Time and time again this season, a Swindon Town team that has tried to be possession-dominant has been overrun with the slightest effort in midfield.

Only four teams in League Two have averaged more possession than Swindon this season, and yet I have never seen a team run over so easily and so consistently. It didn’t really matter what team was trying to do it, from games like Notts County away and either Milton Keynes Dons match, they both passed straight through or just Sutton United taking every second ball unchallenged.

Were I to list all of the problems that Swindon have had this season on and off the pitch then I would require a week’s worth of newspapers. It would be impossible to fix them with just one change… well maybe one would do. But were I to boil just the on-field issues down to one principle problem then even above the defensive mishaps and second-half collapses, it would be the weakness in midfield that has thrown the entire equilibrium of the team into flux more than anything else.

The whole time it never really seemed to occur to anyone that putting two pretty small youngsters on their own was not working overly well. Swindon have consistently been a small group of Year Sevens being relentlessly bullied by the Year 11s as they nicked their ball. Yet they kept plugging away with that same double pivot no matter the overall shape. But Swindon turned up in Cumbria and those Year Sevens had had a growth spurt on the drive up and had a new friend in tow.

It was the realisation of the fix the Football Manager enthusiasts have wanted all season. I ran a poll on Deadline Day and the overwhelming majority of Town fans wanted a holding midfielder, and yet none arrived. It took another two months of stepping on rakes for someone to arrive who could look at the floor.

To simplify things drastically, Barrow are a supercharged Sutton, and the regular version had embarrassed Swindon five days earlier. The mood was beneath the floor heading into that game and yet things were markedly different. The centre-backs could underlap, but without the opposition laughing their way up the other end on the counterattack. The midfield could run and harry without the fear of the space behind them becoming a stage for some new and wonderfully calamitous error.

Playing 90 minutes for the first time in over three years, Nnamdi Ofoborh helped to close the sinkhole in the middle of the pitch that had dragged the whole season down with it just by standing there.

The Bluebirds still had their gilt-edged chances and Conor McCarthy ensured that Swindon did not miss out on their stamp for inexplicable buffoonery in every game. Town will still be eligible for whatever free item they seem intent on earning through their dedication to making confounding errors each week and producing the best compilation of defending soundtracked by Benny Hill music. But finally, there was structure and a way of limiting the damage, it just came nine months too late.

Anthony Grant was duly lauded for his contributions to the League Two PPG Champions, elevating everyone around him. The most striking way in which this team of the Morfuni Meridian are nothing like Richie Wellens’ is that they have never had that player. No tent pole in the middle of the fabric to support everything and then for one surprisingly sunny afternoon on the Irish Sea, there it was, a glimpse of what could have been if the team around Dan Kemp and then Paul Glatzel had been planned properly.