Video of the Week: Swindon 1 Bristol Rovers 0 – 24th Nov 2007

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In League One in November 2007, a Christian Roberts penalty gives Swindon victory over the Gas at the County Ground – but not before referee Rob Styles sends four players off – Jerel Ifil and Sofiene Zaaboub for the Town, Richard Walker and Steve Elliott for Rovers.

Match lineups

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Vic Morgan Blog: To Wembley by Planes, Trains and Automobiles…

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A few days earlier than usual, here are the latest ramblings of BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan..

What a weekend…

On Thursday evening, not long after writing my last blog in fact, I found out I was off to Newcastle to cover the Plymouth Raiders British Basketball League Trophy final second leg against the Eagles.

Normally that wouldn’t cause too much of a problem. Fly up Friday morning, fly back Saturday am, job done. Of course this weekend was a little different wasn’t it..? There was a trip to Wembley to worry about and a coach to steward from the County Ground.

Add in to all this a really heavy cold – I don’t get man-flu it’s a cold right..? – and you’ll see everything pointed to a less than relaxing couple of days.

A cracking basketball game, sadly the Raiders lost, and my throat took a bit of a hammering commentating above a feverish atmosphere. Eventually though I flew back to Bristol before catching a train to Swindon and preparing to meet up with family who were travelling up from Devon via hire car…got that, I’ll ask questions later.

Just to make things even more complicated the clocks went forward. I’m exhausted even more now just remembering it all. I had a couple of spare hours to relax and converse with other Town fans on Twitter on Saturday night and all I can think of is that we were all suffering some collective madness ahead of Wembley.

All of us were excited and to be honest rather like kids before Christmas. There’s nothing like the night before Christmas is there..? Everything is still possible…

So to the big day…

Early start, checking off the passengers on coach 12. All present and correct and a quick nap on the bus before arriving at the home of football. Sorry to be a grouse, but the entrance to our national stadium is a disgrace. Basically it’s a ground at the back of an industrial estate. I’ve always hated the ride into Wembley, it always seems amazing to me that if you’re a visitor to our country you get pallets and diggers to look at before arriving at this state of the art arena. Bizarre.

The game itself…

For the second time Swindon couldn’t put on a winning display at the new Wembley. Somehow we couldn’t provide a real threat up front and defensively we weren’t at our best.

Maybe Alan Connell’s missed chance late in the first half was the turning point. At that time Swindon were having the best of it and it could have provided a springboard. It didn’t and we were left with another day of great promise but ultimate disappointment.

It’s not for me to question the manager’s selection, though we were all a little surprised that the likes of Aden Flint wasn’t in the squad and new signings were. That’s for a considered reflection though.

All I will say though is the main target is promotion out of League Two, let’s get back to where we were last season and then really get going. Paolo Di Canio has restored our pride, he loves our club and has taken us to a level we never thought possible last May.

Just to finally rub salt in the wound of course comes the two hour wait in the Wembley traffic jam. Maybe if the FA big wigs had to endure that, they’d think twice about building a ground at the back of an industrial estate with terrible roads. Bonkers just bonkers.

My crazy weekend ended at just before 1am back home in Devon. Two finals and no trophies, as I said Christmas Eve is probably better than what comes the next day.

Still, here’s to three points against Rovers on Saturday, Wembley..? Bah humbug.

Keep it loud, keep it proud, keep it Paolo Di Canio’s SWINDON.


Chesterfield 2 Swindon 0: JPT Final Disappointment

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Swindon Town faced Chesterfield at Wembley to contest the 29th final of the Football League Trophy, writes Ron Smith. Defying post match predictions of the silverware departing to Wiltshire for the first time, the Spireites caught Town napping at either end of the second half to secure a comfortable 2-0 victory thanks to an Oliver Risser own goal and a late Craig Westcarr strike.

Unlike our previous visit back in May 2010 the weather was warm and a friendly and relaxed welcome greeted 30,000 confident Town fans at the national stadium. However we soon discovered the similarities to that Play-Off final match lay in the performance on the pitch. Swindon were outmanoeuvred, out-muscled, out-thought and lacking in any attacking force on the hallowed Wembley turf – or so they used to say…

Di Canio made a single change to the XI that beat Torquay United on Tuesday night, with Alessandro Cibocchi replaced with Barnsley loanee Jay McEveley who made his debut on the biggest of stages. With Aden Flint not selected as one of the five substitutes, Town continued with their makeshift defence that included Oliver Risser partnering Alan McCormack and Joe Devera filling in for the injured Paul Caddis on the right.

