It was a 5 star showing for Swindon on New Year's Day as they came from behind to dispatch Northampton in style to get 2022 off to a winning start.
Following a disappointing stalemate at home to Stevenage Swindon made three changes to their starting eleven with Jordan Lyden, Tyreece Simpson and Jonny Williams coming into the team. The visitors Northampton were playing their first game since the 11th of December due to Coronavirus.
Swindon made an encouraging start to the game with an early Tyreece Simpson effort going just over the crossbar. 13 minutes in Jojo Wollacott made a good save low down to his right after a long range effort by Jack Sowerby. Swindon were considerably brighter than previous starts with Lyden and Reed dominating the midfield. The hosts were then rewarded with the lead on 28 minutes thanks to Harry McKirdy. Jack Payne found himself with acres of space down the left and several red shirts to aim at inside the box. Payne's cross then took a wicked deflection off a Northampton defender to land at the feet of McKirdy who calmly slotted past Roberts for his first goal for Town at home.
Northampton would respond instantly with a period of intense pressure which would eventually lead to the equaliser. A brilliant diagonal ball from Shaun McWilliams inside his own half found Sam Hoskins on the right wing. Northampton's top scorer then controlled the ball excellently, to have a shot which flew past Wollacott and into the net to make it one a piece. Swindon were on the ropes and craving the half time whistle. And with seconds to go Mitch Pinnock's 45 yard free kick needed tipping over by Wollacott. It would mark the half time whistle as both sides went in level in what was an entertaining contest.
The second half got underway and just 5 minutes later Northampton took the lead from a set piece. A low delivery from Pinnock beat the Swindon defence as Jon Guthrie got there first to tap past Wollacott. It was a sloppy goal to give away defensively from Swindon's point of view. However they quickly dusted themselves down and responded in the best way possible. Jack Payne's shot from inside the box was blocked into the path of McKirdy who adjusted his body brilliantly to fire past the diving Roberts to make it level once more. 3 minutes later it was then Swindon's turn to come from behind and retake the lead as Harry McKirdy completed his hat-trick to make it 3-2. Jonny Williams put Tyreece Simpson through on goal however his effort was blocked but once again McKirdy was in the right place to tap home into an empty net. The Swindon onslaught continued straight from kick off as a looping Rob Hunt header hit the top of the crossbar after a Louis Reed corner.
It was scintillating stuff from Swindon as Northampton were on the ropes. And Tyreece Simpson then provided the knock out with Swindon's 4th of the afternoon. Reed found Simpson inside the Northampton half with a long ball. With still plenty to do Simpson took the ball and brilliantly held off his man as he continued to advance. Then inside the box the Ipswich loanee lashed the ball past the keeper to make it 4-2 to Town. It was becoming a new year's day massacre for Northampton and with 66 on the clock McKirdy became the first Swindon player to score 4 goals in a match since James Collins. Exactly 9 years ago. A Reed free kick from 25 yards was beaten away by a full stretch Roberts. But only as far as Harry McKirdy who finished first time again to make it 5-2 and game set match to Swindon.
Every player in red was putting on a show for the 9071 spectators, and Tyreece Simpson really should've got his second of the afternoon after Iandolo cut the ball back to him with just the keeper in his way Simpson managed to hit the post. On 74 minutes Jojo Wollacott pulled off a save for the cameras as he saved a Nicke Kabamba header. Ten minutes later McKirdy came close to a 5th after poking Ben Gladwin's through ball onto the woodwork. With the 3 points getting ever closer McKirdy started bringing out all the tricks in front of his adoring audience as Town welcomed the new year in style. Full time at the County Ground Swindon 5-2 Northampton.
It was a stellar performance from Town and the game of a lifetime by McKirdy as Town dismantled a promotion chasing Northampton. Not only was it a big 3 points but it was a huge statement to the league. After not a single league win in December Swindon reminded us all of just how dangerous they can be when it all clicks. Especially this ever blossoming strike partnership between McKirdy and Simpson. Next up for Town is the small task of the champions of England in the FA Cup third round at home on Friday night.