With many fans viewing Sunday’s game with Swindon Wildcats as “must win” and/or “make or break”, lets take a look at the reality based on the possible outcomes.
Before doing that, it is important to keep in mind two important factors on which this “reality” is based. First of all, Swindon have to play Basingstoke three times in the run-in which means they clearly can’t both take maximum points and the likelihood is that both will drop points in that series. Secondly, aside from the re-arranged home fixture with Bracknell, all of Phantoms remaining games are against teams outside of the top four ….. all games we COULD lose but all games we SHOULD win !
Phantoms Win in Regulation Time
In effect, Swindon’s title hopes will be pretty much dead and buried if they blank this one. It would put them three points behind Phantoms going into the run-in and with those three games against Basingstoke still to come. The win would also put Phantoms in effect one point ahead of Basingstoke who obviously have an equally tough run-in. In summary, therefore, a regulation time win on Sunday would leave Phantoms destiny totally in their own hands and so long as they won all their remaining games then they could not be overhauled.
Swindon Win in Regulation Time
A Swindon win would in effect place both Swindon AND Basingstoke one point ahead of Phantoms. However, if Phantoms were to win all of their remaining games then their two rivals could only overhaul them by winning all of THEIR remaining games and given their three head-to-head games to come, it would require one of them to win all three of those games to even have a chance of doing that (they both also have tough games against Bracknell to come). So, a regulation time defeat is not what we want but it certainly would not “break” Phantoms title bid and Phantoms would probably still remain title favourites given the respective run-ins.
Overtime Win Either Way
An overtime win for Phantoms will pretty much deliver the same benefits and the same favourable situation as a regulation time win. If Swindon take it in overtime then all three teams will in effect be exactly level on points at the start of the run in. It will then come down to who is going to drop most points and the schedule would strongly suggest that will not be or certainly SHOULD not be Phantoms !
So ….. its a game that Phantoms will desperately WANT to win because it really would put them in a fantastic position but if they are beaten then do not panic because the title will still be very much up for grabs. Tonight’s fantastic two points in Basingstoke has put huge pressure on our two title rivals and means that it is Swindon who now have to view Sunday’s game as a “must win”.