Town 3-0 Swindon
Saturday, 15th Jan 2000 18:23
Town easily overcame a Swindon side that looked resigned to relegation at Portman Road this afternoon. Two goals from Richard Naylor added to a strike from Mick Stockwell on an afternoon when Town never really over-exerted themselves.
The Blues lined up with Mick Stockwell replacing the suspended Fabian Wilnis and Jim Magilton replacing Jermaine Wright after missing the Port Vale game with injury. The pattern of the game emerged early on with Town having the majority of the possession and Swindon defending deeply as promised by manager Jimmy Quinn yesterday in the press. Town had a number of chances before a weak header out of defence was pounced on by Mickey Stockwell who hammered the ball past Frank Talia's right hand into the corner of the net.
Even after this setback Swindon showed little attacking intention although Chris Hay went close with a header that went over the bar.
The goal of the game came after a neat interchange of passes between Mark Venus, James Scowcroft and Richard Naylor, the number 12 shirt delicately lifting his sidefooted volley over the 'keeper.
Town went in at half-time 2-0 up, but it should have been more. Referee Peter Walton had a poor and very pedantic afternoon. His worst moment came in the first half when Swindon defender Scott Leith pulled David Johnson down when he was clear on goal. The Town crowd were expecting a red card however Walton saw the offence as merely worth a yellow.
The second half was much the same as the first with Town going close on a number of occasions without adding to their lead. Finally Richard Naylor powerfully headed a Jamie Clapham cross past Talia for the third. Talia had earlier made an impression on the North Stand with his failure to retrieve a ball which was lodged on the roof of the net. The 'keeper repeatedly tried to dislodge it to increasing howls of derision from fans.
As the game drew to a close Town brought on the electronic tag-wearing Gary Croft who got a good reception from the crowd. The North Stand gave him a good natured burst of "Come in a taxi". Town also brought on Jonas Axeldal and Jermaine Wright with Mickey Stockwell, David Johnson and Matt Holland the players replaced.
An easy victory then against a poor side who looked like they were defeated almost from the start. Richard Wright didn't need to make a save on a very comfortable afternoon for the Town defence. The only downside amongst the defenders was a booking for Tony Mowbray after he chipped the ball past Talia after the referee had already blown the whistle for offside. It is only the player/coach's second booking of the season.
R Wright 7 Largely redundant
Stockwell 7 Nice goal (Croft, 71)
McGreal 8 Solid
Mowbray 8 Nothing wrong
Venus 7 Passing better than recently
Clapham 7 Good cross for Naylor's second
Holland 7 Usual Matt performance (J Wright, 86)
Magilton 9 Ran the show
Scowcroft 8 Another excellent performance
Johnson 6 Not his afternoon, should have scored a couple at least (Axeldal, 83)
Naylor 9 Took chances
Photo: Action Images
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