As expected Chesterfield started the quicker, but their early forays forward didn’t give the Spireites the lead. Their best and only chance of the first half to test Wes Foderingham came early on. After Frank Moussa gained the ball he found Jack Lester who fired a pass forward to Jordan Bowery. The Chesterfield forward looked offside – from my high position behind the goal – but was allowed to advance with only McCormack in chase. Fortunately Bowery stumbled under no pressure when setting himself up to shoot and the ball was easily cleared.

Shortly afterwards Chesterfield fans did celebrate, but only momentarily as Jack Lester’s close range effort after Simon Ford’s header hit the bar was denied by the linesman’s raised flag with Ford judged to have been offside.

As for Swindon, our first half was a story of wayward passing – notably from Jonathan Smith and Jay McEverley, Matt Ritchie being played off the pitch, speculative shots from distance and an overeliance on Lee Holmes on the left of midfield.

With Ritchie tightly marked by Nathan Smith and largely out of the game, Town found space on the left where Lee Holmes was given time to run at James Hurst. Holmes was not only the provider of several crosses, which Benson and Connell failed to convert, the loanee from Southampton had two of Swindon’s best chances of the half.

The first after 18 minutes Holmes found himself with the ball on the right side and his curling cross shaded the bar. His second after 28 minutes followed a neat shimmy to turn and cut inside to shoot from the edge of the D, but his shot was deflected off Josh Thompson and saved by Lee to tip the ball wide of the upright.

Holmes was our best hope as the opening periods progressed, however he was alone on the left as debutant Jay McEverly didn’t see sight of Chesterfield’s half to provide the usual overlap that has been our threat this campaign. In truth, McEverley looked jaded from the start.

The pressure was never incessant for either side as the majority of the game was fought in the midfield with Swindon starting to dominate and retain possession, but there was ultimately little to show for our increased workrate.

As ever Town needed the first goal to settle their and our nerves, that would allow the Reds to stamp their usual authority on the game. Alan Connell had that chance 5 minutes from the end of the half and one he’ll be kicking himself for missing. After Holmes’ cross was returned across the face of the goal by the leaping Benson, Connell found himself with his back to goal, but in acres of space with time to control and shoot. His effort was a less than acrobatic volley, which flew wide of Lee’s left hand post.

No sooner had the second half kicked off, Chesterfield quickly built upon John Sheridan’s team talk and took the lead.

Initially Jordan Bowery’s shot was saved by Wes Foderingham, but Town only cleared to ball out to Alex Mendy, whose low ball across the goal was turned into the net by the outstretched leg of Oliver Risser.

This event is hardly going to endear the Namibian to large sections of the Town support which he’s been slowly regaining their confidence in recent weeks. However, there is little excuse for sticking out his leg under little pressure from Westcarr, when Foderingham would have had no trouble in taking the ball. We all know Risser isn’t really a central defender, but he has years of experience and surely either him or Foderingham has let themselves down in not communicating this was the ‘keeper’s ball.

For a short while the pace of the game picked up as Swindon sought to equalise, however what little and inefficient action Town had going forward proved only to demonstrate how dangerous the Spireites could be breaking back on the counter attack.

Similar to his change at Crewe a week ago, Di Canio’s first substitution replace Risser with Ronan Murray. The Irishman settled down to play behind the front two, leaving three at the back. A risky approach considering Chesterfield retained their two frontmen, but a necessary change to control the game up field. With John Bostock making his debut in place of Jonathan Smith a few minutes later, the midfield lost what ever little balance it had, but raising questions why the Spurs loanee – an ideal attacking midfielder for the role Murray had settled into – not being preferred to take the role behind Benson and Connell.

The 3-4-3 Town employed made little difference and only served to make an already panicky side increasingly vulnerable at the back. Despite dominating possession – 60/40 – Swindon still failed to generate any meaningful chances, mainly because of the solid Chesterfield midfield and back four being first to all balls, continuing to mark Ritchie out of the game and lapping up crosses, but also because Town’s passing and final ball was wasteful and hurried. With limited action at the Chesterfield goal the support behind the goal became muted. So much so that all that could be heard were the bells softly ringing on a jester hat several rows in front.

Chesterfield capitalised on Town’s defensive weakness when Drew Talbot flicked the ball on for Craig Westcarr. The former Notts County man ran clear one-on-one towards Foderingham, only to pull his shot narrowly wide of the left of the post, when he looked certain to score.

