Match report: Swindon Town v Rochdale

By Alfie Howlett - 18 October 2021

Sport

It was a tale of two halves at the County Ground on Saturday. After taking the lead in a perfect first half Swindon found themselves staring down the barrel of defeat following two second half Rochdale goals. However the Welsh wizard Jonny Williams was on hand to rescue Town with an injury time equaliser.

Swindon returned to the County Ground for the first time in three weeks looking to make it three victories in a row in league 2. The visitors, Rochdale, came into Saturday's tie off the back of five consecutive defeats in all competitions.

The opening encounters saw both teams feeling their way into the contest. Aaron Morely had a shot saved following a corner. Then, up the other end, Jack Payne had his effort saved. From around the 15th minute to the end of the first half I'd say in my opinion it was some of the best football I've seen from Swindon this season. With 22 minutes on the clock Harry Mckirdy had a goal bound effort deflected just inches past the post. 

Just after the half hour mark Jack Payne's shot from a resulting corner crept just wide of the post. Seven minutes later Ben Gladwin netted a goal of the season contender. Dion Conroy from inside his own half launched a cross field pass to Mckirdy. The Rochdale defender headed only as far as the onrushing Gladwin who headed back to Mckirdy who then flicked the ball back to Gladwin just outside the penalty area. The ball sat up perfectly for the number 7 as he cut across it on the half volley to fire into the far corner, beating the dive of the Dale keeper. 

Just before the close of the first half Jake Beesley had a free header from a corner which he headed straight at Lewis Ward. That concluded a perfect first half for the Robins in which the blockbuster goal from Gladwin put the icing on top of the cake.

Swindon just couldn't get started in the second half as Rochdale grew in confidence. Three minutes shy of the hour mark Rochdale had their reward in the form of an equaliser. Romoney Crichlow gave the ball away in his own half allowing O'Keeffe to dance through the Town defence and lay the ball off to George Broadbent. The 21-year-old then on his left foot fired low and hard into the far bottom corner to make it 1-1. 

Ten minutes later Jack Payne played a superb through ball that split the defence in half to Harry McKirdy. However his effort found the body of Joel Coleman. With 78 gone Rochdale took the lead. Following a corner, former Swindon Town trialist Liam Kelly reacted quickest to fire a shot into the net from outside the box. It looked as if it would finish that way but the addition of six minutes' injury time inspired Swindon. And with half of that time gone they found a way to make it level thanks to two substitutes. Gladwin whipped the ball towards the far post where Kesler Hayden rose highest to put it across goal where Jonny Williams was in the right place to tap home his first goal for the club. 2-2 the final result.

On reflection a point was probably a fair result. Swindon dominated the first half but fell off a cliff in the second. It was another one of those home games where I felt a bit perplexed at how Swindon weren't winning comfortably. But it goes back to the old saying in football that possession is only nine tenths of the law. 

Next up for Town a trip up to high flying Sutton United on Tuesday night. 

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