Match report: Swindon Town 3 - 0 Rochdale

By Alfie Howlett - 22 August 2022

Clubs & ActivitiesSport

A match report from Swindon Link's STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett

Swindon registered their first win of the campaign on Saturday 20 August, after a fine showing against Dale.

Goals from Jacob Wakeling, Jonny Williams and Harry McKirdy handed Town all three points against a managerless rock bottom Rochdale outfit.

Swindon arrived for the second installment of their double header of home fixtures following a draw against Leyton Orient. In their search for an elusive win they welcomed Rochdale to the County Ground.

Rochdale, who parted company with manager Robbie Stockdale on Thursday, sat at the foot of the table. Having not picked up a point all season, the visitors presented Town with a perfect opportunity to kick start their season. Scott Lindesy would make just the one change from Tuesday with Ronan Darcy replacing Remeao Hutton.

Inside the first minute Swindon got the afternoon off to a flying start. Taking just 26 seconds Jacob Wakeling capitalised on Ben Nelson's underhit back pass to find himself one on one with O'Donnell. From a tight angle Wakeling placed the ball through the keepers legs to hand the hosts a one goal lead.

The fast start for Town once again highlighted the incredible work ethic of Wakeling out of possession. Two minutes later with Town well and truly out of the blocks Ronan Darcy sent a fizzing effort over the crossbar. Darcy who is known as a midfielder began this game as a right back with Town playing a back 4.

With 14 on the clock Harry McKirdy wiggled room for a shot only to be rewarded with a corner. The resulting corner saw Ronan Darcy's powerful long range hit beaten away for another corner. Half way through the first half Ben Gladwin played an excellent through ball to Wakeling only for O'Donnell to stand tall and save Wakeling's one on one effort.

Then Gladwin again, who had been the most eye-catching player in midfield, played a delicious cross on to the head of Tom Clayton which he headed at the keeper from close range. However, Swindon were playing well and creating plenty of good chances.

On 23 minutes Rochdale had their first real sight of goal when Devante Rodney's long range attempt shaved the post. Then minutes later they were in again after Abraham Odoh found himself in behind Ronan Darcy only to drag his cross-come-shot horribly wide.

Past the half hour mark Jacob Wakeling on the counter attack cut inside and sent an effort down the throat of O'Donnell in The Dale goal. After Saidou Khan sent a right footed effort over the bar the whistle for the interval went with Town one to the good.

The second half saw Swindon have to wait five minutes to double the advantage. Saidou Khan's through ball found the run of Jacob Wakeling who after taking the ball round the keeper found Jonny Williams to fire into an empty net. It would be the Welsh international's first strike of the season. And it gave Swindon some much needed breathing room.

With Town now well and truly in the ascendancy the second half remained in their comfortable control. Just shy of 70 minutes Louis Reed sent a free kick narrowly wide of the post. Then ten minutes from time Harry McKirdy put the contest beyond all doubt.

Ben Gladwin’s long ball hit the head of Wakeling who nodded it down into McKirdy's path. After taking a brief moment to compose himself McKirdy made no mistake firing past O'Donnell. Before the game concluded Rayhaan Tulloch gave the travelling fans a brief moment of excitement when his curling effort skimmed the woodwork. But on a comfortable afternoon Town would take a comfortable three points.

The performance as well as the result was no doubt Swindon's finest this season. The chances were free flowing in attack and the defence were solid keeping their second clean sheet of the season.

Jacob Wakeling was again superb with a goal and 2 assists with the striker beggining to form an exciting partnership with McKirdy. And lastly Ben Gladwin had a dominant display making both key tackles and some exquisite passes.

Next up for Swindon is a trip to newly promoted Stockport on Saturday. 

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