Swindon 4 AFC Bournemouth 0: Thompson steals Ritchie’s thunder
After a few turbulent weeks Town really needed a solid performance at home to consolidate their 2-1 victory away at Portsmouth mid-week and that is exactly what they did with a 4-0 over AFC Bournemouth, writes Matt Davies.
Paolo Di Canio decided to stick with his mid-week team, something that has been a rarity since the start of the season way back in August. Town youngster Nathan Thompson was the surprise package of Tuesday’s game and was worthy of his place in the team after a solid performance at Fratton Park.
The home side came flying out of the box and it took just two minutes for them to create a chance, Williams whipped in a low cross from the right hand side only to be forced wide by strike partner James Collins. It was a similar story a few minutes later when Thompson got forward well and picked out Collins, but he was unable to get the ball under control and the chance was gone.
Ten minutes had gone and Swindon were well on top of their opposition and were passing the ball quickly, accurately and were looking sharp. The visitors had a few balls hoofed into the Swindon box but Foderingham had all of them covered and distributed quickly to make sure we didn’t lose momentum.
The breakthrough finally came in the 12th minute when Matt Ritchie picked the pocket of a Cherries defender before lashing the ball into the top corner of the goal, Swindon were in the lead and deservedly so.
Ten minutes then passed and Swindon were still on top but Bournemouth had started to grow into the game winning a flurry of corners. Nathan Thompson, who had made an impressive start did well to deny Lewis Grabban a cross after three blocks with Grabban eventually winning a corner. Despite this the corner came to nothing and Town were soon on another attack.
New signing Gary Roberts, who was making his competitive home début showed that persistence does pay off after attempting two crosses that were blocked before finally getting his cross away. A looping ball perfectly placed onto an incoming Andy Williams who completed the move with a diving header on the 22nd minute. With half an hour played Swindon were cruising, but a great ball to Matt Tubbs put him clean through on goal only for Wes to get down to his right hand side and get a strong hand to the ex-Crawely man a goal.
The second half came and Bournemouth winger Lewis Grabban had swapped flanks which was testament to Thompson’s first half performance, Swindon continued as they had left off. Paolo made his first change of the match when he brought on Adam Rooney for an off colour James Collins in the 55th minute, this was followed by his second tactical change. The next goal came on the 67th when yet again a Matt Ritchie cross from a free kick found its way into the back of the net making it 3-0.
We entered the last ten minutes and that brought a flurry of chances for Andy Williams, the first came in the 81st minute when substitute Adam Rooney’s header released Williams, who then raced into the box and hit the post with a left-footed effort. Good pressure from Swindon lead to a frantic goal mouth scramble with the opposition desperate to clear their lines, several blocked shots later the ball fell to Williams who calmly dispatched a controlled volley that looped onto the crossbar.
Throughout Paolo’s reign he has insisted that his players are ruthless in front of goal, with seven minutes to go The Robins were still pushing for a fourth and their hard work paid off in the 86th minute when Jay McEverly linked up with winger Gary Roberts on the left before drilling a cross through the area where it was met by Rooney who capped off a great day for Swindon with the easiest of finishes.
Swindon were dominant from start to finish and there are many positives to take from this game. The first is that it looks as if Paolo has finally found a settled starting XI which will hopefully bring some stability and consistency to the team. Another positive is that Andy Williams is now properly up and running with his second goal in as many games and looked a threat throughout the course of the game. But the pick of the bunch for me was seeing Nathan Thompson more than hold his own at right back, he got forward and defended well, however at times he was a little slow getting back but his pace allows him to do so and put in a decent shift for what has been a troublesome area for Town.
The performance was unrecognisable to the performance we last saw at the County Ground when we slipped to a 1-0 defeat, Swindon played expansive, attacking and confident football. Roll on Tuesday, Burnley and the return of Charlie Austin.