Swindon Town 1-2 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 1st May 2021 16:58
James Norwood scored twice, once from the spot, and later missed another penalty as Town’s long wait for goals came to an end as they won 2-1 at Swindon. Norwood, captaining the Blues on his return to the side, put Town ahead on 44 with his first spot-kick, Town’s first goal in 663 minutes, then added a second in the 58th minute. Brett Pitman pulled one back for the already-relegated Robins on 71 before Norwood spurned the opportunity to score his first Town hat-trick via a second penalty but manager Paul Cook wasn’t to be denied his inaugural Blues away win.
In addition to Norwood, 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 - it may have been on target anyway - 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 swapped Grounds for Tom Broadbent ahead of the second half and six minutes after the restart Twine hit a free-kick from 30 yards well wide.
Town might have made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute when Norwood won the ball midway inside the home side’s half to the left and fed Edwards. The winger’s cross reached Dobra, who was unable to get in a shot but teed-up Downes, who shot over from the edge of the box when he ought to have hit the target.
In the 57th minute it was 2-0 with Norwood again the man on target as he snaffled up a gift from Twine. The Robins midfielder played the ball back towards Camp when under pressure from Edwards not far outside his own area but it was read by Norwood, who stabbed his ninth of the season past the keeper.
Town swapped Bishop, again one of the Blues’ best performers, although will feel he should have scored at least once, for Troy Parrott in the 61st minute, the on-loan Tottenham man’s first involvement since the MK Dons game on April 10th.
The Irish international was quickly involved, bringing the ball in from the left in the 65th minute and hitting a shot against a defender with Dobra unmarked in the middle probably a better option.
Swindon claimed a penalty when Smith headed wide from a Thompson cross, the striker claiming he’d been fouled but referee Johnson wasn’t interested.
Edwards was swapped for Josh Harrop, back after his three-match ban, and Dobra for Bennetts as the game reached the 70th-minute mark.
The home side pulled a goal back a minute later and it was a goal Town keeper Cornell will want to forget. Pitman struck a not overly threatening effort from the edge of the box which squirmed under the former Northampton man and into the net to make the scoreline 2-1.
Town should have restored their two-goal lead only two minutes later when they were awarded their second penalty of the match and only their third of the season.
Parrott did well to get round the outside of sub Taylor Curran on the left having been played in by Downes and was tripped by the defender. Again referee Johnson was in no doubt, pointed to the spot and Curran was booked.
Norwood struck his kick to Camp’s left but put it the wrong side of the post, giving the striker a record of one out of three from his spot-kicks this season, having seen his first of the campaign saved at Accrington.
Downes was booked for a foul on Anthony Grant in the 81st minute, Twine hitting the resultant free-kick well over the bar.
Three minutes later, a promising Town attack ended with Harrop shooting very high and very wide the ball presumably having hit a bobble as he struck it.
Swindon went straight up the other end and McGuinness did well to cut out a low cross from sub Garrick before Smith’s shot was deflected behind.
On 86 Dozzell cleverly played Parrott in on the right of the box with only Camp to beat but again the keeper was able to save.
Town deserved the three points from an entertaining if not always high quality game and the margin of victory really should have been much wider.
In addition to the penalty miss, the Blues had more than enough chances during both halves to replicate the sort of scorelines they regularly used to rack up at the County Ground in the late nineties.
The victory ends a six-match winless run, but means little in the context of Town’s already-over season with Tuesday’s trip to Shrewsbury and next Sunday’s home game with Fleetwood also having nothing riding on them.
Swindon: Camp, Grounds (Broadbent 46), Pitman (c), Smith, Twine (J Grant 82), Payne (Garrick 56), Missilou (Curran 62), Palmer, Hunt, Thompson, A Grant. Unused: Matthews, Caddis, Hope.
Town: Cornell, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Kenlock, Downes, Dozzell, Bishop (Parrott 61), Edwards (Harrop 70), Dobra (Bennetts 70), Norwood (c). Unused: Holy, Chambers, Nsiala, Bennetts, Harrop, Hawkins, Parrott. Referee: Kevin Johnson (Weston-super-Mare).
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