Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
Some people say that sendings-off ruin football matches - I always beg to differ. On occasions, a shocking refereeing performance can certainly make for great entertainment, and after an uninspiring first hour today, Mr Styles grabbed the headlines - completely losing control of a local derby that looked like it might fizzle into nothing. Of course, it`s easy for me to sit here and say that having won the game today - if I was a Rovers fan though, I`d probably be seething!
Rovers fired the early warning shots - completely beating Brezovan and hitting the bar as early as the first minute - and for the first fifteen, the Town could barely get out of their own half. Swindon did come back into it, and it became quite an even game overall - though Rovers seemed to be able to get behind our defence too easily on occasions, only to be repelled by Brezovan, who made some superb one-on-one saves throughout the match.
Swindon`s best chance came from a long ball forward to the edge of the area on the left side, which Simon Cox ended up challenging for with Rovers keeper Steve Phillips. Cox won it, Phillips hit the deck, and the ball came out to Roberts on the wing, who only had to put a good ball in for a great opportunity on goal. Perhaps in an attempt to silence the Rovers crowd, who gave him stick throughout, Roberts attempted to score himself from a ridiculous angle - and only succeeded in putting the ball well wide. Cue more stick from Rovers.... Roberts would later get his own back.
Half time came and went, and the first fifteen minutes of the second half passed without much of note. At this point, Styles had obviously seen enough and took control of the game. Another ball forward to the edge of the Rovers area resulted in a chase between Phillips and Cox - Phillips got there first, Cox slid in to challenge and made contact with the Rovers keeper as he cleared it. Cox was rewarded with the first booking of the afternoon, and a lot of earache from Phillips. It was not much really, but the incident certainly raised the temperature at the CG, and the tempo on the pitch.
Minutes later, a ball into the Rovers area on the Town`s right found Roberts, and he turned away towards the corner flag to shield it. As he did so, an innocuous looking challenge came in from behind, and Roberts went to ground. Was it a penalty? Possibly. The challenge was directly in front of the linesman, who sheepishly looked at Mr Styles for instruction - Styles, some twenty yards or so away from the incident, thought about it, and pointed to the spot. Again, Steve Phillips made his point well known to Roberts - obviously no love lost between these two - Roberts picked himself up, and stepped up to take the penalty himself, shooting low, hard, to the keeper`s right, and into the net. The temperature rose more, and Rovers upped their tempo more.
Fifteen minutes later, a period of niggles and Rovers trying to pull the game back, came the flashpoint. A Rovers defender had the ball just in the Swindon half, on the Town`s left side, and as he played the ball forward, he was caught by a sliding challenge by Town sub Barry Corr. As this happened, the crowd`s gaze was diverted by the bizarre sight of Jerel Ifil and Rovers forward Richard Walker grappling with each other on the floor - from my position (and it was almost directly in front of me) it looked like the Rovers player was pulling Ifil to the floor, and Ifil was simply trying to get away from him, now obviously I didn`t see what happened before this, but it was pulling, no more than that. Styles could not possibly have seen what happened any more than I did, but though he seemed to have a short conversation with the better-placed linesmen from a distance, he certainly didn`t consult him - and with the two teams both huddled together in argument, he showed Ifil a straight red card. Quite for what, I`m not sure.... but after a short period of complete chaos, he eventually pulled Walker away from the