Match Preview: Swindon at Hereford United

Form… After the midweek 3-0 victory over Crawley Town, Swindon have moved up to fourth place and one point behind leaders Southend, Cheltenham and Torquay. However, importantly, Swindon have two games in hand over our rivals against Shrewsbury and Burton Albion at the County Ground.

Town are currently on a run of one defeat – at Torquay on Boxing Day – in seventeen League Two matches. Town’s current form guide reads six wins in as many League Two outings, comprising victories against Northampton, AFC Wimbledon, Rotherham, Macclesfield, Southend and Crawley.

Away from the County Ground, Town have won the previous three, but before that we suffered the defeat at Torquay and draws against AFC Wimbledon and Bristol Rovers.

Hereford United sit four places off the bottom and three points clear of Northampton, Dagenham and Plymouth on 27 points. The Bulls have a record of one win, three draws and two defeats from their previous six outings in League Two.

At Edgar Street, Hereford are without a win in eight games – since a 1-0 victory over Barnet on 22nd October – with three draws and five defeats in that time.

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Swindon-Town-FC.co.uk Head-to-Head… In total the sides have met on 25 occasions with Town victors 12 times, drawing 5 and suffering 8 defeats. At Edgar Street, Swindon have won 3, drawn 3 and defeated 4 times from 10 games.

Historically a famous non-league FA Cup giant-killer, Hereford were finally elected to the League in 1972. Prior to this, Swindon had managed to overcome the potential banana skin of a cup tie with United in 1955 – winning 4-0 at the County Ground in the First Round of the competition in November. The first league match between the two teams came in 1974 – Hereford winning 2-1 in December after the Town’s relegation in the previous season.

Town legend Steve White signed for Hereford after being granted a free transfer in 1994 – a year later, he returned to the County Ground to score the winner in a 1-0 win for Hereford in the Second Round of the Auto Windscreens Trophy – one of the few opposition goals to be rewarded with an ovation from the Town support.

The previous encounter at the County Ground on the 8th October resulted in a famous comeback for Hereford and a 3-3 draw, after trailing 2-0 at half time.

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What The Stats Say… Hereford are ranked the least efficient side in League Two according to our latest combined home and away League Two rankings. Swindon are back up to first place.

Our rankings show the Bulls are ranked 24th based on home and 20th away efficiency.

At Edgar Street, Hereford allow their opponents the highest proportion of possession by any host, at an average of 53.7% per game. No wonder then Hereford conceded the fourth highest number of corners – at 6.1 per game. They restrict the number of shots to a competitive 10.4 per game, however their goalkeeper save rate of 66% is the reason why Hereford find themselves conceding 31 times at home.

Hereford’s attacking efficiency makes painful reading. The Bulls are not competitive in any of the five areas ranked with a fourth fewest shots per game (9.4); a well below average 49% of shots on target; a third worst strike rate of 9%; winning just 5 corners per game; and winning the lowest proportion of possession.

As hosts, Hereford have scored the second fewest goals (14) of any team – behind Aldershot with 11. With seven scored in both the first and second halves, the Bulls are more ‘dangerous’ in the final 15 minutes with four scored.

In defence, as already mentioned, Hereford have conceded the second highest number of goals of any host. The majority (17) of the 31 conceded have been after the break, with a massive 10 conceded in the final 15 minutes plus time added on.

As I keep saying…..Swindon Town have still yet to concede in time added on home or away this season…

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Kickoff.co.uk Prediction… 

Result: Swindon Win 68% | Hereford Win 9% | Draw 23%

Full time result: Swindon 1-0 19% | Swindon 2-0 17%| Swindon 1-1 11% | Swindon 3-0 10% | Swindon 0-1 6%

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My prediction… We should win…and comfortably, with a 2-0 Swindon victory the best bet…

However, the match back in October proved Hereford have the fight and determination needed to stay in the League, perhaps the most of any side we’ve faced so far this season, so Town must take nothing for granted travelling to Edgar Street. 

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