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Club News

Report: Town 1-0 Fleetwood

29 November 2014

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SWINDON TOWN beat Fleetwood Town in the first ever fixture between the sides thanks to Ben Gladwin’s 86th minute headed goal from Harry Toffolo’s cross, writes Adrian Smith

The win moves Swindon on to 38 points from 19 matches played, just one point behind League Leaders Bristol City.

Mark Cooper recalled Massimo Luongo and Yaser Kasim for the Robins first ever fixture against Fleetwood Town so Ben Gladwin was named on the substitutes bench and Raphael Rossi-Branco missed out through injury.

Swindon Town had given over 3000 tickets to local schools working in partnership with Trust STFC and the Stratton Bank was filled as a result with enthusiastic youngsters and their parents in the crowd of 10506.

Swindon kicked off playing towards the Town End on a bright sunny afternoon and were quickly on the attack leading to a free kick in the 2nd minute after Byrne was tripped. The short kick routine led to a cross into the 6 yard box but the referee awarded a free kick against the Robins although it appeared that the Fleetwood keeper Maxwell had collided with two of his own players.   

Fleetwood earned a corner in the 5th minute which was cleared by the Town defence although they also had another corner in the 6th minute after a cross was deflected behind. However Town counterattacked quickly from the clearance through Obika who advanced through midfield before laying the ball off to Kasim and his cross only just avoided the despairing lunge of Andy Williams a couple of yards from goal.

Town’s first corner in the 10th minute was cleared by the Fleetwood defence but again Town pushed forward and earned another corner which was cleared only for Byrne to send a powerful cross from the right wing which was only just missed by Obika.

There was a break in play in the 14th minute  when Stephen Crainey took a knock in a tackle with Nathan Thompson but he was able to continue after treatment.

Stephen Jordan was cautioned for tripping Andy Wiliiams on the right hand edge of the penalty area in the 18th minute but Byrne’s cross lacked height and was easily cleared.

Martin Paterson was denied twice in the 21st minute by Foderingham from close range after a weak defensive clearance gifted possession to the visitors and that proved to be Paterson’s last involvement after pulling up clutching his hamstring and he was replaced by Stephen Dobbie in the 24th minute.

Steven Schumacher conceded a free kick for pulling a Town player back near the edge of the area but Kasim’s shot struck the defensive wall  and his follow up shot was also cleared by the Fleetwood defence.

Tom Hitchcock was cautioned for fouling Nathan Thompson midway in the Town half and was shown a yellow card for his efforts in the 29thminute.

There was another break in play when Jeff Hughes needed treatment after Byrne had been penalised  for fouling him but he was able to continue after treatment.

Town had a corner in the 35th minute which was taken by Toffolo and that led to a good passage of play resulting in Byrne firing in a curling shot which only just went wide of the far upright. Shortly afterwards Obika found himself in possession on the right side of the penalty area and he tricked his way past two defenders before firing in a low shot which was taken low down by the keeper Chris Maxwell.

Schumacher was shown a yellow card in the 40th minute for hauling Kasim back in midfield  just as the Town player was about to launch an attack.

Fleetwood had a corner in the 43rd minute which led to Dobbie heading wide after the ball had been deflected to him at the near post.

The referee decided that four minutes added time would be played and there was a treat for the Town fans from Nathan Thompson who showed a neat turn of foot on the halfway line to trick his way past two opponents while demonstrating superb control. 

There was a late scare in front of the Town goal when a clearance by Stephens struck an opponent on the heel but the hurried cross missed the nearby Fleetwood players and the chance was gone so the half ended goalless.

The first Town attack in the 47th minute saw Obika collect the loose ball 50 yards from goal and he darted forward before unleashing a powerful shot which only just evaded the far post with the keeper beaten.

Town were enjoying plenty of possession but were struggling to get a clear sight on goal.

Mark Cooper was forced to shuffle his line up when Nathan Thompson left the field after landing heavily in a challenge and he was replaced by Amari’i Bell in the 55th minute.

Gareth Evans was cautioned for simulation following a delayed dive in the Town area in the 61st minute and when the Robins attacked, Andy Wiliams was denied by a last ditch tackle in front of goal and the ball went out for a corner which was taken short but possession was lost.

Williams was pushing hard for an opening goal and was again denied twice by the keeper with shots from close range.

Town continued to step up the pressure but the Fleetwood defence withstood the pressure conceding two corners in quick succession but the Robins forwards were unable to get any shot on goal before the keeper pounced on the loose ball.

Jon Obika tried his luck from 20 yards but the keeper caught his shot easily before launching an attack downfield and that was Obika’s last contribution before being replaced by leading scorer Michael Smith in the 69th minute.

Nathan Byrne earned a corner for Town in the 72nd minute when his cross was deflected behind but the Fleetwood defence cleared the ball.

Yaser Kasim was caught in possession in midfield leading  to a rising shot by Evans but his effort  went over the crossbar and shortly afterwards Tyler Forbes replaced Hitchcock for the visitors.

Ben Gladwin replaced Kasim in the 78th minute as Mark Cooper looked to try a different approach to open the scoring.

There was a break in play when the Fleetwood keeper Maxwell took a knock in a challenge with Michael Smith but he was able to continue after a short break while the referee held up play.

Gladwin tried his luck with a lob from the edge of the area in the 82nd minute but the keeper caught the ball cleanly.

Town earned a corner in the 83rd minute when a shot  was deflected behind but the defence cleared downfield.

Ben Gladwin again tried his luck from the edge of the area in the 85th minute but his effort flew over the cross bar.

Town took a thoroughly deserved lead following a short corner routine when Harry Toffolo’s cross was headed home by Ben Gladwin in the 86th minute to light up the County Ground and especially the school children on the Stratton Bank. The goal was Gladwin’s second of the season and was good reward for Town’s continual pressure.

Three minutes of added time were indicated on the 4th official's board and that led to Fleetwood showing far more ambition and pushing players forward than earlier in the match.

Luongo was cautioned for a late challenge deep in added time and up stepped Stephen Dobbie to give Town a heartstopping moment when his superb free kick went only inches wide of the right hand upright.

The final whistle was blown shortly afterwards by the referee Keith Hill to end a match in which Town was eventually rewarded for their pressure against a determined Fleetwood side.

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