The best I’ve ever seen #5: Two goals in two minutes vs Blackburn Rovers
We continue our ‘Best I’ve Ever Seen’ at Swindon Town series with the visit of Blackburn Rovers for a League Cup Second Round 1st leg tie on 20th September 1995. As Ron Smith considers Town’s two goals in two minutes was the finest two goals in two minutes he’s seen…
After Swindon Town beat Cambridge United in the League Cup First Round, Blackburn Rovers travelled to the County Ground for the Second Round first leg.
Less than 18-months previously this game was a Premier League fixture, when Town were defeated 3-1 at Ewood Park on the way to instant relegation from the top flight. Following a second successive relegation into Division Two, Steve McMahon’s Town were travelling to the Manor Ground, while Rovers were soon on their way to getting beaten at Spartak Moscow, Legia Warsaw and Rosenborg in the Champions League after winning the 1994/95 Premier Division title.
Life in the third tier started very well for Town with six wins and two draws from the eight played before Blackburn’s visit. A key presence in three of those games was Frank Talia, having nicked Fraser Digby’s goalkeeper jersey after joining Town, however the Australian ‘keeper was cup-tied for the tie.
That Wednesday at the County Ground evening was a special night as it’s rare that Town are drawn against the leading side in the country in any cup. The stadium was packed – including Town fans on the Stratton Bank – and from our vantage point in the Town End the atmosphere was electric. Town were unbeaten in the league and seeing that hardly any time had elapsed since the sides were playing in the same division, there was an overwhelming feeling Town could win.
The magical two minutes started with Colin Hendry hastily hoofing the ball out for the throw. Kevin Horlock received the ball from a one-two and was given time to pinpoint a left-footed cross towards the six-yard box. While Hendry was oblivious to the quickness of the cross and found himself marking the penalty spot, Wayne Allison came unmarked from behind to head low back towards the far post to give Town the lead.
The second came moments later started when Tim Sherwood (I think) was dispossessed outside of the Town box. Again, Rovers couldn’t be arsed with putting any pressure on the Town midfielder as Wayne O’Sullivan was allowed the freedom of the right wing to pick out Steve Finney’s forward run at the edge of the penalty area. Finney then controlled with his chest before, what is probably the finest touch of a ball from any Town player, to dink the ball to the left of Jeff Kenna, before his low strike beat Tim Flowers.
That feeling of pure joy and bewilderment at scoring twice in quick succession was only short-lived. Two minutes after Steve Finney’s goal, Chris Sutton’s header gave Rovers hope and then parity in the score with Alan Shearer’s deflected strike just before the break. Town held onto the draw until the 83rd minute with Shearer showed exactly how to shape your body and strike low to deceive the ‘keeper for the late winner.
In the second leg, two more goals for Alan Shearer gave Rovers a 5-2 aggregate lead, but the tie will always be remembered for those two quick-fire goals and the fleeting possibility of beating the English champions.
Ah. The days of an atmosphere without needing…
1. The players walking out
2. A goal.
3. A corner.
Exactly, where has the atmosphere and expectation gone?