A solid defence is something than Swindon have seldom had. Over the past decade, you can count a dozen Adrian Viveashs for every Gordon Greer. Mis-timed and clumsy tackles, back-passes to the keepers, poor distribution – the County Ground has seen it all, writes Rosie MacGillivray; who inducts her choice for the worst Swindon match of recent years into the Hall of Shame.
There have been a few shockers, but a 6-0 home defeat to Ipswich on 3rd April 1999 stands out for entry into the STFC Hall of Shame.
Ipswich played like a team who eventually won automatic promotion to the Premier League. Unfortunately, Swindon also defended like a team that conceded the most goals in the division. Town conceded a mammoth 81 goals during the 1998/99 season in 46 matches.
Swindon had a nightmare start as Craig Taylor – brother of Shaun – saw red for handling on the line - when it was easier to head the ball away – after six minutes. Mark Venus slotted home from the subsequent penalty and an up-hill challenge began. Craig was never able to emulate his big brother’s form at the County Ground. In truth, Shaun was everything Craig wasn’t. Shaun Taylor would have headed a bowling ball away, had it been required.
The Tractor Boys made the numerical advantage count, as they scored another three before half-time. James Scowcroft took advantage from an on-rushing Jimmy Glass for the second, before Tony Mowbray bagged a headed third and Jamie Clapham made the most of some non-existent marking for the fourth on the stroke of half-time.
Manager Jimmy Quinn attempted to shuffle the pack – one lacking both in quality and quantity – at the break. Brian Borrows made way for Robin Hulbert, before Mark Walters came on for Shayne Bradley.
Town went in quest of at least some pride, but their defensively frailties shone through, as holes were left in defence. The two changes did little to affect the game as Venus grabbed his second, again through the penalty spot, while Fabian Willis completed the rout.
The result was the first time Town had conceded six at the County Ground for almost 35 years.
The footage of the game makes for painful watching…
The heavy defeat also instigated the inevitable fall-out between goalkeeper Jimmy Glass and manager Jimmy Quinn. The pair never saw eye-to-eye and Quinn’s public criticism of Glass proved the final straw. Glass had injured himself during the game, but with no substitute keeper, he was forced to continue. He was temporarily loaned out – where he would become at legend at Carlisle United – before returning to play eight more games for the club.
The hammering by Ipswich also condemned Swindon to their third 6-0 defeat in an 18-month period. At the beginning of 1997/98 season, Swindon lost 6-0 away at Man City, where our Man United loanee Chris Casper scored an own goal. Then in March 1998, Marco Branca, Neil Maddison and Alun Armstrong all grabbed a brace each for Middlebrough to condemn Swindon to yet another 6-0 loss.
We may have been watching Championship football – or Division One as it was known then, but it all started the slippery slope into financial turmoil and the pursuit down the leagues. The club has still not recovered from this time, especially after a relapse last season; and the shocking Ipswich defeat will live long in our memories for many years to come…so into the STFC Hall of Shame it goes…
Hall of Shame #5 is Swindon Town 0-6 Ipswich Town