Swindon Town 1-1 Crawley Town: Red Devils snatch a late point
After being undone by two penalties at promotion chasing Leyton Orient on Saturday. Swindon Town came into the Tuesday night clash with Crawley Town hoping to pick up maximum points, but they didn’t… Writes Calvin Hothi.
Mark Cooper opted to leave Massimo Luongo and Troy Archibald Henville out of his matchday squad with Nathan Thompson, Jack Barthram, Jay McEveley and Ryan Harley coming to the side. Goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell came onto the bench as cover for Tyrell Belford, who continued to deputise for the injured Wes Foderingham. A familiar face was on the Crawley bench in the shape of Rory Fallon, the striker best remembered for his over head goal against Bristol City. Swindon took to a 3-5-2 formation, Jack Barthram and Nathan Byrne played in the wing back roles with Darren Ward, Nathan Thompson and McEveley in the middle.
A horror start for the game saw Tyrell Belford nearly gift an open goal to the Crawley front man but thankfully Jay McEveley got across the box to cover. Byrne struck a shot wide just before Belford was on hand to tip over a fizzing effort. The young shot stopper took quite a lot of unnecessary stick from the Robins fans but he seemed to brush it off and continue playing it out from the back.
Just after the ten minute mark Harley burst through a series of challenges and teed up Byrne who won a corner. Nothing came from the resulting corner and Proctor sent an effort wide up the other end of the pitch. A decent touch was preventing Town from making any real distance into the Crawley area. Harley did see a long-range effort saved as Town continued to press but with no avail.
The crowd got onto the Robins side back quite a bit and some are in need of a reality check. We aren’t the side challenging for automatic promotion last season. What seemed to most infuriate the Robins faithful was the constant passing back of the ball however when no options forward are available I fail to see who they are meant to pass to. We don’t have players like Xavi and Iniesta. Some fans need to think before hurling things at them.
Drury was the first to go into the book on 27 minutes when clashing with a stretching Nathan Thompson. Drury appeared to come off worse from the challenge with having to be replaced by Sully Kaikai three minutes later.
One of the many surprises in a very poor performance from the referee was his decision not to award a penalty to our opponents. Darren Ward brought down the oncoming Proctor but any appeals were quickly waved away. Crawley could feel hard done by. It’s a shame that wasn’t picked up in the match highlights as the challenge appeared to have warranted a penalty
Dany N’Guessan saw two efforts fail to open the scoring before the best opportunity of the game. Smith’s ball found the Frenchman about 5 yards out but he could do nothing but poke weakly at the ‘keeper. A chance that should’ve been taken. In the end that summed up a drab first half and the sides went into the break level.
Town came out for the second half a lot better, opening up the Crawley defence and passing it around. The breakthrough came three minutes into the second half. Jack Barthram swung in a dangerous ball meant for Nathan Byrne, but in the end Walsh guided it into his own net. A very important goal for Swindon and exactly what was needed to calm an impatient home crowd.
Bulman replaced Proctor in the 55th minute as Crawley looked for an answer. N’Guessan squandered another opportunity by firing into the side netting and Louis Thompson all saw his effort fly wide. Dicker should’ve brought Crawley level but could only head into Belford’s hands from a good position. Sully Kaikai’s free kick was the next to test but was whipped wide of the post.
Jacob Murphy came on for Smith in the 66th minute before Louis Thompson was hacked down much to Mark Cooper’s displeasure. Ryan Harley sent through Jacob Murphy whose effort was blocked before the turning point of the game came.
Byrne exquisite pass by the inside of his foot sent through N’Guessan, however he sent it straight at the ‘keeper when he really needed to have finished, or at least squared the ball across the box. His misery, as he was lying on the floor, was compounded when the Red Devils ran up the other end and a sliding Matt Tubbs brought them level. A goal that could easily have been prevented.
A point when Town really should have been taking three is a hard one to take but at the end of the day, the performance did not warrant maximum points and Crawley got a deserved point. N’Guessan should have had a hat-trick and on another day would have got it. The young Robins side will be looking to fix it when next out but for me, the play off race for us is now over. Get the points required for safety and then test out the likes of Alex Smith, Tijane Reis, George Barker, Connor Waldon and the others on the fringes of the squad.
A summer of adding serious steel to the squad is needed if a serious play off challenge is to be expected. Mid-table would have been taken as an incredible achievement at the start of the season and I would still take it now.
My man of the match was Nathan Byrne, didn’t stop running and played some killer balls. Ryan Harley is a close second however with him having in my opinion his best performance for us.