STFC Match Report: Alfie Howlett reports on Swindon v Arsenal's under 21s
A much changed Swindon side ensured that their unbeaten streak would continue, after seeing off Arsenal's under 21's by two goals to one on Tuesday night.
Swindon came in to the game off the back of scoring a last minute equalizer at Stevenage. And although last night's team saw seven changes the same identity and intensity could still been seen from Ben Ganrer's side. Despite Arsenal fielding some talented prospects it was actually Swindon's young guns which caught the eye.
The first half got under way and it took until the 14th minute for either side to register a clear cut opportunity. Some good build up play from Arsenal's under 21's saw the highly rated Charlie Patino on the ball from around 25 yards out.
Patino chipped the ball through to Mika Biereth who inside the penalty area had a shot from a tight angle which just went narrowly wide of Lewis Ward's near post.
Minutes later Town took the lead through Mohammed Dabre. Ryan East won the ball from an Arsenal throw in inside their own half. He poked the ball through to Gilbert who at the byline found Dabre about 8 yards out. Dabre who was making his Town debut made no mistake from close range slotting home the opportunity for his first goal in professional football.
On the half hour mark Ricky Aguiar who was also making his full Town debut had a volley saved from 18 yards out. The ball broke to Aguiar following a corner and despite striking it cleanly he could only find the palms of the goalkeeper. On the 34th minute Arsenal made it 1 goal a piece. Joel Lopez drove deep into the Swindon half and found Joel Ideho on the right flank. Ideho got the better of Iandolo cutting into the Town penalty area on his left foot and firing it in low and hard into the bottom corner. That concluded the first half in which I thought Swindon were quite impressive. With Alex Gilbert, Mohammed Dabre and Ricky Aguiar being my stand out players.
The second half burst into life quickly. Ryan East had an early long range effort tipped over the bar from the Arsenal keeper. From the resulting corner Romoney Crichlow had a left footed shot well saved at the near post from the Arsenal keeper. Minutes later Jayden Mitchell Lawson nearly scored a fine goal. The ball fell to him just inside the centre circle, he then dribbled his way spectacularly past 3 players to find himself through in on goal from close range however his effort crept just wide of the far post. 3 minutes later Mitchell Lawson had another opportunity however this time the Arsenal keeper saved 1 on 1.
The course of the game was changed just after the hour mark with Ben Garner making a triple substitution bringing on Payne, Simpson and Conroy. The 3 of them made an instant impact with Payne having 2 shots saved and deflected in close succession. The previous attempt went for a Town corner which Payne would take. He swung it in to the near post where it met the head of Swindon skipper Dion Conroy. Conroy flicked it on to Taylor Hart who could only turn it into his own net to make it 2-1 to Swindon. The Robins once again were more than comfortable to close the game out. Town were rarely troubled and in fact came closer to doubling their advantage on the 80th minute mark. When Tyreece Simpson used his strength to hold off a couple of players and break into the box where he saw his shot saved at the near post from a tight angle. Other than another Ryan East long range effort that would be it as Swindon claimed all 3 points in their opening EFL Trophy group stage encounter.