winger.
“They’re a good side, they’ve got good players, and we were a little bit lucky because they had a few players missing through suspension and injuries so we caught them at a good time of the season.
“But all credit to us today, we put in a good team performance and won the game.
“It was a good team performance. I think we defended from the front and we looked very strong at the back and Wes in goal made a couple of good saves.
“Maybe we should have put the game to bed and scored a second but it’s tough when a team go down to 10 men.
“It makes it a little bit harder at times and it did today.
“But the lads stuck in there and kept the ball well and it was a good win.”
Ritchie was handed his second successive man of the match award by fans using an online poll during the game.
In his honest assessment, however, he revealed that he did not think he was right at the top of his game, saying: “I’m not sure what that’s all about. “As the gaffer said, I didn’t have a great game today. It’s nice to get man of the match but it doesn’t really matter, it’s about the team and the team was brilliant again today.”
The Dons were reduced to 10 men after 40 minutes when Dean Lewington was shown a red card by referee David Phillips for lashing out at Simon Ferry.
Ritchie did not see much of the incident but suggested that having a man advantage worked against Swindon in the second period.
“I didn’t see it very clearly but from where I was standing it seemed like he raised his arm and caught Si on the side of the head,” he said. “I don’t know whether it was a positive change for us.
“We seemed to have a lot of the possession in the first half until he got sent off and then we sort of didn’t get going again. It was probably a negative effect for us but we’ve won the game and look forward to the cup game in midweek.”