Match report: Swindon Town 1 - 1 Harrogate Town

By Alfie Howlett - 29 November 2021

SportClubs & Activities

Saturday 27 November's home game saw Swindon Town FC draw against Harrogate FC.

It would be another frustrating afternoon for the Robins as a late Jack Payne penalty rescued a point against a mediocre Harrogate side.

Swindon came into their first ever meeting with Harrogate in the EFL looking for consecutive home victories in the league for the first time since the 27 February. They'd make just the one change to Tuesday's victorious line up with Ben Gladwin coming in for Harry Mckirdy as Town looked to claim all 9 points in the week. Despite sitting just 3 places behind Swindon in the table, the visitors Harrogate were in the midst of an injury crisis.

Harrogate would start the brighter of the two sides. Some early confusion between Conroy and Wollacott, following a ball over the top from Lloyd Kerry, saw Luke Armstrong chip the ball over the stranded Wollacott only for Rob Hunt to scramble back and hook it off the goal line. Seconds later Kerry stung the palms of Wollacott from 30 yards out unleashing a dipping effort which was tipped away by the Ghanaian.

Swindon were really clinging on as Armstrong sent a powerful close range header wide of Wollacott's post. The hosts just couldn't get on the front foot as they struggled to break the lines and go through the phases. Every goal kick saw the ball go straight back to an opposition player as Harrogate were strangling Swindon inside their own half.

The visitors then justified their early dominance with a goal on 24 minutes. A long goal kick which was helped on by the wind saw Kaine Kesler Hayden lose his man as Jack Diamond broke through 1:1 with Wollacott and then proceeded to calmly slot it through Wollacott's legs to give his side a deserved lead.

After the half hour mark Swindon did begin to offer a little more threat as a Louis Reed shot was blocked following a short corner. But it would be a rare shot on target for Ben Ganrer's men as a compact Harrogate gave Swindon very little chance of creating anything. The half time whistle sounded with pockets of boos echoing around the County Ground in what was a thoroughly poor first half.

The second half saw Harrogate immediately drop back into their shape and put eleven men behind the ball. They clearly had done their homework as Swindon once again struggled to break down a visiting side at home. Ten minutes into the half Jack Payne danced through a sea of defenders into the box but his shot was quickly charged down. As the clock ticked down Swindon began to knock on the door a little more but with no clear cut opportunities to show for it - the closest being an Ellis Iandolo cross which just evaded Tyreece Simpson in the box.

Kerry on 73 minutes then had another long range effort saved and then 3 minutes later Conroy blocked a shot destined for the goal inside the penalty area. With Harrogate tiring and getting drawn out of their shape the introduction of Mitchell Lawson off the bench saw Town being awarded with a penalty. A ball over the top and into the box from Jack Payne was controlled excellently by Mitchell Lawson who was then clipped from behind giving Payne a chance to level from the spot. After a lengthy delay Payne stepped up and tucked his spot kick low and hard to the keepers left to make it one a piece.

For the first time in the afternoon Swindon were on the front foot and seeking a winner. In stoppage time Swindon thought they had their second penalty of the game when Ellis Iandolo was taken down inside the box. However the referee deemed it simulation. In fairness to the referee it took me 3 or 4 times to re-watch it and conclude it was a penalty. The heavy touch from Iandolo gave the defender every right to go for the ball but there was then a coming together inside the box. But then with seconds to go the game very nearly ended the same way it started. Some confusion at the back saw Harry Mckirdy find Payne with the keeper out of the picture however Harrogate scrambled back to block Payne's goal bound effort. Which would see the game finish level.

It was at times a very frustrating afternoon for Swindon, however they dug deep and scored late for a very respectable 7 points out of 9. As the November chapter finishes Ben Garner will certainly feel more than pleased after picking up 4 wins out of 5 in league and Cup. With Swindon sitting fourth in the league, in the second round of the FA Cup and in the round of 32 in the EFL Trophy. Next up for Swindon is that EFL Trophy clash against Colchester on Tuesday night. 

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