HOPE Akpan’s scrambled equaliser at Burton stood out in a season of precious few highlights for City.

It was not the quality of the midfielder’s goal against his former club that elevated it above the depressing norm of the relegation campaign.

But simply the fact that his second-half effort on that cold January afternoon represented the only time the Bantams responded to going behind in League One.

Their solitary comeback, aside from the FA Cup monsoon at non-league Aldershot, was the most damning statistic to highlight the lack of fight from a team prepared to accept defeat too readily.

It was the toughest learning curve for the likes of Connor Wood and Lewis O’Brien, experiencing first-team football for the first time.

But that uncomfortable grounding has enabled Wood to appreciate the difference with the current Valley Parade squad.

Gary Bowyer’s side are far from the finished article but the difference in attitude is chalk and cheese to those whose heads would drop at the first sign of trouble.

Leaving Scunthorpe last week with only a point after 70 minutes of numerical superiority was a huge source of frustration.

But it still meant City’s last seven points have all been redeemed from losing positions – something unheard of from the previous bunch.

“It was always in the back of everyone’s minds last season,” said Wood. “We felt we weren’t getting the rub of the green – that was said quite a lot.

“If you’re going into games with that inch of doubt, generally things do go against you.

“But this season is completely different with everyone. You can sense that.

“If we do go a goal behind, there’s no panic or worry.

“It’s not ideal to concede obviously but the reaction is a positive one. Everyone is looking at ways to solve the problems.

“There’s no rush to do things. Everyone’s calm and ready to play our game and step it up a level, like you’ve seen.

“We’ve come into this season with the mentality of wanting to be winners, every single one of us.

“We’ve had things thrown at us like goals being disallowed and Ben (Richards-Everton) being sent off (against Carlisle). It’s all different challenges in the game but we’ve shown we can deal with them.

“When stuff like that happens, we know how to manage the game.”

The knock-on effect of a more resilient City has been the consistent backing from the fans.

The toxicity of before, when a goal against invariably meant another loss, has moved on.

Valley Parade has responded to falling behind in the games against Northampton and Carlisle with an added determination to cheer the fightback. It’s a two-way street.

Should Swindon draw first blood again this weekend, Wood knows the fans will have their team's back.

Wood added: “Keeping the attachment with the crowd is massive in a game, especially when you are looking to get back into it.

“It does give us that extra edge when you’ve got them all singing and making noise.

“We all hear it and our fanbase can affect the opposition as well.

“If there’s a big tackle or a chance near the end of the game, you get that massive roar and it does create a great atmosphere that can make such a difference."

The spike in Valley Parade volume was never more apparent than late on in last month's win against Northampton when Wood retrieved a visiting break, tracking back 40 yards for a goal-saving tackle on Shaun McWilliams.

Ironically, the left back did not register the noisy approval from the stands because he was so far in the zone.

“It wasn’t until we watched it back after that I heard how loud the crowd were when it happened. I’d just shut it out and had tunnel vision on the game.

“I was always confident of getting there. I knew I just had to slow him down and force the pass.

“It made my job easy once he did that. There was never any doubt they were going to score.

“We’re still coming together week-by-week. We know we’ve got a lot more to give and show out on the pitch.

“But we’re picking up points when we’re not always playing our best and that’s a good sign.”