Aldridge not disheartened as threadbare Swindon are beaten
RYAN Aldridge refused to dwell on disappointment following his Swindon team’s 6-3 defeat at Manchester last night.
The EPL clash was Swindon’s third game in four days and head coach Aldridge had only 14 players at his disposal.
Finnish forward Henri Sandvik was out having suffered a hand injury in the 5-4 win over Telford on Saturday night, adding to a string of problems that Wildcats have been contending with of late.
Swindon were level with the Phoenix at 3-3 heading to the closing stages but three goals inside the final eight minutes gave the high-flying Phoenix a well-earned victory.
Aldridge said: “We’ve had three games in four nights and the boys are tired, especially considering how short we are.
“We had six forwards and six D so it was always going to be tough, but I thought we were right in it.
“The players came in afterwards and I had to say a few things, but there’s no point being down about the result, it’s behind us now. That’s life I guess.”
Manchester were in control at the off and Wildcats were indebted to the recalled Tom Murdy and wayward shooting as they finished just 1-0 down after 20 minutes.
The hosts’ best early opportunity came when Bari McKenzie and Liam Chong went through two-on-one, only for the latter to fluff his lines when given the puck.
The worrying signs continued when Jan Melichar made a crucial late interception and Joachim Flaten smashed marginally past the post, and sure enough, the opener soon arrived.
Player-coach Tony Hand, who missed the win against Slough the previous night, was given far too much room as he skated towards goal and sent a pinpoint wristshot into the top right corner (15.28).
Swindon survived a five-on-three at the start of the second period before a mad few moments saw three goals scored in just over a minute.
Michal Psurny melted through Shane Moore at the near post before stabbing past Murdy to make it 2-0 on the powerplay (25.23).
But out of nowhere Paul Swindlehurst pulled one back from Joe Baird (25.52), only for James Neil to reply unassisted (26.31).
Swindon once more brought themselves back into it at 34.52, this time on the powerplay as Aaron Nell jammed the puck past Andy Jaszczyk from close range.
In the final period the game was thrown wide open when on the powerplay, Matias Perkkio crashed in a slapshot from a narrow angle (44.57).
Any hope the visitors had of taking points was shortlived, however, as Flaten steamed in on goal and sent a fizzing wristshot past Murdy’s left shoulder (52.18).
Swindon pushed for a reply but were caught out when Psurny picked out Flaten in the slot and he slammed into the net (55.36).
Wildcats pulled Murdy in the closing stages and Flaten broke down the left before passing inside for Psurny to tap into the empty net (58.06).
Skipper Nell felt that the absence of Sandvik was plain to see and impacted on the result.
“It was a tough game, I thought we played well today but their top guys played really well and there’s not much we can do about that,” said Nell.
“We miss Henri so much but we put in a very good effort that was much better than Saturday.
“Every week we have a new injury and it’s especially difficult now something has happened to Henri, he has been unbelievable and we missed him a lot.
“He energises us, is good defensively and puts the puck in the net.”