Swindon Town rounded off their productive pre-season campaign with a 4-2 defeat at home to Championship side Cardiff City, where fans were treated to debut goals from new signings Tyrese Shade and Jacob Wakeling.
In a difficult first period as the visitors pressed, Scott Lindsey’s side conceded three goals, but responded well in the second to reduce the arrears as his players were given more valuable minutes on the pitch as the focus turns to their league opener at Harrogate Town next weekend.
With a blend of youth and fringe players heading to Worthing for game time as part of a Saturday doubleheader, Lindsey fielded a strong side to face The Bluebirds in a midday kick off at The County Ground, with first starts for Angus MacDonald and forward Tomi Adeloye.
There were early concerns as the game got underway, with striker Harry McKirdy picking up a knock in the early stages after a challenge from Cedric Kipre, but thankfully the striker recovered to complete the rest of the game.
The opening goal of the afternoon arrived after just 12-minutes, as Callum O’Dowda was sent clear on the right, and his low cross was converted well by the onrushing Max Watters.
Five minutes later the visitors doubled their lead. A loose pass from Cian Harries sold goalkeeper Sol Brynn a bit short and the stopper was unable to prevent Andy Rinomhota from tapping in from close range.
It could have been three moments later, as Rinomhota was sent clear, but the attacker could only drag his effort wide of the post.
Town’s first clear effort of the first period fell to Ben Gladwin, but his opportunist shot from a poor Ryan Allsop clearance was blocked in the box.
Town created another chance just before the break, but Louis Reed was unlucky with his long range shot that flew over.
But as the remaining minutes to half time ticked by, Steve Morisons’ charges added a third through captain Ryan Wintle as he rounded off a slick passing move to score past Brynn.
Scott Lindsey made two changes at the interval, with goalkeeper Lewis Ward coming on for Brynn and Cian Harries making way for Mathieu Baudry.
It was Town that created the best opening of the second period, as Ben Gladwin forced a good save from Allsop with a powerful far-post volley that the stopper pushed to safety.
Jacob Wakeling, Tom Clayton, Saidou Khan and Ronan Darcy entered the action with twenty minutes to go and made an immediate impact as Swindon pulled a goal back.
Khan and Darcy combined well before Louis Reed slid the ball across the Tyrese Shade who hit a fantastic low strike into the bottom left hand corner and past the outstretched Allsop.
However, Cardiff responded quickly and scored their fourth just three minutes later with Sheyi Ojo bursting into the box and shooting past Ward, who despite getting a hand to it, was helpless to prevent it going into the back of the net.
With ten minutes to go Swindon continued to press with some nice passing moves, and young Academy prospect Abu Kanu was given his first taste of first-team action as he replaced the impressive Ciaran Brennan.
And Scott Lindsey’s side were rewarded for their hard work with another goal three minutes from the end, as Jacob Wakeling battled his way past two defenders and struck a low effort past the goalkeeper.
Two could have been three just moments later as Harry McKirdy was sent clear, but the striker was unlucky and dragged his right-footed effort wide of the post.
Another important game under their belts for Town as their pre-season campaign ends. They’ll now head to The EnviroVent Stadium next Saturday to face Harrogate Town as the 2022/23 EFL Sky Bet League Two season gets underway.
1. Brynn (GK) (12. Ward (GK) 46mins) – 2. Hutton, 5. Reed, 7. Gladwin (10. Darcy 70mins), 8. Williams (23. Khan 70mins), 9. Adeloye (24. Wakeling 70mins), 11. McKirdy, 21. MacDonald © (4. Clayton 70mins), 26. Harries (6. Baudry 46mins), 28. Shade, 34. Brennan (25. Kanu 79mins).
1. Allsop (GK) – 3. Collins, 6. Ng, 9. Watters (11. Harris 77mins), 14. Romeo, 15. Wintle ©, 19. O’Dowda (18. Tanner 77mins), 20. Rinomhota, 21. Sawyers (7. King 81mins), 23. Ojo (10. Whyte 77mins), 24. Kipre.
Unused subs: 12. Alnick (GK), 25. Phillips (GK) - 2. Daley-Campbell, 5. Denham, 13. Bagan, 16. Nelson, 17. Sang.
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistants: Derek Eaton and Declan O’Shea
Fourth Official: Sam Read
Attendance: 3,590 (837 away fans)