Swindon Town lose 3-1 to 10 man Leeds United in a poor show at the County Ground. The game marked the second time in 2 home games that Town lost 3-1 and now questions are being asked what can we do to improve defensively?
The game started with the expected hype with both sets of fans in fine voice however it looked like Leeds fans would be going home disappointed within the first 10 minutes of the match.
Alan Sheehan was sent off for a rough foul on eight minutes and hit the showers without hardly breaking a sweat giving Town a 1 man advantage which given the circumstances and who we were playing, should have given us a boost. How wrong we were.
Leeds midfield was fantastic all afternoon as we predicted before the game. The scoring opened on 22nd minutes when Jermaine Beckford fired home a blistering shot after Jerel Ifil failed to clear the ball giving Beckford plenty of time and space to convert his 9th goal of the campaign.
The Swindon Town fans went very quiet after the goal as Town looked to equalise. The Leeds fans on the other hand supported their team after being quiet since Sheehan’s sending off.
Just as the Swindon fans were starting to groan and slate the team instead of supporting it, Simon Cox popped out of nowhere and volleyed the ball past Leeds goalkeeper David Lucas to level things up at 1-1 going into half time.
Cox would be booked for taunting and celebrating the Leeds fans. Cox ran past them with his finger to his lip to which the referee decided Cox was over-celebrating and booked the Town striker.
HALF TIME: Swindon Town 1, Leeds United 1
The teams came out for the second half refreshed yet once again, the atmosphere at the County Ground for the most part was very quiet with a lot of people talking about Liverpool’s win over Manchester United earlier in the day?
Leeds came out all guns blazing for the second half with Rui Marques leading the way for United.
On the 50th minute Leeds got very lucky Neil Kilkenny hit a 30 yard free kick at Swindon Town keeper Phil Smith. It appeared that Smith was going to catch the ball, however it would slip through his hands into the net to give Leeds a 2-1 advantage and send the travelling fans into Raptures on the Stratton Bank.
Many would see this as the turning point of the game because after that Town looked to have gone to sleep for a good part of the match.
Swindon almost equalised right after Kilkenny’s goal after Anthony McNamee put in a cross to Simon Cox who head the ball goal wards only for David Lucas to make a classy save to keep the ball out from close range.
With Leeds dominating, Town boss Maurice Malpas decided to replace Jon-Paul McGovern on the 63rd minute with Mark Marshall on the wing. Town would now have a pacy winger on either side of the park in an effort to break down Leeds.
On the 75th minute things looked to be even again with Mark Mashall going in late on Andy Hughes. Luckily the referee only gave Marshall a yellow which was very lucky. Leeds fans naturally were outraged.
On the 84th minute Beckford sealed the win for Leeds thanks to some slack defending and easily put the ball past Smith in the town goal to ensure that United return to Yorkshire with all 3 points.
The Town fans left in their droves moaning and groaning whilst the Leeds fans celebrated in the Wiltshire sunshine.
Town may have been given a lifeline at the 4th official indicated there would be 5 minutes of extra time however Leeds kept the ball most of the time apart from 2 corners.
The final whistle went and the pain was gone however where do we go from here?
FULL TIME: Swindon Town 1, Leeds United 3
Phil Smith – 6/10
Pretty poor game today and totally at fault for the second goal. Smith is probably the better out of our 2 goalkeepers right now so perhaps it was just a one off against a decent team.
Jack Smith – 6/10
Done OK. Not a great game but no one apart from Cox stood out in this match. Did his part and tracked back.
Jerel Ifil – 5/10
Poor game for “The Beast”, at fault for the first goal and quite often gave the ball away.
Hasney Aljofree – 6/10
Once again booted the ball up field but failed to organise the defence at times which cost us.
Craig Easton – 7/10
Did ok today to be honest. Had a difficult task against Leeds tough midfield.
Jon-Paul Mcgovern – 6/10
Probably his second best game this season. Was dropped for a few games and it looked to have given him the kick up the back side he needed.
Anthony Mcnamee – 7/10
Put in his array of decent crosses however Leeds had sussed him out. At one stage 3 men were marking Macca but still he skinned them!!
Kevin Amankwaah – 7/10
Thought Amankwaah was our best defender today. Didn’t really do anything wrong at all. Once the match fitness picks up he will go some way to improving our defence.
Lilian Nalis – 6/10
Does the simple things really and not one for pace. At times just sort of stood there though waiting for the ball instead of chasing it.
Billy Paytner – 6/10
Very quiet game for Billy but again is showing a bit of pace and is jumping for balls this year and has done well so far.
Simon Cox – 8/10
Ran his heart out and got the goal we all sort of expected. Silly booking but Cox is passionate and celebrated mocking the Leeds fans, brought back memories of Bristol Rovers last year where Cox scored and celebrated in front of them!
Michael Timlin – 6/10
Didn’t really do a lot but brought something different to the game a pair of fresh legs.
Mark Marshall – 6/10
Marshall came on with pace but seemed to drop like a sack of potatoes at times. His inexperience at this level meant he also seemed to hold on to the ball too long at times. These are things that will no doubt be worked on by the management team though.
Maurice Malpas – 7/10 – Malpas selected the right team today however that team just didn’t perform for the most part. Ifil was poor today however he is a class player on his day. Malpas move to take McGovern off for Marshall was a great move and it appeared to be working although Marshall needs to learn to pass the ball a bit more and stop going down so much. Malpas is not to blame for today’s result.
Gary McAllister – 8/10 – With the team at McAllister’s expense it would be very difficult not to expect some sort of result week in and week out. McAllister was very smart to take off Kilkenny and Beccio on 57 minutes after Town had a good share of the ball to slow the game down.
For all the stats from this match please CLICK HERE
Absolute rubbish after Leeds scored their first goal. Before the game the atmosphere was immense in the Town End and with the Leeds fans on the Stratton Bank. Swindon Town fans for the most part are incredibly negative and this must impact the players on the pitch. Slating the players is at an all time low and is quite cringe worthy at times.
Coca Cola League One – Stockport County V Swindon Town, Saturday 20th September 2008, 3pm Kick off