Town - 1 (Luongo '70)
Brentford - 1 (O'Connor PEN '90)
BRENTFORD netted a 93rd minute penalty to snatch a 1-1 draw and deny Town the opportunity of taking a lead to Griffin Park in the second leg.
Massimo Luongo had given Swindon the lead before the Bees struck with virtually the last kick of the game.
Kevin MacDonald made two changes to the starting XI. In came Andy Williams and Simon Ferry in place of James Collins and Raffaele De Vita. The duo dropped to the bench alongside the fit-again Miles Storey.
The opening exchanges were befitting an end-of-season showpiece. Full of energy, verve and tenacity, Town were on top for large periods of the first half despite creating little in the way of clear-cut chances.
Gary Roberts lashed an effort over from distance before Brentford squandered their best chance of the half. Massimo Luongo was caught in possession midway inside the Swindon half. As quickly as they had won it, the visitors had sent Adam Forshaw through on goal wide on the left-hand edge of the area. He however, could only drag his effort across goal and wide.
Minutes later, Andy Williams rose highest to flick on a long-ball forward and set Adam Rooney free. Advancing on goal, the striker could not capitalise on the one-on-one opportunity, allowing Simon Moore in the Brentford goal to smother his effort.
Williams then headed Gary Roberts’ cross into the ground and into the arms of Moore and the returning Jonathan Douglas lifted his shot over the crossbar as the half ended all-square.
The second half began at a much more sedentary pace although the visitors continued to frustrate the Town. Massimo Luongo knocked a volley goalwards that bounced once before finding the arms of Moore.
The Brentford goalkeeper continued to thwart Swindon’s efforts until the 70th minute. Alan McCormack fed Luongo 25 yards from goal. The midfielder steadied himself and seemed to be in his own bubble of calm as he looked up and stroked a curling effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal to send The County Ground ballistic.
With a goal now to show for their efforts, Swindon continued to press and Adam Rooney had two efforts in as many minutes. Played through one-on-one, he saw his effort blocked shortly after nearly connecting with a corner that had been helped back into the box.
In the last minute of time added on, a melee in the box ended with a Town player upending a member of the opposition and the referee pointed straight to the spot. O’Connor stepped up and planted the ball beyond Foderingham to leave the tie finely poised going into the second leg on Monday.
Swindon Town: Wes Foderingham; Joe Devera, Aden Flint
, Darren Ward, Nathan Byrne; Simon Ferry, Alan McCormack, Massimo Luongo, Gary Roberts; Adam Rooney, Andy Williams
Substitutes: Leigh Bedwell, Alan Navarro, Luke Rooney, James Collins, Tommy Miller, Miles Storey, Raffaele De Vita