|view Williams's match-by-match record
After turning down a contract extension at Yeovil, Williams signed a two year deal as a free agent in June 2012, admitting after signing that he had known of Town boss Paolo di Canio's interest in him for six months before agreeing to move, and that the main catalyst for joining Swindon was that he wanted to be challenging at the top of League One, having been top scorer in a struggling Glovers side the previous season.
Williams was immediately installed as the Town's first choice forward - paired with Paul Benson for his debut, a 3-0 win over Brighton in the Carling Cup, before making his League debut the following weekend in a goalless draw at Hartlepool - but although Williams generally impressed with his performances, he struggled to find the net initially, a fact that the striker said didn't worry him, though he did admit that he might have cause to be concerned about his place in the starting eleven. Boss di Canio moved quickly to allay any such fears, stating that Williams' performances were good enough to keep him in the side, but he did offer the advice of fellow Italian striker Gianluca Vialli as to how to deal with his goal drought - also telling the striker that he needed to 'leave his fear at the door'. Whatever was said seemed to work - Williams finally netting in the next game, a superb strike in a 2-1 victory at Portsmouth, in his tenth appearance of the season. Williams went on to score in the next two games as well, a 4-0 win over Bournemouth, and a 3-1 win over Burnley in the Carling Cup.
In early October, Williams was forced off at half time at Bury, with a calf injury that was initially feared to keep him out for a month - and though he returned to action just over three weeks later, it was mid-November before he found the net again, this time in a 4-1 win over his former club Yeovil, before being forced off again, this time with a knee injury - but the striker missed just one game before returning the following weekend, a game after which di Canio questioned his forward players for their poor finishing, Williams himself admitting that he needed to be more clinical front of goal.
Over the Christmas period and into January, Williams went through a purple patch of goalscoring form - hitting six goals in just five games - a run that pushed the Town into the thick of the race for promotion. Unfortunately though, Williams then went through another spell without scoring - this time for eight games - a period during which a new consortium took over the club, Paolo di Canio resigned as Town boss, and Kevin MacDonald took over. It was MacDonald's first match in charge when Williams found the net, scrambling a late equaliser at Coventry's Ricoh Arena after squandering a couple of chances earlier in a game that Town dominated - before Darren Ward netted a dramatic winner in injury time. Williams netted again the following weekend in a 2-2 draw against Walsall.
The goal proved to be the last that Williams would score before the season was out. With the Town struggling for form and slipping away in the promotion race, boss MacDonald tried various options - playing Williams up front on his own, and pairing him with both James Collins and loan forward Adam Rooney - but along with many of his team-mates, Williams suffered from a lack of form as the season came to its close, the Town limping into the play-offs, where they were beaten by Brentford on penalties in the semi-final.
As the new board made cuts over the summer, Williams found himself as the only remaining senior striker at the club, with only Miles Storey challenging him for a place in the side. With Kevin MacDonald leaving the club as well, caretaker boss Mark Cooper brought a new footballing philosophy - a passing style of play, starting the season with five midfielders and a lone striker - and although Williams played in each of the first four games, it was obviously a role that didn’t suit him. Though he netted the winning goal against Torquay in the League Cup, a week later Swindon signed controversial striker Nile Ranger, whose style was far more suited to the Town’s new set-up, and after being substituted for Ranger in a 2-0 defeat at Shrewsbury in mid-August, it was revealed that Williams’ former club Yeovil were showing interest in taking him back to Huish Park - and with the Glovers having surprisingly been promoted to the Championship, it was a move that Williams showed “great desire and keenness” to make, according to their manager, Gary Johnson. Before the week was out, Williams had re-signed for Yeovil on a season-long loan deal - a spell that was unfortunately cut short when he sustained a serious cruciate knee ligament injury in November, that would rule him out for the rest of the season.
