Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
Swindon struck it lucky tonight - a fifteen minute spell of good play in the second half enough to register victory over fellow promotion hopefuls Shrewsbury - but the away side will go away feeling aggrieved that they didn’t get anything after going one up, spurning numerous opportunities to have wrapped it up, on top of what they will no doubt consider to have been a dodgy refereeing decision which could have resulted in a sending off for Alan McCormack.
Quite simply, it was an awful first half from the Town. Considering both sides are supposed to be good footballing sides, it was a really scrappy start to the game - the first twenty minutes was littered with lots of high balls and from Swindon, plenty of uncharacteristic misplaced passes by the home side - we looked nervy.
As the half progressed, Shrewsbury looked like they were getting more into it, and they had a couple of long range efforts that hardly troubled Foderingham. The first thirty minutes were just awful to watch.
As the crowd started to get restless, our first promising looking move ended with a poor ball by Bodin, the resulting counter threatened a two on one situation at the Town’s defence, but the pace of Boateng saved us - the Arsenal loanee shepherding it out for a goal-kick.
The Shrews then created the best chance of the half so far, with Swindon seemingly a man short at the back, a sweeping move from right side found 7 on the left side, his right footed curling effort went harmlessly over the bar. As the half approached the end though, the away side forced a couple of corners, from which they took a deserved lead. After Boateng blocked a header coming in from the initial set piece, just before the second came in, opposition forward Matt Richards was making a nuisance of himself in front of Foderingham and Ritchie. Just as the kick was taken, Foderingham pushed the Shrewsbury striker with both hands - a certain penalty had the referee seen it - but the ball had been played right into that danger zone, and Richards headed it home from close range. The Shrews’ fans, who for some reason were already singing songs directed at di Canio, taunted him with “Paolo, what’s the score?”. They’d get that back later.
The Town boss made one half time change, bringing Alan Connell on for Bodin, who had had a terrible game - soon after, Simon Ferry was introduced for Jon Smith - at this point, I bet PdC could have subbed any of the outfield players - we just weren’t at the races.
Before that second substitution though, Shrewsbury had three golden opportunities to go two up - not to mention what I expect is the biggest talking point on the journeys back to Shropshire. After Cibocchi missed a through ball, Terry Gornell found himself in behind the defence. With McCormack in pursuit, the Shrews forward tumbled to the floor just outside the area - my first thought was that I didn’t think he touched him, the referee looked across to the linesman, who shook his head. If I was a Shrewsbury supporter, I would have been howling for it.... could have gone either way, we were lucky.
If the Shrews could perhaps point at the referee for that though, then they really should also be pointing at their own forward players, who had ample opportunity to have wrapped the game up. Shortly after the McCormack incident, another chance came Shrewsbury’s way - with the Town defence all over the place, there were FOUR Shrewsbury players unmarked in our area, queuing up to score - Foderingham doing superbly well to save with his legs in a one-on-one situation, before the follow-up was charged down. Almost immediately after that, a free-kick conceded by Cibocchi on the Town’s right side was swung over to the back post, and nodded down - but the forward player could only connect with a weak shot, which McCormack cleared off the line. Shrewsbury were in total control of the game, they were pressing us high up the pitch, and too often our defence was getting rid of it quickly - the ball coming straight back.
With Ferry in the middle though, things began to change - the Town midfielder was an outlet for the defence that we didn’t have previously, as he came back to pick the ball up. We registered our first decent shot at goal just past the hour, when a mistake in the Shrewsbury defence allowed Luke Rooney to get a shot in, that just clipped the post as it went wide. Sixty minutes in, there seemed little hope of us getting anything out of the game... on 64 minutes though, we got a get out of jail free card. The Town’s equaliser came from an awful mistake by the Shrewsbury goalkeeper, Chris Neal - a selfish long range effort from Matt Ritchie looked like it would cause little trouble, but somehow Neal failed to hold onto it - and he spilled the ball into the path of Alan Connell, who couldn’t miss.
From having no chance at all, the goal of course got our tails up - and the next fifteen minutes saw us pressing forward - on top for the first time in the game. Ritchie had another bouncing shot that could have caused the keeper as many problems as the first one had - from that though, he launched a huge ball forward that we allowed to drop behind the defence - the volleyed shot that came in from the acutest of angles saw Foderingham have to make a save.
At the other end, we pressed more - and after a decent move saw us win a corner, again Neal was under pressure - this time punching the ball into the air, resulting in a Shrews defender having to clear off the line.... he could only get it out as far as Rooney - he shot low through the bodies, we all expected the net to ripple, but somehow it was kept out. Finally, we were playing some football.... and with fifteen minutes to go, we got that unlikely winner.
I’ve said here before.... it makes me laugh when people moan when we play a short corner, considering how many chances we’ve created from them this season.... so there was the usual groan when Rooney took it short to Cibocchi, the defender gave it back to Rooney, who cut inside into the box, then curled a wonderful shot toward the back post - the ball came back off the underside of the bar, and away.... but only as far as Benson, who won the ball against a Shrewsbury defender, the ball finding its way to Connell, who again had the easy task of tapping home. I’m not sure quite how we got there, but we were in the lead.
Now behind, Shrewsbury came forward looking for an equaliser that we really couldn’t have begrudged them - they hit the bar from a cross, and there were a couple of shots from in the area - James Collins firing wide having found space in the area after McCormack had brilliantly prevented a Marvin Morgan breakaway, and a scissor-kicked effort that only found the hands of Foderingham - but the away side never again found the heights of the opening ten minutes of the second half, when they really should have put the game to bed.
What can you say? Not the most glamorous way to notch up the club record equalling sequence of eight League wins on the trot - but a win is a win... I’m sure the Shrewsbury travelling support will not be happy, but the scenes in the away section at the end of the game were quite frankly ludicrous - did I see the odd seat being thrown? For his part, PdC gave them all a little wave after punching the air in celebration - just desserts for some of the songs that had been going on earlier. If you can’t take it back, don’t dish it out.
I remember back in 1995/96 when the Shrews came to the County Ground and won 1-0 - the only side to beat us at home that season, in what was a thoroughly undeserved victory... today, I think we can say that has been well and truly evened out.