Crawley Town 0 Swindon 3: Town hitting the heights again

This fixture was always going to generate interest with both Crawley Town and Swindon many people’s tip to challenge for automatic promotion from League Two. With Crawley’s blistering start and Swindon’s recent fine form, the game at Broadfield Stadium was billed as an early six pointer, reports Andrew Steele-Davis.

The mind games that took place during the week between Paolo Di Canio and the extremely unpopular Steve Evans added even more spice to the game, making it a mouth watering prospect and perhaps, if it’s fair to say, Swindon’s first real big test of the campaign.

Going into the game, Swindon would have perhaps been the more confident of the two teams having won their last two successive games. Crawley, on the other hand, had suffered a heavy and humiliating 6-0 defeat against Morecambe at the weekend, bringing to an end their stunning start to the season. They were however still unbeaten at home.

Sticking with what is quickly becoming tradition this season, Paulo had again tinkered with his line up. Ahmed Abdulla replaced Simon Ferry at the heart of Town’s midfield with Jonathan Smith starting alongside him. Alan McCormack, who performed so well at the heart of Town’s defence against Southend, kept his place next to the ever improving Joe Devera. The inclusion of Abdulla in the place of fan’s favourite Ferry surprised many before the game but it was a change that proved to pay off by the time the final whistle blew at Broadfield.

Swindon started the brighter of the two teams. The energetic Mehdi Kerrouche managing to get a touch onto a loose ball in the Crawley area but Michael Kuipers pulled off a decent save to divert the early danger. Swindon, buoyed by the 659 strong travelling support, came close to opening the scoring again a minute later; Kerrouche unleashing a thunderbolt towards goal but again Kuiper was equal to it, punching the ball behind for a succession of Town corners.

Crawley resorted to route one football and this resulted in their first chance on goal, a long ball forward finding Michael Doughty whose piledriver rattled into Alan McCormack, who again impressed in defence. Steve Evan’s side soon had a second chance to take the lead but Tyrone Barnett’s header floated way over Mattia Lanzano’s crossbar.

Di Canio’s side, who have been pleasing on the eye for the majority of the season, continued their neat passing rhythm on a slightly bumpy Broadfield pitch and it was this play that resulted in Swindon’s opening goal. Alan Connell’s cross was only half cleared to Raffaele De Vita, whose overhead kick back across the goal was latched onto by Connell whose slenderest of touches diverted the ball pass Kuipers to open the scoring for Town.

The ‘Touchline Watch’ failed to yield anything interesting with both Di Canio and Evans not getting more animated than was required. However the Swindon faithful were in good spirits mocking Evans throughout!

Swindon almost made it two just before the break; a flowing attack by Town ending with Paul Caddis cutting the ball back for Kerrouche in the middle of the box but the striker mis-hit his shot onto the post.

For anyone who witnessed the second half debacle at Shrewsbury, the second half here was all too familiar with Crawley dominating proceedings. With Swindon hanging on for dear life, Kerrouche lit up the last eight minutes of the game, scoring twice to put the game beyond Crawley’s reach.

Kerrouche’s first goal came after Matt Richie’s speculative effort cannoned off the post to the Algerian who headed home to send the travelling support in raptures. Three minutes later and Kerrouche wrapped up the win for Town, breaking clear before powering a shot past Kuipers to hand Swindon a truly brilliant win.

A massive win for Paolo Di Canio’s team and a result that has sent out a clear message to the rest of the league and indeed Steve Evans; Paolo and his team mean business.

So I leave you with this, the image that will live long in the memory was that of Di Canio himself standing, arms aloft in the centre of the pitch, donning a Swindon Town beanie hat.

The good times look like they are back at the County Ground.

Your Man of the Match: 1st Medhi Kerrouche 65%, 2nd Alan McCormack 25%, tie for third


  • Thanks to Andrew for the report.

    After getting back late afternoon in Swindon, I had to settle with being at home listening on BBC Swindon this was definitely a ‘wish I was there match’, to hurl abuse and goad the obnoxious Steve Evans after a fantastic 3-0 victory.

    Who the hell do Crawley think they are? Just 2,131 home fans turn up to watch the “Circus”, their biggest game of their first season in the Football League….absolutely pathetic.

    When their money runs out, which it will, just watch these guys tumble like Rushden & Diamonds.


  • Pingback: 11 Key Moments of 2011: No.9 – Paolo’s first away victory in L2 at Crawley – The Washbag

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