As the clock counted down – seemingly quicker than I had ever experienced before – Town had chances, but again, these were few and far between. The best being when Murray and Holmes combined well, but the winger’s tame shot was easily saved by Tommy Lee.

Town’s pressure stepped up a gear in the final minutes and would have had the equaliser when Alessandro Cibocchi jumped highest to power his header hard and high, only for ‘keeper Lee to superbly react, tipping the ball over the crossbar. Considering Lee had done next to nothing for 85 minutes his reactions were world class, no wonder he’s won their player of the year for the past two seasons…

Referee Bates added 4 minutes, but in reality he could have added on another 90 minutes and I doubt we’d seen Swindon hit the back of the net. It was never going to be our day.

The Spireites needed just 3 added minutes to seal their deserved victory and rub further salt in Town’s wounds. Swindon’s makeshift defence pushed up too high to support our attacking finish, however substitute Craig Westcarr beat the offside trap to run well clear of Alan McCormack and coolly sloting past Foderingham to make it 2-0. The goal provided the icing on the cake for Chesterfield, merely reflecting their overall clinical final ball and finishing…. Congratulations to the Spireites on their victory.

Any defeat is disappointing, especially a Wembley final loss which hurts, but some Town supporters must realise to reach any cup final is a success in itself, a win would have been the bonus on what is already a true season to remember. We must capitalise on our strong league position and secure the title, because as I’ve always said I’d take the League Two title over winning the JPT and that feeling hasn’t changed.

Video of the Week: Sunderland 0 Swindon 1 – 28th May 1990


With Town set to travel to Wembley tomorrow for our fifth visit to the national stadium, our second Video of the Week – courtesy of – is extended highlights of the 1990 Division Two Play-Off Final versus Sunderland on the 28th May 1990.

As the match was just before my 9th birthday, my memories of the day are a bit sketchy so it’s great to watch the match action in detail for the first time in nearly 22 years.

My lasting memories from that warm afternoon was the sea of red and white travelling down to Wembley, walking up to the concourse in the North Stand up the stairs in one of the twin towers, being overwhelmed by the sheer number of Swindon supporters and being held aloft on the shoulders of a steward as the Town paraded the trophy at the end of the match.

Though the Town completely control the Play-Off Final against Sunderland, a single deflected goal by Alan McLoughlin is enough to win the game, and promotion to the First Division – ten days later though, the football authorities would snatch the prize away.

Read more about the 1990 Play-Off Final and get the Match lineups at

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JPT Final Match Preview: Swindon Town vs Chesterfield

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A new name will be engraved into the Football League Trophy on Sunday as winning Area Finalists Swindon Town and Chesterfield meet at Wembley. This will be the 29th final of the Football League Trophy, which started in the 1983/84 season when Bournemouth beat Hull City.

Neither side has previously made it to the final of this competition. Town have played 43 matches in the competition, winning 17, drawing 12 and defeated 14 times, over 16 seasons. Swindon’s best performance prior to this season was making the Area Semi Finals on three previous occasions; falling to Aldershot in 1986/87, Southend United in 2000/01 and Southend United again in 2004/05.

Chesterfield have also never made the Final. I would like to tell you what their previous best performance in this competition is but I can’t find it anywhere, so if anyone can comment I’d be grateful.

Swindon have made it to Wembley courtesy of a 2-1 2nd Round win at Exeter City, a 3-1 win on penalties after a 1-1 draw with AFC Wimbledon in the Quarter Fina, a 2-1 win at Southend in the Area Semi-Final and a 2-1 aggregate win over Barnet in the Southern Area Final.

Chesterfield secured their berth in the Final following a 3-1 win at Notts County in the 2nd Round, a 4-3 Quarter FInal win over Tranmere, a 4-2 win on penalties at Preston following a 1-1 draw in the Semi-Final and a 3-1 aggregate win over Oldham Athletic in the Northern Area Final. Head to Head…

The two sides have met on 42 occasions with the Town winning 20, drawing 7 and suffering 15 defeats, scoring 61 and conceding 49.

Swindon haven’t lost to Chesterfield in three attempts. The last defeat with a 0-1 loss at Saltergate in November 2004.

Football League Trophy Final Facts…

Of the 28 previous finals Carlisle United, Bristol City, Port Vale, Birmingham City, Blackpool, Stoke City, Swansea City and Wigan Athletic have been the most successful with two wins each. Carlisle United have made the final the most on six occasions, the last being their victory in 2011, which followed a 1-4 defeat to Southampton a year before.

