Reliant Robins Again
Saturday 19th August 2017, 1500hrs.
Morecambe have a bad record against Swindon town: three games played; three games lost even before today`s latest encounter at the Globe Arena. Probably the most memorable event which happened during any of these matches from Shrimps` fans points of view was Christie The Cat`s performance in copying the antics of Town`s then Manager - the erratic and eccentric Paolo di Canio - when he appeared at the Globe Arena just over five years ago. On that occasion, the Italian was on his way to winning the League Two championship with the Robins and then eventual spectacular failure once Sunderland made the mistake of hiring him as their saviour. Since he left the County Ground, though, Swindon have experienced a very chequered history. Although they twice reached the League One Play-Off finals after di Canio departed for pastures new, they fell into the lowest division of the EFL last season. Just like now resurgent Portsmouth - my, how the mighty have fallen. It`s easy to forget not only that Swindon was once a Premier League club and that managers who have been at the helm in the past have included such big names as Dave McKay, Osvaldo Ardiles and Glen Hoddle - strangely enough, all ex-Spurs stars - but that they have had major cup successes at times during their existence, most notably against Arsenal in the mud at Wembley to win the League Cup in 1969.
Before today`s game, the two clubs were fifth and sixth respectively in League Two with an identical record: Morecambe were in the higher position solely in alphabetical order. Notably, the three goals scored so far for the Robins have all been of a result of Paul Mullin, who was poached away by new Manager David Flitcroft during the summer and he lined-up against the club who gave him his big break in the number seven shirt today.
The match started in a strong wind at the Globe arena at quite a frantic pace and the visitors had the first chance of the game when that man Mullin headed Chris Hussey`s corner narrowly wide after seven minutes - he possibly should have done better. Just five minutes later, Town took the lead when Ben Purkiss passed to Donal McDermott on the Swindon right wing and he cut inside and launched a sublime left-footed strike from distance which swerved out of Barry Roche`s reach into the bottom corner of the net. Garry Thompson had a half-chance for the hosts when Michael Rose`s long throw was flicked on by Vadaine Oliver to him but his effort was well blocked after nineteen minutes. But with the visitors having the best of things, Kaiyne Woolery tried his luck after 20 minutes but dragged his shot wide. The Shrimps started to come into the game as the half wore on and carved out a few half chances before Lawrence Vidoroux earned his corn with an excellent save from Andy Fleming`s deflected shot after the ball had found its way to Morecambe`s number eight from a corner.
The Shrimps started the second half a goal in arrears and the first serious action of the second period could have seen the visitors double their lead with 50 minutes played: Mullin gained possession and set-up McDermott for a shot which basically hit Alex Kenyon instead of the target. As the visitors started to dominate again, Hussey won the ball in his own half and raced down the field to warm Roche`s hands with a stinging shot after 56 minutes. Just two minutes later, Mullin impressed former and current fans alike with some more good work which he finished with a cross-come-shot which dipped just over the home crossbar. Manager Jim Bentley shook things up after an hour and substitute Rhys Turner forced his way into the Swindon box after 63 minutes only for the visiting defence to block it and Vidoroux to gratefully smother the loose ball. However, Town`s first substitute also had a golden opportunity to score when he had an unchallenged header with possibly his first touch of the ball after 65 minutes: fortunately for the Shrimps, he placed the ball just over the bar instead of under it. There were chances for both sides after this - notably to Mullin for the visitors and both Steven Old and Thommo for the hosts - but despite five minutes added on at the end, Morecambe were unable to pull themselves back into the game - and in all truth, probably didn`t deserve to do so. So the Shrimps` record in the league is now one game won, one drawn and one lost. The win not only maintains Swindon`s perfect record against the Lancashire club but also puts Town right at the top of League Two this evening. Morecambe, meanwhile, slipped to thirteenth - unlucky for some.
Morecambe: 1 Barry Roche; 6 Dean Winnard; 4 Alex Kenyon; 5 Steven Old; 3 Patrick Brough; 8 Andy Fleming (10 Adam Campbell 87 mins); 15 Aaron Wildig (11 Kevin Ellison 77 mins); Michael Rose (C)(Y); 17 Mitchell Lund (18 Rhys Turner 60 mins); Garry Thompson; 9 Vadaine Oliver.
Subs not used: 12 Danijel Nizic; 14 Luke Conlan; 16 Sam Lavelle; 21 Elliot Osborne.
Swindon Town: 1 Lawrence Vidoroux; 2 Ben Purkiss; 25 Dion Conroy; 6 Olly Lancashire (C); 3 Chris Hussey; 7 Paul Mullin (Y); 16 Amine Linganzi; 8 James Dunne; 18 Donal McDermott (5 Chris Robertson 85 mins); 22 KaiyneWoolery (11 James Brophy 65 mins); 9 Luke Norris (17 Harry Smith 89 mins).
Subs not used: 12 Will Henry; 4 Conor Thomas; 15 Tom Smith; 14 Ellis Iandolo.