Shrewsbury Town 2 Swindon Town 0: A second successive away defeat

Swindon Town fell to a second successive away defeat at the hands of Shrewsbury Town. It was a frustrating day for all concerned with Town in a game that was dominated by two new arrivals reports Andrew Steele-Davis.

Both Swindon and Shrewsbury made forays into the transfer market on the Friday before the game, the home side snapping up winger Adam Reach on loan from Middlesbrough while Swindon secured the rather controversial signature of Nile Ranger. However, it was to be the new arrival at Shrewsbury that would have the greatest impact on proceedings.

Swindon Caretaker Manager Mark Cooper made just one change to the side that dispatched of Stevenage the week before, with Tottenham loanee Alex Pritchard returning from injury to replace Tijane, who had been struggling with a knee injury during the week’s training. Town’s new no.9 Nile Ranger was included on the bench, with many fans hoping that he will become the latest in a long line of famous Swindon Town goal scorers.

Town kicked off the game displaying their neat, patient passing game which frustrated the home team and fans alike. After an opening period which saw the visitors have plenty of possession but no real openings in front of goal, Shrewsbury took the lead.

A mistake by Grant Hall after a poor pass by Yaser Kasim saw debutant Adam Reach go clean through on goal, and with all the time in the world to pick his spot, the loanee coolly slotted past the advancing Wes Foderingham. Moments like that are likely to occur with the type of football Mark Cooper is trying to implement at Swindon, but it was a disappointing way to concede nonetheless and set the tone for the afternoon.

The goal gave the hosts a massive lift as Swindon were then subjected to a barrage of Shrewsbury pressure. Moments after notching a debut goal, the impressive Reach had a golden opportunity to make it 2-0, but his header looped just wide of Foderingham’s goal.

Swindon enjoyed plenty of possession but could not find a way to create any real clear cut chances on goal as the Shrewsbury defence stood tall. Ryan Harley perhaps should have done better as his cross was too easy for Shrewsbury goalkeeper Chris Weale to deal with before Nathan Byrne sent his effort wide of the goal after cutting in from the wing.

With time running out before the half time whistle, Joe Jacobson, formerly of Bristol Rovers, nearly doubled the home side’s advantage with a stunning effort. An attempted clearance from Swindon fell to the former Rover’s full-back on the edge of the area, before letting loose with a vicious volley which flew inches over the crossbar. A severe warning sign for Town going into the break.

Swindon were a much improved outfit in the second half, displaying the sort of swagger and urgency that was evident in the previous three games rather than the sluggish side that struggled in the first half at Greenhous Meadow. Miles Storey, Ryan Harley and the busy Nathan Byrne all tried their luck in front of goal but Weale, and the Shrewsbury defence frustrated and tormented their guests time after time.

Wes Foderingham was called into action countless times in this encounter and showed why he is one of the most sought after goalkeepers outside the Premier League with a stunning save to deny the home side a second after showing cat like reflexes to keep out an effort that had deflected goal-wards of Darren Ward.

Adam Reach and Akwasi Asante were causing Mark Cooper’s troops all sorts of problems and it was Asante, on loan from Birmingham City, who really should have put Swindon to bed. Capitalising on some slack Swindon defending, the loanee found himself clear on goal only to lose his composure at the crucial time and stab his effort wide. A glorious chance wasted for the hosts but a massive let of for Swindon, who were struggling to grasp any sort of foothold on the game.

However, with time ticking away, and despite the introduction of Nile Ranger into the fold for his Town debut, Shrewsbury’s dominance finally paid off. A long ball over the top of the Swindon defence which wasn’t dealt with by Nathan Byrne allowed substitute Tom Bradshaw to work himself into space in the box before unleashing an effort past Foderingham to double the home side’s advantage and put the contest to bed.

Swindon were deflated by the goal but they did have a chance to pull one back, a corner falling to debutant Nile Ranger at the back post but his header went wide.

A bitterly disappointing afternoon for Swindon Town who were the masters of their own downfall with two suicidal errors at the back proving costly. Swindon were also frustrated in the attacking department, with very few clear cut chances created. Two shots on target all game tells it’s own story.

However, it is still very early days for this new look Swindon team who haven’t been able to name a settled side due to a few niggling injuries. The style of play that Mark Cooper has imposed on the team over pre-season has been a pleasure to watch so far but it will take time for the class of 2013/14 to fully embrace and master the tika taka style of football. Rome wasn’t built in a day…

With a permanent managerial appointment set to be announced next week, and a new arrival apparently imminent, there never is a dull moment at the Town.

Andrew Steele-Davis has recently established Steele-Davis Media, a Sports Media Agency Specialising in Marketing and PR and Editorial needs for professional sports clubs and organisations. Andrew’s can be contacted via his website http://steeledavismedia.co.uk/

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