Swindon 2 Accrington 0: Benson at the double for record breaking Town

A ninth win on the bounce eclipsing a club record which has stood since 1926 and yet Paolo Di Canio called his side’s second half display “rubbish” and “lacking humility” writes Neil Evans….

PDC is clearly a “glass half empty” kind of manager, and maybe that’s no bad thing with games coming thick and fast. For this game he made 5 changes from Tuesday night with Joe Devera, Alan Connell, Oliver Risser, Callum Kennedy & Simon Ferry all starting.

For the first 45 minutes Swindon were simply enthralling, one-touch football of the highest quality. Accrington were simply swept aside as Town began in rampant style.

A first minute scramble could have produced a Connell goal, however his shot blocked on the line by defender Jamie Devitt. The tone was set as Swindon set about their task with the right side combination of Caddis, Ferry & Ritchie splitting open a bemused Stanley rearguard.

A goal was inevitable, the surprise was the assist came from Luke Rooney on the left. Rooney pulled a long pass down effortlessly, turned back, worked the ball inside and presented the easiest of headers Paul Benon will ever get. From 4 yards Benson dispatched the chance and after 8 minutes the Robins led Stanley 1-0.

More dominance ensued. Connell shooting over from 20 yards on 20 minutes. The only danger posed by the visitors all game was from a free kick, wide right. McIntyre’s centre headed straight for the top corner but Wes Fotheringham’s full length dive maintained parity. Almost straight away Stanley’s Padraig Amond’s cute back heel from inside the box was parried. A minute later a cross from the left flicked the same players head and the ball tickled the outside of Foderingham’s left post. Suitably fired up Swindon resumed control.

On 25 minutes a throw in front of the Don Rogers on half-way found Ritchie. He turned and thumped a dipping shot against the bar. Almost immediately the move which would lead to the second began. Kennedy picked up the ball on the left touchline and his deflected shot hitting the bar. Stanley failed to clear…and when the ball was returned a sliced clearance landed at Benson’s feet and he lashed it home from 10 yards.

In added time another Ritchie fizzer almost pushed the keeper into the net, Benson unable to adjust his body position as he strained to turn in the rebound. The half time whistle was greeted with thunderous applause and Town two goals to the good with seemingly more to follow…

The visitors changed both centre backs at half time and, no doubt with the rocket they received from boss Paul Cook they worked furiously to deny Town the space they had enjoyed…and it worked. Town’s fluency disappeared and the game which had been a feast became more of a snack on the M4.

Sub Brian Hughes was himself subbed through injury bringing on giant striker Michael Smith who actually gave the Swindon backline something to do. An Accrington comeback was never on the cards and, in truth, they didn’t threaten the Swindon goal. Credit should be given to the visitors who showed much more desire and effort for the 82 visiting fans.

In truth, Swindon’s performance dropped off as passes went astray and Di Canio’s histrionics on the bench gained intensity. Substitute Ronan Murray could have had 2 goals after coming on for Connell. On 75 minutes his low shot was well saved by Nicholls diving to his right. In added time, De Vita (on for Rooney) got clear in the inside left position. His shot was well save with Matt Ritchie’s follow-up blocked. Paul Benson’s brace brought him the Man of The Match honours.

The whistle was blown and Town maintained their lead at the top with a new club record set in the process; with nine successive victories in the Football League. Swindon march on with Burton Albion next to visit fortress County Ground on Tuesday… can we now make it an incredible ten wins in a row..?

Your man of the match: 1st Paul Benson 44%, 2nd Wes Foderingham 20%, 3rd Alan McCormack & Luke Rooney tied 14%

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