A match report from Swindon Link's STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett.
Swindon defied the odds to upset promotion chasing Bradford City with a stellar performance underneath The County Ground lights.
Jonny Williams capped off a herioc performance when he headed home a Remeao Hutton cross 11 minutes from time. It meant that Swindon claimed their first win in 10 games against a team who had been unbeaten in 10 matches. The Robins also inflicted The Bantams first defeat on the road in 2023.
In search of his first win since February, Jody Morris named two changes to his Swindon side with Luke Jephcott and Dylan Kadji getting a run out in place of Charlie Austin and George McEachran. The visitors Bradford, managed by the legendary Mark Hughes, arrived in Wiltshire with full focus on promotion. Sitting sixth in the table The Bantams had all the momentum with a ten game unbeaten run, plus the services of the leading scorer in the division - Andy Cook.
It was the leading marksman Cook who had the first opening of the contest eight minutes in. Latching on to a through ball Cook was quickly charged down in the box before he had an opportunity to dispatch. Three minutes later Bradford had another strong sight of goal when Richard Smallwood volleyed over from 12 yards with the goal at his mercy.
Swindon, however, appeared hungrier as they offered much more intensity with several players having a point to prove. In fact they had their first look at goal on 14 minutes when Jonny Williams fizzed an effort from range narrowly wide following a short free kick.
Seconds later, the visitors troubled with a free kick of their own when Smallwood's low free kick narrowly evaded the incoming Crichlow at the back post. They'd soon follow that when Jamie Walker tested Brynn from range with a swerving effort forcing Brynn to claim at the second attempt. Andy Cook fluffed another opportunity with 26 minutes on the clock when he volleyed wide at the back post.
Despite Bradford looking the more threatening side, Swindon continued to defend well as they made sure to continously get the last block in. However, Jamie Walker offered Swindon a reminder of his qualities on 36 minutes when his curling effort from range had Brynn scampering to ensure it went wide.
The Robins were offering an almighty shift with several players running incredibly hard to thwart The Bantams. And prior to the break Swindon's hard running resulted in Luke Jephcott winning the ball outside the Bradford box.
Fortunately for Bradford, Jephcott's square ball saw Rushian Hepburn-Murphy completely miss cue his shot. The game was becoming increasingly end to end with Brynn saving Thierry Nevers header from a corner on the goal line before Saidou Khan at the other end had a bending effort tipped away by the out stretched Harry Lewis. It brought an end to a thoroughly captivating first 45 in which both teams were striking blow for blow without landing a knockout punch.
With promotion on the line, Town's Northern visitors started the second half dangerously with Tom Brewitt blocking a goal bound attempt. However, the game continued in a similar pattern to the first with Sol Brynn standing tall to gather Scott Banks shot before Luke Jephcott saw his venomous strike tipped over on the counter attack.
From there the clear cut chances dried up with the most threatening spells being short periods of ping pong in the Swindon box in the aftermath of corner's. Considering Swindon's impeccable work ethic and resolute defending it seemed only right that they won the game eight minutes from time. Inside Bradford territory Jonny Williams sprayed the ball out to Remeao Hutton on the right wing. Hutton ran at his man before dropping a shoulder and swinging in a wicked delivery with his left boot.
It found the run of the Williams who unmarked rose perfectly to head home from point blank range. The combination brought Williams into double figures for goals and Hutton into double figures for assists this season. With Bradford shell shocked, Swindon comfortably negotiated the remaining minutes for their first win in 10.
It's certainly a funny old game football. Not even the most optimistic of Town fans held much hopes prior to the contest. However, if you hadn't seen the table before the match, based off the contest you'd suggest that both teams are fighting for promotion.
It's a great shame that this performance didn't come several weeks ago, yet on the other hand it's terrific that it did eventually come. It offers Jody Morris' side a much needed boost before their trip to AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
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