Swindon Town 0-1 Ipswich Town - Half-Time
Saturday, 1st May 2021 16:03
The Blues’ goal drought finally came to an end a minute before half-time, James Norwood netting a penalty to give Town a 1-0 half-time lead at Swindon, ending a wait of 11 hours and three minutes for the Blues to find the target.
Norwood returned to the Town side and skippered, while Myles Kenlock and Armando Dobra were also back in the XI.
Norwood, who missed the previous two games with a hamstring problem, replaced Oli Hawkins as the lone striker with Kenlock in at left-back for Stephen Ward, who was left out of the 18, with Dobra starting on the right for Keanan Bennetts, who joined Hawkins on the bench.
Swindon made two changes from the team which was beaten 5-0 away to the MK Dons last Saturday with Christopher Missilou and Rob Hunt coming into the side for Mathieu Baudry, who was left out of the 18, and Jordan Garrick, who dropped to the bench. Ex-Town striker Brett Pitman wore the captain’s armband.
Following both teams and the officials taking a knee in support of Black Lives Matter, the Blues went close to ending their goalless streak in the fifth minute.
Kenlock was sent away down the left by Gwion Edwards and crossed for Teddy Bishop, again playing behind lone striker Norwood, but the midfielder scuffed his volley towards goal well wide.
Three minutes later, Town were again not too far away, Downes heading Andre Dozzell’s corner from the left back across goal but beyond the post.
Swindon started to see most of the ball, although without looking particularly threatening. However, on 16 they should have gone in front.
Dozzell dawdled on the ball midway inside the Blues’ half and was robbed by Jack Payne, who played to Pitman inside the box. The striker worked it on to his right foot but curled wide. It was a decent chance that the former Town frontman clearly thought he should have taken.
In the 20th minute Scott Twine, scorer of a 30-yard stunner in the Robins’ 3-2 victory over the Blues at Portman Road earlier in the season, struck a shot from the left of the area which deflected wide of Kane Vincent-Young.
Two minutes later, Twine forced Blues keeper Dai Cornell to save down to his right with a powerful effort from a similar area. The Welshman was unable to hold on and Tyler Smith was first to the loose ball but his strike was blocked by Vincent-Young. The ball ran to Matthew Palmer, who worked himself space before his shot cannoned behind for a corner, again off Vincent-Young.
Town’s long wait for a goal should have ended in the 27th minute when Norwood dummied Downes’s through ball and Bishop found himself in behind one-on-one with Swindon keeper Lee Camp. However, the veteran former Nottingham Forest man came off his line to block the Blues’ number 15’s effort at goal.
Dobra was the next to threaten just before the half hour, but the Albanian U21 international dragged his shot from the edge of the box wide.
Within a minute, Norwood was played in on the left of the box and struck a shot from a difficult angle which Camp was forced to palm over. From the corner, Mark McGuinness headed well over.
Swindon should have been reduced to 10 men in the 34th minute when Dominic Thompson caught Dobra in the face with his elbow off the ball, an incident which was seen by the linesman.
Referee Kevin Johnson, the official who was in charge of Town’s controversial 1-0 loss at Lincoln in October, liaised with his assistant before showing a yellow card, much to Paul Cook’s annoyance, the Blues manager loudly judging it an “absolute cop out”.
Two minutes later, Thompson clattered into the back of Norwood’s ankles, a challenge which might well have yielded a yellow card had the left-back not already been booked.
Town dominated the closing stages of the half and in the 40th minute again came very near to scoring. Dozzell crossed to Vincent-Young at the far post but somehow Camp kept it out and the loose ball fell safely.
A minute later, Pitman looped a header to Cornell, then in the 44th minute Town’s long wait for a goal finally came to an end via a penalty.
Bishop was upended in the box by Jonathan Grounds and referee Johnson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
After Grounds had been booked, skipper Norwood confidently stroked the ball to Camp’s left as the keeper dived to his right.
Norwood’s eighth goal of the season, which was celebrated in subdued manner, was Town’s first since the home game against Bristol Rovers on April 2nd and ended the goal drought at 663 minutes, 11 hours and three minutes.
It was also the first goal witnessed by the Blues’ owners since they took charge on April 7th.
In two minutes of injury time, Town might have made it two. Bishop sought to bundle his way through a number of defenders but Camp again stood in his way. The grounded midfielder tried to turn Edwards’s cross-shot rebound towards goal but the linesman raised his flag as he did so. Moments later, referee Johnson ended the half.
The Blues should have been in front long before the penalty with more chances created against the division’s most porous defence - Norwood’s goal was the 85th Swindon have conceded this season - than in several recent games put together.
At the other end, the Robins had threatened on one or two occasions and Pitman will feel he should have taken his opportunity.
Swindon: Camp, Grounds, Pitman (c), Smith, Twine, Payne, Missilou, Palmer, Hunt, Thompson, Grant. Subs: Matthews, Caddis, Garrick, Grant, Curran, Broadbent, Hope.
Town: Cornell, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock, Downes, Dozzell, Bishop, Edwards, Dobra, Norwood (c). Subs: Holy, Chambers, Nsiala, Bennetts, Harrop, Hawkins, Parrott. Referee: Kevin Johnson (Weston-super-Mare).
Photo: Matchday Images
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