When he returned to fitness the following season, boss Mark Cooper praised the striker for his mental toughness - stating that, with the Town looking to play two up front, he would have a part to play in the new campaign. Williams himself stated that he could not wait for the season to begin, but he was eased in gently - the Town starting with Michael Smith up front on his own in the opening games with Williams coming on as a sub, before a shift to a 3-5-2 formation in mid-August brought him back into the starting eleven. Williams took his chance - netting in both of his first two starts of the season against Gillingham and Crewe - and he was quick to praise physio Paul Godfrey and fitness coach Michael Cooper for their help in getting him back fit.
The arrival of Jonathan Obika in early September saw more competition up front, and Williams was dropped to the beach for the trip to Bradford, where Obika netted twice on his debut - but though he started just one of the next four games, Williams scored in each of them. Though he declared himself pleased at the competition for places, Williams also spoke of his frustration in being dropped when Obika arrived, saying, “I was more than a little bit disappointed not to play at Bradford - I thought I’d come back, scored two in four games and been performing quite highly.”
He continued to be used mostly from the bench right through to mid-November - a decision justified by the record of both him and the team when he did so - from mid-September through to early November, the Town won six and drew two of the nine games that Williams came off the bench in, with him scoring six goals; in the games he started, he netted just once in a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy victory at Newport - three of the Town’s four defeats during this period coming in games where Williams was in the first eleven. Despite this, Williams described it as the most enjoyable period of his career, due to the style of football that the Town were playing - but after scoring against Yeovil, he admitted that , although he was delighted with the goals against his former club due to the jeers he got from the home fans, he was disappointed to be benched - making it clear that he thought his form was good enough to be holding down a starting spot, with five goals in his last seven games.
After scoring the winning goal in a crucial top-of-the-table clash against Preston, an injury to fellow striker Michael Smith saw him regain his starting position, and after scoring in a 2-1 win at Peterborough, he went on a superb run of goalscoring form. Obviously full of confidence, Williams netted ten goals in nine games, including some sublime finishes, as Swindon moved to the top of the league - Williams himself being named as the PFA League One Player of the Month for November, and the Sky Bet League One Fans’ Player of the Month in December. Williams thanked coach Luke Williams for helping him on his finishing - saying that he was finding himself in positions he wasn’t used to previously, thanks to Williams’ guidance.
Unfortunately, the goals dried up in February and March - Williams, Obika and Smith all going through goal droughts at the same time. Williams netted just once in both February and March, then not at all in April - scoring just two goals in nineteen games, including a spell of ten games without finding the net. Dropped back to the bench again, Swindon fell away from the automatic promotion places, and Williams became visibly more frustrated with every missed opportunity - the confidence from earlier in the season deserting him.
With most of the first eleven rested as the Town prepared for the play-offs, Williams netted from the spot in the last game of the regular season, to secure a 2-2 draw against Leyton Orient - taking him to 20 league goals for the campaign, and finishing as the fourth top scorer in the Football League. Though he came on for the last fifteen minutes of the semi-final against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane, as the Town came from behind to win 2-1, he missed the second leg with a torn muscle, a frantic 5-5 draw that saw the Town just scrape through to the final. Williams undertook oxygen therapy and injections to speed his recovery ahead of the Wembley showdown, but was only named on the bench - and though he was introduced with 25 minutes to go, the Town were already 4-0 down to a dominant Preston side.
After the game, and with his contract set to expire, Williams admitted that although he would like to stay at the County Ground, the decision was probably out of his hands - and as one of the last remaining members of the side brought in by Paolo di Canio on inflated wages, he was never likely to be offered a new deal. A move to Sheffield United fell through when boss Nigel Clough was sacked, and then Williams was believed to have turned down a move to Scunthorpe having passed a medical - his release from the County Ground confirmed in a statement on the club’s website, thanking everyone for an “amazing rollercoaster” of three years at the club, and saying that Swindon would always hold a place in his heart, not least as the birthplace of his first child. The following day, Williams signed for Doncaster on a three-year deal.
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