New Season Same Old Story for sorry Swindon - STFC columnist Alfie Howlett reports on the draw against Crewe Alexandra
After sailing into a two-goal lead, thanks to goals from Udoka Godwin-Malife and Jake Young on their home debuts, Swindon suffered a late collapse as Crewe levelled the contest five minutes from time.
The hosts came into the contest in a unique position as they were still to kick off their league campaign. This came after Swindon’s first game fell a victim to the record of the earliest postponement in an EFL season for a waterlogged pitch. Meanwhile, Crewe began the season with a 2-2 draw at home to Mansfield. Both outfits were in midweek League Cup action with Town bowing out on penalties to Peterborough whilst Crewe triumphed over Sunderland in their shoot-out.
Proceedings got underway with neither side able to settle in possession in what was a gritty start. Swindon had the first opening of the game when following a corner Godwin-Malife latched on to a loose ball and forced Harvey Davies into a save for the cameras. The impressive Godwin-Malife would soon be involved moments later, as Town won possession high up the pitch leaving Godwin-Malife to break into the box and cut the ball back to Charlie Austin whose effort was blocked on the line after 1 touch too many. However, in the 21st minute Swindon deservedly took the lead when Godwin-Malife powered home a header into the bottom left-hand corner from close range with Benn Ward assisting.
One minute past the half hour mark, Crewe had their first sight of goal when Shilow Tracey shot narrowly wide from close range. This would be the visitors only action inside the Town box for the half meaning that Swindon went into the break with a comfortable one goal lead.
Swindon doubled their advantage just 2 minutes into the second half as substitute Jake Young cut on to his right foot from range and sizzled an effort into the bottom right corner. It was a sublime strike from Young who had only been on the pitch for a matter of minutes after coming on for Jacob Wakeling at half time.
However, 2-0 is always a dangerous score-line and within minutes of extending their lead, Swindon’s intensity quickly dropped. And on the stroke of the hour mark Crewe halved the deficit when Michael Williams drove home a low effort from long-range leaving Mahoney helpless. With 73 minutes on the clock, Crewe threatened to level the score-line when Chris Long went under the wall with his kick forcing Mahoney to be on his toes and tip behind for a corner. This save reflected an assured performance from Mahoney, who particularly impressed me with his footwork. Into the final 10 minutes then, as Crewe came closest first when Rio Adebisi headed over the bar from a Cooney cross. On 84 minutes Charlie Austin should’ve wrapped up the contest when he had a headed opportunity from point blank range only to head wide. Then, came the sucker punch as Adebisi made amends for his previous miss as he rose highest to head home the equaliser. It left the Town faithful with a familiar sinking feeling as the match finished level.
It was certainly an afternoon of mixed emotions for Swindon. The first half was incredibly encouraging as they looked energetic and spirited. However, the second half was marred with a slip back into bad habits as they yet again failed to protect a lead. In my opinion experienced players are a must buy in order to prevent this theme repeating itself again. Next up for the Robins is a midweek trip to Gloucestershire as they face Forest Green Rovers.
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