Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
Swindon finally ended their twenty-month hoodoo of not winning a game in which they had gone behind, and they did it in style – convincingly and surprisingly beating promotion chasing Charlton 4-2 in front of the Sky TV cameras.
And for those saying that Danny Wilson didn’t have a plan B in his tactic book, it was utilised tonight in a switch to a 4-5-1 formation – and whilst the change in formation didn’t surprise me, the severity of the changes did – Wilson made changes to every single partnership in the side – Morrison and Frampton at the centre of defence, Caddis and Ritchie on the right side, Rose and O’Brien on the left, Timlin joining Ferry and Prutton in midfield, and Austin on his own upfront..... and it worked a treat.
Without looking too threatening early on, the Town certainly started the brighter of the two sides, with most of the play in the Charlton half – but it was the Addicks who controversially took the lead against the run of play midway through the first period. Initially, Charlton striker Paul Benson without question handled the ball in the build-up, there was an offside when the initial ball into the area was defended away, and then when Johnnie Jackson controlled the attempted clearance, there was another, less clear-cut shout for handball. As if that wasn’t luck enough for one move, Jackson’s shot was charged down by Morrison, but the Town defender only succeeded in deflecting the ball into the ground, where it bounced over the unfortunate Smith, who could do nothing to prevent it from going in. Numerous Town players chased the referee to protest, but of course there was nothing doing. 1-0.
Call me pessimistic, but I wasn’t holding a lot of hope out for this game at the start, and I have to admit, I had pretty much written it off at this point - but instead of letting the setback get to them, the Town side worked their socks off to get back in it. Ten minutes later, a quick free-kick from Ritchie had Charlton keeper Elliot stretching to turn over the bar; minutes later, Austin missed the Town’s best opportunity so far, after Rose had brought the ball forward from his own half, he played a great cross into the path of Austin, who really should have connected with it, but the ball bounced clear.
The lead though lasted just three more minutes – the Town’s equaliser topping a great passage of play. Initially, the danger appeared to have been averted when a quick break down the left flank with Rose and O’Brien was slowed down by the latter, but the Irishman played it back to Timlin, who whipped a cross into the centre. There, it found Ritchie unmarked in front of goal, and though his initial volley was stopped by Elliot, he couldn’t hold it, and Ritchie was there to tap home the rebound. It was really no more than the Town deserved at this point, and it was about to get a whole lot better.
Ten minutes into the second half, a long ball forward seemed to be going nowhere, but with Charlton defender Christian Dailly having the ball at his feet and facing his goalkeeper, for some reason he collapsed under pressure from Austin – and the Town striker made no mistake in planting a low left-footed shot past the keeper. There seemed to be some protests from the home support about Austin’s challenge – there was no foul there though, and even if there was, we deserved a bit of luck after the first goal. Who knows, maybe the ref saw his mistake at half-time?
Austin had the ball in the net again fifteen minutes later, placing through the goalkeeper’s legs after being found in space, but his celebrations were halted by the linesman’s flag – personally I thought it was offside, the commentator on Sky doesn’t seem to be so sure.
Wilson then made two changes – McGovern coming on for O’Brien, and Cuthbert for Timlin – just as I was questioning the second substitution, the Town extended their lead. The goal came from an innocuous looking foul on the right flank – after playing the ball past his marker, Simon Ferry made little attempt to get past him as the ball ran out of play, but perhaps the lino was still feeling a bit guilty as well from the first half, and he flagged for the free-kick. McGovern whipped a great ball into the box, where it was met superbly by Sean Morrison – there were shades of another Shaun though, Shaun Taylor – as he planted his header firmly out of reach of the keeper for 3-1.
And four minutes later, the rout was complete. Swindon surprisingly continued to swarm forward, and after winning a corner on the right, McGovern floated it in, where a half-clearance could only reach Caddis on the edge of the area – he volleyed into the danger zone, where a gaping chasm had opened between defence and keeper, and of course Austin reacted first to throw himself for a diving header and the Town’s fourth goal.
Swindon being Swindon, the scoring wasn’t done there.... and approximately five seconds after I had uttered the words “even Swindon can’t throw this away now” or words to that effect, a shot on the turn from substitute Pawel Abbott made it 4-2 with three minutes plus injury time remaining. There were no more scares though, the Town winning perhaps even more comfortably than the scoreline suggested – without doubt thoroughly deserved and the performance of the season (so far?).
Personally very glad to see Wilson silence some of his critics for this week at least - the 4-5-1 worked very well indeed tonight, and I won’t be surprised if the same eleven take to the field at Oldham on Saturday (though Jon Douglas seems to be the player we consistently miss the most when he is not available). Last word to Charlie Austin – twelve league goals this season now in seventeen games, top of the League One goalscoring charts having missed five games through injury, now 30 league goals for Swindon in 50 games (45 starts!).... it’s not exactly the 64 goals in 59 games you scored for Poole, but it’ll do :)
Don’t leave us, will you Charlie?