Of those 28 finals, 42 of the total 56 teams have represented the third tier of English football – now League One. League Two has only been represented in 11 of the 28 finals.

Only four League Two sides have ever won the Football League Trophy; Wolves in 1988, Carlisle in 1997, MK Dons in 2008 and Luton Town in 2009.

Interestingly as three of those four League Two winning sides played a League Two opponent in the final that year, the only fourth tier side to beat higher division opponents was Luton Town’s 3-2 victory over Scunthorpe in 2009 – which was the same season they were relegated from the Football League and denied entry the next season to defend their title.

Of the 28 winners, five also followed up their cup win with a League promotion. Wolves in 1988, Birmingham in 1995 and MK Dons in 2008 all secured their respective division title, while Carlisle also won automatic promotion from Division Three in 1997 and Grimsby won the Division Two play-off in 1998.

Only two teams have won and suffered relegation. In addition to the Luton relegation already mentioned, Wrexham were relegated from League One after their 2005 victory.


I’m going with a narrow 1-0 win for Swindon. Even though Chesterfield are propping up League One, Wembley brings the best out of teams, but I’m confident that a strong Swindon side will have enough for the Spireites.

Come on You Reds!

Listen to our JPT Final Podcast…

TheWashbag Podcast Episode 1: JPT Final Preview

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We’ve launched our own Podcast in time to preview the JPT final!

The first Podcast features host Christopher Panks (Sky Sports Fanzone STFC blogger) and guests Ron Smith (editor of TheWashbag), Gary Rose (Chief Sports Writer at the Swindon Advertiser) and Tom Otrebski (journalist for STFC and writer for TheWashbag).

The four discuss the win over Torquay United; what a difference a year makes at STFC after the downs of Danny Wilson and Paul Hart followed by a fantastic season so far under Paolo Di Canio; and a preview of the forthcoming Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final against Chesterfield at Wembley on Sunday.

Episode 2 will be recorded in late April / May and we hope the Podcast will become a regular feature from the start of the 2012/13 season.

Thanks to Tom at FinalHour Records for recording the podcast and to The County Ground Hotel for allowing us to record there.

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Vic Morgan Blog: A weekend to remember…

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The ramblings of BBC Devon’s Vic Morgan..

Don’t know about you, but I thought Tuesday’s game with Torquay was terrific.

Before the game we had OO Shaun Taylor and Glenn Hoddle inducted into the Town’s Hall of Fame. There was also a return for Martin Ling with his, and Shaun’s Gulls team.

I made a brief return to the County Ground commentary box to cover the game for BBC Radio Devon, and I really enjoyed it.

Both teams play the game in the right way, and it was played in the right spirit. Credit to Torquay for their terrific season and I really hope they join us in League One next year.

Alan Connell made a scoring return, with Oliver Risser scoring Shaun Taylor like in the second half. I thought it was Oliver’s best game in a Town shirt, and was deservedly made Man of the Match.

It was also a pleasure to speak to Lingy again after many years. Twice a Swindon player, he remains pleasant, polite, and affable. A lot of people in the game could learn a thing or two from him on how to deal with the media.

And so a comfortable lead at the top of the table despite the loss at Crewe. That defeat at Gresty Road brought an astonishing reaction from some.

In football you lose sometimes, that’s just the way it is. For goodness sake get a grip, we’re top of the league and at Wembley. Just think about twelve months ago, then if you still want to moan go ahead. Don’t think you’ll have many people joining you.

The football was superb Tuesday. Last year we played with a lone striker at home. Yes it was 4-5-1. Now we attack with two wingers and we WIN. Football is a game of opinions I know that. Surely though we have little to complain about right now, perhaps you’d rather be in a relegation scrap..I know I wouldn’t.

Sunday then…..Don’t forget to put your clocks forward, you wouldn’t want to miss the coach…

Yes… back at Wembley for a fifth time. I hated the last time. It rained, we played badly, it was a let down. I don’t think that’ll happen this time.

Thirty thousand people with a love of Swindon Town will be there. I’ve been to our previous four appearances at the national stadium and can’t wait for this one.

I will not be behaving like a 56 year old. I apologise in advance for my teenage enthusiasm on the day. If you see me and I gabble a little, I’m sorry. But you see, I LOVE my football club. It’s been such a part of my life I want nothing but good for it.

Let’s scream, shout and do as much as we can to help Swindon to victory over Chesterfield. We’re clear at the top of League Two and so can just think about Wembley now. Can there be any finer way to spend a Sunday afternoon ?