Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
For the first time in a long time, I came away from the County Ground feeling that we'd finally got the rub of the green - so many times this season we've been robbed by a last-gasp winner or equaliser, that today's turnaround felt somehow justified. If I was a Scunthorpe fan though, I'd be looking back on a match that would have seemed very comfortable, up until a couple of questionable sendings-offs and a crazy second half.
Wilson made just one enforced change from the previous two defensive jobs at Leicester and Millwall, replacing the injured Greer with Lescinel Jean-Francois, with Jamie Vincent moving into the centre to allow Lescinel to take his position on the left side of the defence.
The Town only had themselves to blame for the predicament they found themselves in at half-time - indeed, just minutes after the start, the Town had three glorious chances to score in their first attack of the game. Timlin swung a free-kick in from the right, and it seemed to be met by the head of Simon Cox - with the crowd on their feet expecting the net to bulge, something - I can only assume the goalkeeper - diverted it from its path. The Scunthorpe defence managed only to clear it to the edge of the area, where Michael Timlin again met it, slamming a powerful shot towards goal.... against the bar.... down..... and out. Was it in? No idea. Paynter and Cox both raced to finish it off, and appeared to get in each other's way, as Paynter headed the ball over the bar. I really thought he should have finished it, but the chance had gone begging. At the other end, Brezovan almost handed Scunny the initiative when he slipped as he dealt with a through ball - the ball hitting his midriff with their fans screaming for handball. I don't think it was. For the rest of the half, Swindon were always susceptible to the long ball over the top between defence and goalkeeper.
It was the old Achilles' heel of set piece defending that allowed Scunthorpe to take the lead. A goalbound header was headed off the line by Timlin, with the ball having looped over Brezovan, but from the resulting corner, bad marking again allowed a header in the box, and Hooper had the easy task of diverting the ball in. Grrrr.
It was then that the game started to hint at what was to follow. Again, Timlin was involved, picking the ball up in midfield, when he was sent literally flying by a strong challenge by David Mirfin. The crowd were incensed, but I think the challenge may actually have looked worse than it was - I didn't think it was over the top, but it was a bit late and very forceful. It wouldn't have surprised me if he was given a straight red, but the ref opted for a yellow.... cue the "you're not fit to referee" song. It was perhaps this that persuaded the ref to blow for a foul on Paynter just two minutes later - even though Paynter was doing more of the fouling - and the yellow card that followed for Scunthorpe captain Cliff Byrne would have more implication later.
Four minutes later, and the Scunny fans were celebrating doubling their lead. Kanyuka controlled a ball poorly on the halfway line, resulting in a throw in, and Scunthorpe broke quickly, the ball eventually coming to Lansbury on the edge of the area. Being marshalled by both Smith and Ifil, Lansbury lifted the ball over both, ran onto it, and passed the ball into the bottom corner. Nice finish, but the Town's defence were far too flat-footed. There was surely no way back now....
Except then, in the second half... the tide started to turn. Just two minutes in, and Timlin was tripped in the middle of the pitch - to me, it looked innoculous enough, but the ref thought it worthy of a yellow card - followed by a red for Cliff Byrne, who had been the unlucky recipient of the card for the foul by (yes, by) Paynter. I thought we'd need to score quickly, and Wilson responded by bringing on McNamee for Amankwaah, to give more attacking purpose. Lescinel had already been replaced by Morrison at half time. Down to ten, Scunny had already started the time wasting tactics, making two of the longest substitutions ever... with hindsight, I'm glad they did, because it severely restricted their ability to change things after what was to happen just two minutes later.
With an hour to go, Robson-Kanu slid Cox in down the right, and Cox made the most of a challenge from Mirfin, going down very easily on the edge of the box. The linesman flagged, the ref initially seemed to give a penalty - but instead took his time to book Mirfin for the second time, and reduce Scunny to nine. After consulting the linesman, a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box, which Timlin shot over. We had half-an-hour to get back into it - it really was now a case of how quickly we could get off the mark.
Crucially, the first breakthrough was made after just two minutes. Again, a cross was only partially cleared, and again Timlin met it - this time his low effort flew into the net. Game on. From this point, it was absolutely all Swindon - Scunny lining up with two banks of four, with no outlet up front at all - it was up to us to break them down. With no strikers to play against, I had advocated taking a defender off, and was quite puzzled when Wilson took off Paynter for Peacock - looking back though, keeping the defence intact was exactly the right thing to do. Having all four players back allowed us to pass the ball around and draw the eight remaining outfield players out of defence to hit them with pace and exploit the space. All of the danger was coming from the wings - McNamee hit the bar with another cross from the left that Kanyuka perhaps could have done better with the rebound - but the equaliser came from a McNamee cross from the opposite flank, which was headed in by defender Andrew Wright, under pressure from Cox. There were still twenty minutes left, plus the time added on for the ridiculously long substitutions and the two red cards.
The pressure from Swindon was constant. Ten minutes later, Robson-Kanu had a glorious opportunity to put the Town ahead when he picked the ball up in the area - but rather than make sure he netted, he seemed to go for the glory of a top-corner finish, and instead only succeeded in putting the ball high and wide. Seconds later, he made up for his miss when picking the ball up in a similar position - this time, he worked the space and slotted the ball home. Yessssssss!!!!
With the Town now ahead, Scunny had to push forward, meaning even more space at the back. The result was put beyond doubt with just four minutes remaining - another McNamee cross met by a combination of a Scunthorpe defender and Lee Peacock's chest, and rolling over the goalline.