Match report: Swindon Town 1-2 Walsall

By Alfie Howlett - 28 December 2022

Sport

A report from Swindon Link STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett

Swindon succumbed to a Boxing Day knockout blow as Walsall grabbed a last gasp victory.

Despite Ellis Iandolo putting Town in the driving seat thanks to his first half strike, Manny Monthé completed the Walsall turnaround, poking home a corner in injury time.

Town celebrated Christmas in fine fettle after beating high flying Barrow prior to the 25th. The visitors, Walsall, also celebrated Christmas in good spirits as they sat on an 8 match unbeaten record. 

Scott Lindsey opted for an unchanged 11. Walsall, meanwhile, started the much sought-after Danny Johnson who was looking to add to his tally of 11 league goals.

It took 18 minutes for the first chance of the contest to arrive and it fell to the in-form Johnson. After Swindon failed to deal with a low free kick the ball found Johnson inside the box. With the goal gaping Johnson lashed his left-footed effort into the stands. 

Walsall up to that point had been very impressive, moving the ball quickly and stretching the pitch in the process.

Swindon likewise looked good in possession without creating anything in the final third. Their first foray into the Walsall box would bring the first goal of the afternoon. 

A quick break saw Jonny Williams unleash Ronan Darcy on the right wing with a long ball. Darcy drove to the byline where he cut the ball back to Ellis Iandolo bursting into the box. After finding the keeper with his first time effort Iandolo converted the rebound to give Town the lead on 33 minutes.

Prior to the interval Walsall won a late corner after having a shot deflected behind. From the aftermath of the resulting corner they levelled the game. 

Tyrese Shade's clearance was directed straight to the corner taker Tom Knowles who skipped past Jonny Williams into the Town box. Walsall's number 10 then curled a cross towards the back post which took a small but important deflection off the head of Remeao Hutton into the back of the net.

Swindon nearly regained the lead with a corner of their own in injury time. Frazer Blake-Tracey rose highest to head a low effort goal bound. However, Owen Evans in the Walsall goal did equally as well to get down low and tip the header away from danger. 

It meant that in an equal game the two teams would go in at half time equal on the scoreboard.

Five minutes into the second half some neat Swindon passing presented Tyrese Shade with the opportunity to shoot outside the box. However, his strike was well charged down. It showed just how strong Swindon can look when they do decide to move the ball quickly. 

On 75 minutes substitute Rushian Hepburn-Murphy worked hard to win the ball where he then exchanged passes with Jonny Williams outside the box. It left Hepburn-Murphy with time to shoot, but his goal-bound strike was blocked. 

Seconds later Walsall broke on the counter attack, leaving Danny Johnson one on one against Brynn. But Walsall's leading marksman fired straight at the tall Brynn, leaving the chance gone begging. 

With four minutes to go Walsall again came close to finding a winner on the break. Connor Wilkinson's snap shot from the left side of the box beat the scrambling Brynn and thankfully for Town narrowly beat the post. 

The past seven matches between these two teams have brought no, draws and in stoppage time Manny Monthé ensured that this trend continued. A Walsall corner was headed backwards by Angus Macdonald, allowing Monthé to steal in and poke past Brynn, sparking pandemonium in the away end. 

It finished Swindon 1-2 Walsall. Town as a result drop to fifth in League 2.

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