Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
Swindon set a new club record of nine consecutive league wins today - after an entertaining first half performance had given them a two goal lead, the players allowed themselves a low key second half without ever looking in danger of surrendering a goal to visiting Accrington.
The first half was very impressive. Accrington didnít come to park the bus like some other teams weíve seen this season, leading to a very open game - in the opening sixty seconds, the Town had their first opportunity to break the deadlock.
A long ball by Devera dropped behind the defence - but as Alan Connell attempted to run on to it, the ball hit him and prevented him running onto it. He checked his run, and played in Benson, whose momentum took him past two defenders, away from goal - he crossed it back to Connell, who now had his back to goal in the area - he spun and clipped a shot in as the keeper closed him down, but it was going well wide - a Stanley defender connecting with it to actually divert it closer to the goal than the original effort.
With just eight minutes on the clock though, Swindon took the lead. Caddis smashed a long ball high into the air, diagonally across the away defence - Rooney ran onto it, and amazingly managed to trap the ball with his calf on the run. Moving forward with the ball, he crossed to the back post, where both Connell and Benson were queuing up to head home - it was the latter who got their first, placing his header into the top corner.
For the ten minutes after that, Swindon forcefully attacked - peppering the Accrington area with crosses - but the only real effort of note was a Connell strike from outside the area that went just wide. At this point, still the Stanley defence was playing far too wide - allowing huge gaps in between the defence - I honestly thought if we got another goal quickly, we could have scored five or six.
But it wasnít all Swindon - and after the twenty minute mark, the visitors had three good attempts that could have resulted in an equaliser. After Callum Kennedy had handled the ball on the Townís left side, Kevin McIntyre swung in a cross towards the centre of the goal - he got slightly too much on it, and for a moment it seemed like it would beat everyone, until Wes Foderingham showed superb agility to dive and divert it over the bar.
Though the corner was cleared, the ball soon returned into the box, where Padraig Amond looked to be in an offside position as he ran back - no flag was raised though, and the Irishman back-heeled the ball at goal - Foderingham again having to be alert to get down low to save. Another corner came in - again that one was cleared - but from the resulting ball in, again it was Amond who got to it - this time his headed effort clipped the outside of the post as it went wide.
Thankfully, normal service was soon resumed, and that was really the only spell of the game when Accrington looked like scoring. Matt Ritchie nearly doubled the lead on 25 minutes with what would have been a goal of the season contender - when the visiting defence failed to react to a quick throw, Ritchie allowed the ball to run past him, before striking the bouncing ball on the volley from 25 yards - the keeper could get nowhere near it, but the ball bounced off the crossbar. Rooney got to the rebound first, beating two players before hitting a low shot that the keeper blocked.
Five minutes later though, the Town got the second goal they were looking for. A great break on the left flank ended with a cross from Kennedy, which was deflected onto the bar by an Accrington defender - the Town retrieved the ball though, and though Caddis was encouraged to shoot by the crowd, it looked like the attack had ended when he instead chose to play the ball to Ritchie. It looked like he had over-hit it, but Ritchie chased it right to the corner flag, stopping it in the quadrant before returning to retrieve it, the ball was crossed in, cleared only to the edge of the area, where Risser challenged for it. It was a little scrappy - eventually someone tried to sneak the ball through, and an Accrington defender attempted to clear, only to slice the ball into the path of Benson - the Town striker would surely have been offside if the initial ball through had been successful - he took advantage of the good fortune by smashing a low shot past Nicholls.
Just before half-time, another Ritchie shot from outside the area warmed the keeperís hands - he couldnít hold it, and though Alan Connell tried to adjust himself to convert the rebound, he couldnít manage it and the chance was gone.
It was a really good first half showing from the Town, I donít think Stanley could have complained if the half time score was more in our favour - but as good as the first half was, the second proved to be a bit of a damp squib, as we seemingly took our foot off the gas - perhaps conscious of the constant Saturday/Tuesday fixtures, and two more important games over the next week.
Thatís not to say we didnít have any chances - Benson had the first of two opportunities from which he could have registered his hat-trick - the first after a long Rooney ball found sub Ronan Murray behind the defence - with the keeper in no manís land rushing out to close him down, Murray turned his back to goal and passed back to Benson, whose shot went high and wide.
For long periods in the second half, Accrington were seeing a lot of the ball, without any meaningful penetration - though Foderingham did have to be alert to rush out and prevent a run by Stanley substitute Michael Smith - the Town keeper sliding out to connect with the ball with his legs - a split second later could have been disastrous. The Town countered immediately, and again Murray got behind the back line - but his low strike was saved.
With ten minutes left, Ritchie back-heeled the ball into the path of Caddis, he found Murray with his back to goal, the Irish striker swivelling to shoot. Though his effort was blocked, the ball rebounded out to Ritchie, whose follow up strike went low and wide.
Benson had another chance to grab his hat trick, after Oliver Risser won a header on the halfway line, the Namibian received the ball again on the left side, knocking it back for Kennedy to cross to the back post. The cross found Benson unmarked on the back post, but the Town striker couldnít get any power or direction as he attempted to head back across goal, the ball going harmlessly wide.
The final chance came in injury time, when from a central postion, Ritchie slipped a wonderful ball inside the defence - Raffa de Vita ran onto it, but the keeper closed down quickly to save - again the ball came out to Ritchie, but Nicholls got back to his feet quickly to parry his shot wide.
From the post match press conference, it seems that PdC wasnít too happy with the second half performance - personally, I thought we did exactly what we needed to do to close the game out - we didnít ever look threatened in the second half, other than a couple of long rangers. Nine wins in a row is a superb achievement, and the league table is looking very healthy indeed - seven points clear of fourth place, and with games in hand on most of the teams around us.