A match report from Swindon Link STFC Correspondent Alfie Howlett
Swindon earned a point after a hard-fought battle with Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.
On a sunny afternoon, first half strikes from Josh Hawkes and Jacob Wakeling brought the contest level with neither side able to secure an all-important second goal.
Following last week's dismal FA Cup stuffing at Stockport, Swindon made three changes. They lined up with a brand new back three, with Cian Harries making a rare start alongside Ciaran Brennan and the returning Frazer Blake-Tracey.
With the World Cup starting next week Jonny Williams dropped out for Ben Gladwin. Town's visitors, Tranmere, arrived at SN1 winless in their last five, sitting 10th in the table. The scene was set for an enthralling match up at the County Ground.
The first opportunity of the meeting went the way of the visitors. A through ball into the box found the run of Kane Hemmings, who chopped on to his right foot and fired an effort down Brynn's throat from a tight angle. This served as a warning for what followed next.
A Chris Merrie through ball on ten minutes left the Swindon defence static as Josh Hawkes timed his run to perfection to finish finely past Sol Brynn one on one. It was a good goal from a Tranmere point of view, with Town's only excuse being the fact that the back line were not used to playing with one another.
It took until the 25th minute until Town finally pressured the Tranmere goal. A tempting Ben Gladwin free kick was cleared and then minutes later Chris Merrie lashed over from 18 yards.
On the half-hour mark Swindon would punish Tranmere as they levelled the contest. After a good spell of play Ben Gladwin worked the ball out wide to Remeao Hutton on the right wing. Hutton then picked his head up and with a beautiful cross found Jacob Wakeling who fired home from point blank range.
Swindon would continue to briefly dominate after their goal but unfortunately for them their momentum faded as half time approached. The whistle soon blew, with both sides going in level after an even first half in which they both enjoyed spells of dominance around their goals.
Swindon started the second half strongly as Tranmere had to deal with some dangerous deliveries into their box. Before the hour mark Saidou Khan had a sight of goal as he stung the side netting with a powerful low drive. However, the next 20 minutes offered very little as Swindon suffered from a lack of movement off the ball.
Instead the game conserved it's energy for what was a hectic last ten minutes. It started with Elliot Nevitt smashing an effort into the Stratton Bank after a promising counter attack. Then moments later Swindon had the ball in the back of the net. Jacob Wakeling chested down a Remeao Hutton ball and volleyed it past Doohan only to be ajudged offside.
With three minutes to go an inch-perfect Louis Reed free kick was plucked out of the top corner by Doohan. In extra time Kane Hemmings missed a glorious opportunity on the counter attack to win the game. Then Swindon came close from a corner with a looping Blake-Tracey header.
Finally, to wrap up preceedings, former Town defender Jordan Turnbull was shown a straight red after a high boot challenge on Blake-Tracey. It ended Swindon 1-1 Tranmere.
It certainly wasn't the best day at the office for Swindon but not the worst by any means. In fact in my opinion it was probably one of the more entertaining games I've seen at The County Ground this season.
For me both teams just lacked that extra player who could do something special. In Swindon's case they have one in Jonny Williams but unfortunately for Swindon Williams will be plying his trade thousands of miles away in Qatar.