Swindon Town 1-2 Crawley Town: Another report, another defeat…

The last time Anthony Gingell reported on a Swindon Town game was in August at the Broadfield Stadium, where Town lost 1-0 to Crawley Town. So we couldn’t think of anyone better to report on this latest Town defeat at the hands of the Red Devils…

At the start of the season the game at the Broadfield Stadium was an indifferent game where Swindon fans were expecting, should we say, not a lot. How things have changed in a short space of time? However Swindon’s form has been very poor recently with one win in four, including two away games which we only applied ourselves in one half each. Could this game see Town return to winning ways by playing for the full 90-minutes?

Mark Cooper makes two changes from the Valentine’s Day defeat at Scunthorpe United with Raphael-Rossi-Branco being dropped for Ben Gladwin. Also John Swift bringing some attacking flair for the tired Louis Thompson. The main disappointment was that Massimo Luongo was still missing through injury.

There’s absolutely nothing to report for the first couple of minutes apart from a freak hail / sleet shower (and yes this is the only thing to note) until Town give the ball away cheaply. Edwards took the ball at speed in front of the Don Rogers stand, before his cross evaded the defence and allows Wordsworth to slide in with a right footed finish at the near post. Wes Foderingham had no chance.

Five minutes gone and Swindon are 1-0 down at home with the fans not sounding happy. Maybe Town could get straight back into the game as Swift contributed with some brilliant footwork before being scythed down by Tomlin about 25-yards out. No card for the poor challenge and Swift placed the shot wide of the goal, thankfully for Crawley’s ‘keeper.

The referee took centre stage as free kicks were given for anything and everything. It seems to be one of those days again. It takes Town until 20 minutes before their passing football begins, but it’s not as quick as we need or seen in the past. The crowd are getting restless with the poor touches of the promotion chasing side. However Kasim gets a tame shot away, very easily saved by the ‘keeper.

Something to shout about – the referee. He books both Nathan Thompson and Byrne within minutes. The first is very harsh as Thommo takes the ball before the man who falls over theatrically. Byrne deservedly so but stops the break. Annoyingly Crawley were getting away with their fouls… Tomlin finally makes the book for kicking Byrne after the right wing back has motored past and on his way down the line. A proper hack, which I’ve seen reds given in the past.

Swindon started to knock the ball about and finally a through ball to Andy Williams is inch perfect, but Willo doesn’t get the right connection and Crawley make it to half time with the lead.

The way forward for Swindon was to run at the opposition defence and to use the through ball splitting the full back and centre half. Harry Toffolo and Byrne had been poor so far but could get more chances to cross by running around the full backs. This style needs us to be quicker and play with more width as Crawley set with a 4-2-2-2 formation stopping any central play.

Second half begins with a Town substitution, Toffolo off and replaced by Louis Thompson, meaning Gladwin goes to the left side of midfield.

Town began the half with pace and meaning. Nathan Byrne had the ball over by the Arkells stand, takes a substantial booting for being tricky and the referee lets play continue. Crawley are breaking at pace down Town’s right side. Nathan Thompson does brilliantly stopping Izale McLeod from a one on one with Foderingham. The striker’s pass is intercepted by Stephens. The defender runs 60-yards with the ball from the penalty area. Byrne pulls the left back out wide, Stephens spots the space and run of Williams. He threads the ball rolling in Williams’ path who side foots the ball first time past the onrushing Crawley ‘keeper.

Town are back in the game and looking good for another. Swindon corner whipped in and Gladwin glances wide. The game was truly on now…

Then another Swindon chance goes begging. Byrne’s brilliant free kick misses Jordan Turnball and Crawley about to break again but Louis Thompson’s challenge breaks down the move.

Gladwin then gets in the right place on a Swindon attack. The defender begins to close Ben down as the shot is made. The ball is heading for the bottom corner only for the Crawley ‘keeper to get down brilliantly to push the ball around the post.

Soon afterwards Ryan Dickson launches a free kick from his own half and Turnball (lucky not to give away another free kick for holding) is turned by Tomlin, who rifles a rocket over Foderingham and into the back of Swindon’s goal off the underside of the bar. A real sucker punch…

So Crawley are the first team to complete the double over Swindon, which ensures Town’s worst run of the season continues. We were unlucky wrongly having had a player sent off at Crawley. As I saw it, the player who scored the winner at the County Ground shouldn’t have been on the pitch. C’est la vie and we all need to stay together for Tuesday’s game against Bradford City. We need to start with pace, desire and width.

Let’s all get down to the County Ground on Tuesday night and back the players. They don’t intentionally misplace passes or not control the ball but we can still believe that this could be a great season!

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