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MATCH REPORT: Stevenage 1-1 Swindon Town

Payne rescues a point for the Reds

4 September 2021

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Swindon Town struck at the death to secure a share of the spoils in a dramatic 1-1 draw away at Stevenage in the EFL Sky Bet League Two this afternoon.

It was a dominant first-half by Swindon who were unlucky not to take a lead in at the break after Jack Payne hit the crossbar, while Tyreece Simpson was inches away from rippling the netting with a well-struck volley.

Harry McKirdy also came close to hitting the back of the net on the stroke of half-time, with the Reds well on top for the majority of an action-packed first-half.

It was Stevenage who landed the first blow of the afternoon, however, as Ben Coker fired his team ahead early in the second-half.

Ben Gladwin and Jack Payne had chances to find an equaliser, and the breakthrough came in the dying minutes as Payne kept his cool to smash home a crucial goal from the penalty spot.

Town Head Coach Ben Garner made two changes as both Ellis Iandolo and Harry McKirdy came back into the Starting XI, with Kaine Kesler-Hayden, Anthony Grant and Jonny Williams all away on International Duty.

Tyreece Simpson, fresh off scoring his first goal for the club the week before, again led the line for the Reds while Transfer Deadline Day arrival, Alex Gilbert, was named amongst the subs.

Stevenage made six changes in total and two former Reds in Scott Cuthbert and Luke Norris both faced their former clubs, with one-time Town loanee Alex Revell in the dugout for the hosts.

It was a lively start to the game for both teams as Jack Payne led an early charge forward, while the hosts also attempted to carve out a couple of attacks themselves.

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Town were looking dangerous every time they got on the ball, although they nearly contributed to their own downfall with eleven minutes played as Dion Conroy's pass was cut out by Elliott List who raced through on goal before letting fly, but his effort was tame and Jojo Wollacott was able to get down low and deal with it.

Louis Reed blazed way over at the other end as the Reds looked to land the first blow of the afternoon, although Wollacott had to come up with a stunning fingertip save to somehow keep out Chris Lines' blistering drive from the edge of the box.

The tempo of the game slowed down somewhat as the first-half approached the half-hour mark, although there were still chances to be had.

Reed chipped a delightful ball into the path of Harry McKirdy who won a corner, which resulted in the ball coming out to Reed who controlled it before setting his sights, but the midfielder was unable to keep his effort down.

Town then carved out the best chance of the game just past the half-hour mark, as McKirdy back-heeled the ball into the path of Jack Payne who unleashed a hell of a strike from distance which took a big deflection before coming back off the crossbar.

Ben Garner's team were threatening and they nearly took the lead a minute later as Tyreece Simpson connected with a bouncing ball inside the area, sending a fierce volley inches over the bar.

Stevenage did have a chance towards the end of the half as Jake Taylor curled a shot over the bar, before James Daly sliced an effort wide.

But Town nearly had the last laugh as McKirdy, who caused trouble for the majority of the first-half, charged forward before curling a shot that dropped inches wide of the post.

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HALF-TIME: STEVENAGE 0-0 SWINDON TOWN

Town came out swinging in the second-half as Simpson cut the ball back across goal for Payne, but the midfielder's shot was blocked.

Wollacott had to spring into action again moments later as he was the hero yet again, somehow getting across to tip Luke Norris' powerful header from close-range over the bar.

And, despite their dominance, the Reds found themselves a goal down with 53 minutes played as a mistake from Gladwin at the back allowed Ben Coker to latch onto Taylor's ball at the back post and beat Wollacott to give Stevenage the lead.

Town responded well and nearly drew themselves level just shy of the hour mark as Gladwin's long drive from distance was tipped over the bar by Stevenage keeper Joseph Anang. 

Jayden Mitchell-Lawson came on to make his long-awaited debut for Town as he replaced Rob Hunt, before Stevenage nearly doubled their lead as List blasted over after being played clean through on goal by Norris.

In a bid to try and spark their attack into life again, the Reds quickly made another change as the impressive McKirdy made way for Alex Gilbert, who came on to make his Town debut.

It nearly paid instant dividends as a lovely move resulted in Payne trying his luck, but the attacking midfielder's effort was kept out by Anang.

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Town were trying to find an equaliser but they were being frustrated by their hosts, who nearly landed a sucker-punch as Gladwin did well to head a chance by Terrence Vancooten off the line.

Payne had a shot from distance saved by Anang but the midfielder would come up tops just moments later in the most dramatic fashion.

With time running out, Mitchell-Lawson was brought down inside the box and Payne was called upon to keep his cool and smash home the equalising goal at the death.

It was a well-deserved point for the Reds who probably should have taken all three, but it maintained their brilliant start to the season.

FINAL SCORE: STEVENAGE 1-1 SWINDON TOWN

TEAMS AND STATS

STEVENAGE - Anang; James-Wildin, Coker, Cuthbert (C), List (Bruno Andrade 70), Taylor, Norris, Osborne (Brad Barry 85), Lines, Vancooten, Daly.

SUBS NOT USED - Bastien, Prosser, Read, Reid, Smith. 

SCORERS - Ben Coker (53).

SWINDON TOWN - Wollacott; Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy (C), Crichlow, Gladwin, Simpson, Payne, McKirdy (Alex Gilbert 73), Hunt (Jayden Mitchell-Lawson 66), Reed.

SUBS NOT USED - Ward, East, Aguiar, Parsons, Dabre.

SCORERS - Jack Payne (90).

Referee - John Brooks

Attendance - 3,589.


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