Match report : Swindon Town 1-1 Bristol Rovers

By Alfie Howlett - 23 January 2022

Clubs & Activities

Swindon were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in an intensely contested West Country derby.

In front of a near capacity crowd Swindon welcomed an underperfoming Bristol Rovers outfit to the County Ground. Despite their league status it would be a tough game for Town as the form book often goes out of the window in local derbies. Rovers made 3 changes to their previous league outing against Hartlepool. Whereas for Swindon Ben Garner stuck with the same eleven who rewarded him with 3 points at Port Vale last Saturday.

The game kicked off with an early chance falling to Ben Gladwin 3 minutes in. The number 7, who had signed a new contract in the week, could only poke Louis Reed's free kick over the crossbar. Ten minutes into the game Bristol Rovers had their first sight at goal when an Aaron Collins cross narrowly evaded Ryan Loft inside the penalty area. The game really did feel like a derby, a derby which Swindon took the lead of after 16 minutes. Louis Reed capitalised on a loose ball to find Tyreece Simpson about 25 yards out from goal. Simpson took 2 touches to open up his body and curl a bouncing effort past Belshaw in the Rovers goal. It was a fine strike from Simpson for what was his first goal outside the box all season. However crucially it was an early goal to give Swindon the advantage.

5 minutes later Jake O'Brien nodded over a Louis Reed corner. Which would mark a really positive first 22 for Town. One in which they had taken control of the game with some lovely spells of sustained possession. However the next 22 minutes would see Town lose that control as the game became slower and more scrappy. And 10 minutes shy of half time the visitors found themselves level. A Sam Finley cross eluded everyone inside the box including Lewis Ward as it curled past him into the net. The next ten minutes belonged to Bristol Rovers as Swindon just couldn't get back to the levels shown in the opening 20. The half time whistle blew to relieve Town of the pressure. It was a first half that saw Swindon fly out the traps only to be pegged back by Rovers.

The second half promised a lot however it failed to deliver. Sam Nicholson cut in from the left wing into the box and saw his low effort comfortably saved by Ward 52 minutes in. The game was becoming ever more lose as the minutes went by with flying tackles going in. Which brought lengthy delays for treatment. It definitely didn't suit Town’s rhythm however it was working perfectly for Rovers as they continued to frustrate the hosts. Tyreece Simpson came close to adding another to his tally on 66 minutes when Louis Reed played him through on goal. However this time Simpson saw his effort roll just shy of post. Harry Mckirdy then followed that with an effort saved from 23 yards 2 minutes later. With ten minutes to go Ben Gladwin saw his goal bound effort blocked inside the box. And in stoppage time Louis Reed could only find the arms of the goalkeeper with a long range free kick. It marked what was a thoroughly uneventful stop start second half.

One a piece it finished with both teams happy to settle for a point. The draw was definitely a fair result with both teams showing promising signs however not enough to warrant all 3 points. The solitary point see's Swindon fall to 6th in the league. Next up for the Robins is a trip to Essex as they face a managerless Colchester for the third time this season. 

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