LUKE Williams was left to rue Swindon Town’s lack of match craft after they missed the chance to breathe new life into their League One relegation fight after falling to an agonising 2-1 defeat at Bradford City on Saturday.
Nicky Ajose’s goal with 15 minutes to go looked like it would earn Town three much-needed points in their battle to beat the drop at Valley Parade, only for Bantams striker Charlie Wyke to strike twice in the final five minutes to complete a comeback win for the hosts.
Williams cut a disconsolate figure post-match after another near-miss in defeat, with the result following up a similarly heart-breaking 4-2 loss at home to leaders Sheffield United five days earlier.
The Town head coach pointed the finger of blame for the defeat at his players’ inability to manage the game correctly and in the end, it was much easier for them to fold in the face of adversity.
“The effort was there but unfortunately, the know-how is not,” said Williams.
“We only need to make the game a non-event for 15 minutes. In reality, if you manage it correctly, the ball is probably in play for seven minutes of the 15.
“You need to get it in the corner of the pitch and stay there as long as you can, be cleverer with your pass selection and slow everything down when it’s a dead ball.
“Instead, we play stupid and naïve and in the end, it’s too big for us. The players are desperate to concede to not have to live with the fact that they came away and won at Bradford, so it’s easier to say we got beat.”
After being under the cosh for the first half, Williams made a tactical change by withdrawing Fankaty Dabo and pushing fellow full-back Nathan Thompson inside to switch from a 4-4-2 formation to a 5-3-2.
That paid dividends as Swindon got their noses in front, meaning Williams was even more disappointed that his side failed to finish the job.
“Fankaty and Nathan had both been booked so I tried to bring Nathan inside to protect him and I took Fankaty off to make sure we didn’t lose a player. At any moment, he looked like he was going to make one more rash tackle,” said Williams.
“I thought we might be able to get some joy by defending the box with one extra player, so I put five across the back and be able to break.
“I looked at the way Bradford were attacking – so many players committed to the attack.
“I felt with the extra body, we could defend the box properly and Bradford would leave us space, and it looked like that’s what happened.
“The game plan up to that point was perfect and I felt at half-time we would take the lead. We did but it was too big for some of the players to accept it.”