Swindon 3-1 Scunthorpe Utd: Town deliver a winning start

Swindon Town kicked-off their 2014/2015 campaign with a fully deserved home win. There was some great football on display at times at the County Ground, but a more clinical opposition attack would’ve capitalised on our current defensive frailties reports STFC007.

After several key players have left the County Ground since May, it was only Jay McEveley and Jack Stephens who played in Town’s last home match who since left the club.  Other key absentees missing that last game and no longer with us were Troy Archibald-Henville (then out on suspension), Nile Ranger (out on anything) and Alex Pritchard whose youth loan deal had expired.

Anton Rodgers has come in from Oldham Athletic; both Jordan Turnbull and Brad Smith have come in on season long loans from Southampton and Liverpool respectively; and Josh Lelan came in on a month youth loan seemingly to bridge the gap until Stephens hopefully is allowed to join us again.

A frenetic start saw Swindon take the game to Scunthorpe. Things were looking up early on. Ben Gladwin, as a make-shift strike partner for Michael Smith, attracted several defenders while driving forward and passed the ball to Nathan Byrne. Nathan was allowed too much space and time to pass the ball across goal where Massimo Luongo was able to stroke the ball into the top left corner of the net.

On nine minutes, Town should’ve been given the opportunity to extend their lead with a clear penalty. This time it was Yaser Kasim at the start of the attack who passed to Byrne who combined neatly with Luongo and received the ball back only to be brought down. A clear penalty for all to see except referee Stuart Atwell.

It didn’t take long though until Swindon doubled their lead. This time if was on the left hand side where some good combination play saw Louis Thomson reach the byline and pull the ball back to the free M.Smith who made no mistake and side footed the ball into the net despite Scunthorpe’s goalie Slocombe’s efforts to make himself as big as possible. What a start.

Scunthorpe worked their way back into the game mainly due to some of Town’s defensive positioning errors. A bad clearance from Luongo allowed a cross to initially reach McSheffrey who could not quite reach but at the far post a free downward header from Myrie-Williams was very well saved by Foderingham. The anschlusstreffer was a simple one; a flicked on header by Burton allowed Madden to get one on one with Wes who had no chance.

McSheffrey and Madden found themselves unmarked several times, but they were not able to score with either a leg or a backside in the way. A more clinical forward line would have punished Town.  The centre of the Town defence was too easily outwitted most of the afternoon and only some miraculous saves from Foderingham kept the score at 2-1.

McSheffrey’s elbow wasn’t seen by the referee nor by Les from Benidorm who this time had dressed up as linesman. Instead of Scunthorpe scoring an equaliser, it was Swindon who made it 3-1 just before half time. Ben Gladwin powered forward and his low shot ricocheted against the back post only for it to rebound into the path of Michael Smith whose fortuitous touch made it 3-1.

The second half was much better from Swindon where they controlled most of the game. Still several times Town’s back line were found too square, not looking around and playing the opposition on-side. There was from time to time more support from midfield where Kasim dropped back to provide cover when needed.
There were a couple of times where Scunthorpe could have brought the deficit back to one goal, but Swindon could easily have extended their lead with three or four themselves had they been as clinical as in the first half.

Luongo and Kasim were a pleasure to watch, both giving Bishop the run-around several times. Byrne had a great game on the wing, confidently demanding the ball and attacking his opponent successfully each time. Jordan Tunbull and Josh Lelan had good debuts but need more time to play together with the other players to form a good defensive unit.

Brad Smith was left visibly frustrated at times in the second half when most of the play took place on the right flank leaving him in acres of space. Easy to see from the stands, perhaps not always as easy to see when on the pitch.

The game was effectively over with ten minutes to go when Scunthorpe’s Williams was sent off for violent conduct after pushing Louis Thompson over in the face.

Overall it was a very entertaining match and an enjoyable opening to the new season, helped of course by the end result. If Town manage to secure a season long loan for Jack Stephens and perhaps add some additional goal scoring threat up front, we should be have something to look forward to the remainder of the season.

Swindon Town vs Scunthorpe Utd: 3-1 (HT: 3-1)
Luongo (3), M. Smith (12,43), P. Madden (19)

Swindon Town: W. Foderingham; J.Lelan (R. Branco 70), N.Thompson, J.Turnbull / N.Byrne, M.Luongo, Y.Kasim, L.Thompson, B.Smith / B.Gladwin, M.Smith (A. Williams 70)Substitutes: T.Belford, J.Barthram, R.Branco, G.Barker, A.Williams, C.Waldon, C.Smith

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