TWENTY years ago today, Swindon embarked on a Play-Off campaign that would see them reach the promised land of the Premier League.
After finishing 5th in the final Division One table, Town faced 4th-placed Tranmere Rovers in the two-legged semi-final.
The first leg was played at The County Ground on Sunday 16th May 1993 and Swindon made the perfect start. With barely two minutes gone, full-back Nicky Summerbee’s inviting, whipped cross from the right was turned into his own net by Rovers’ Steve Vickers. With Dave Mitchell lurking behind him, the centre-half had aimed to head the ball behind for a corner but horribly mis-judged his effort and sent the cross high into the net to the delight of the home crowd.
Incredibly, just a minute later, Swindon found themselves two goals to the good. Ross MacLaren’s right-footed thunderbolt was too hot to handle for Tranmere’s Eric Nixon and Dave Mitchell was on hand to stab home the loose ball.
At the other end, John Aldridge did have the ball in the net only to see his effort disallowed. Just short of the half-hour mark, Town made it 3-0. A loose clearance was picked off by Craig Maskell who prodded the ball forward into the space behind the Tranmere back four for the breaking Dave Mitchell. With the Rovers defence still appealing for offside, Swindon’s strike pairing raced goalwards with just the goalkeeper to beat. Mitchell unselfishly squared for Maskell who side-footed home Town’s third of the afternoon.
In the second half the visitors did give the travelling support something to cheer when Johnny Morrissey cut in off the right flank and curled a delightful effort beyond Digby and into the corner of the net.
The second leg would take place just three days later on Merseyside with Town taking a two-goal advantage to Prenton Park.