Swindon Town vs Bristol Rovers Match Report

Swindon secured their first win under John Sheridan with a gutsy 1-0 victory over Bristol Rovers.

After having the better of the first half, Swindon took the lead in the 76th minute courtesy of a Brett Pitman header. Matt Smith whipped the ball in from a set piece, with Pitman rising to nod in his second of the season.

Having come off a poor performance against Accrington Stanley, losing 3-0 on Tuesday Night, this was a much needed boost, with Swindon moving up to 18th in the table.

John Sheridan had put his own stamp on the Swindon lineup for the first time, changing the formation from 4-2-3-1 to 3-5-2 in a bid to solidify Swindon as a defensive unit. Hunt, Caddis and Joel Grant were dropped for Baudry, Payne and Donohue, with the clean sheet justifying this decision.

Additionally, goalkeeper Joe Fryer paid the price for his calamitous own goal against Accrington Stanley, with Matěj Kovář replacing him. Admittedly Kovář had little to do, with Bristol Rovers only registering 1 shot on target, but his presence at the back was much more reassuring than that of Fryer.

Having previously written about Swindon’s turmoil at the back, it was very encouraging to see a solid performance and most importantly, a clean sheet. Solidifying the defensive unit is undoubtedly key to survival in League One this season, and this is the perfect base from which Sheridan can build.

There has been a lot of fan scepticism about the capability of Grounds, and whilst the jury is undoubtedly still out, this performance undoubtedly gives hope of a turning point. However, the League One season is a long one, with many ups and downs still to come, so no long-term conclusions can be drawn off one game.

Yet this was a crucial game for Swindon, and they can go on to their Tuesday night game at home to 7th placed Lincoln City buoyed with confidence. Looking further ahead, the Robins will be looking to take some form into their derby away at Oxford on the 28th November. A win away could be season defining, both in terms of bragging rights and as a bottom of the table clash.

Matt Webb

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