Swindon Town defeated Stoke City 4-3 in the Capital One Cup after extra time at the Britannia Stadium. A 119th minute winner from hat-trick hero James Collins saw the League One side progress into the third round. Swindon had previously knocked out Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Robins started the game positively in the sparsely filled stadium. As Swindon played the ball around well, chances were created and in the 26th minute Collins capitalised on a mistake by Stoke City keeper Sorensen. Swindon kept up the pressure after the goal and in the 39th minute De Vita collected a wonderful cross field pass from Robins captain Alan McCormack, who darted past his marker and his shot hit the woodwork. This momentum continued and just a minute or so later Swindon had a corner from the left, in which De Vita’s cross was met by a brilliant header from James Collins, for his second of the night. This sent the travelling fans into raptures. A brilliant first half display was finished off by another De Vita strike hitting the same post.
At half-time I rang my friend and was very concerned that if Stoke were to play high balls and if they brought on Peter Crouch then we could be in serious trouble. I had been at the Leeds 2 -2 Swindon League Cup game some 9 years ago and it had all the hallmarks of a repeat occurrence.
Stoke started better after the break, strong half-time words from their manager must have done the trick. They started using long high balls to a great effect. Swindon’s back line was in trouble and this was exposed in the 63rd when Trinidad & Tobago star Kenwyne Jones headed home Shotton’s cross from the right. This was Swindon Towns first goal that they had conceded all season.
The Robins had little chances during the period after Stokes first goal but had soaked up all of the pressure brought onto them by the Premier League side. A triple substitution in the 78th minute by Tony Pulis saw Crouch, Ness and Walters on for Shotton, Jones and Jerome.
Following the substitutions Stoke City looked to utilise high balls especially with Crouch on the field. In the 85th Minute a hopeful ball up field saw the ball fall for Walters who slotted the ball home past Swindon keeper Wes Foderingham. The sense of relief from the Stoke fans was apparent and the disbelief from Swindon fans that their side had failed to hold on to a comfortable 2-0 lead was clear to see..
Deep into the four minutes of added on time, Stoke had chances to snatch victory, with Peter Crouch and Jermaine Pennant both going close. As the final whistle went and extra-time loomed, Swindon Town could be proud of their performance thus far.
Extra time started and within five minutes both sides had chances to make the scoreline 3-2. Devera got in the way of Walters at the back post whilst at the other end Williams dragged a shot wide from close range. Soon after this McEveley had to be replaced by Nathan Thompson after a head-to-head collision with Potters striker Walters. After chances from Cameron, Crouch and Upson coming to nothing it seemed the first half of extra-time wouldn’t end with a goal. This was until the last action of the half were a corner from Matt Ritchie saw Aden Flint, rise above everybody at the back post to nod in Swindon’s third goal.
After 115 minutes, Swindon Town, of League One were in front at The Britannia Stadium 3-2, where just 48 hours previously, Arsenal, three times Premier League winners had failed to scored a single goal.
With less than ten minutes remaining of the 2nd half of extra-time, Swindon Town players were looking very fatigued, they had given there all for over 110 minutes, but a simple cross from the right saw Peter Crouch comfortably rise above the Robins defenders to simply nod home there equaliser.
With two minutes to go Williams skipped clear of the Stoke back-line but his shot was straight at Sorensen. On the next attack, Swindon Town’s Miller shot from inside the area, Sorensen palmed this away, then Williams headed the ball across goal for James Collins to score his hat-trick. This sent the away fans into raptures. The relief, excitement and joy of every single Robins fans was very clear.
Some two days later and I still have a beaming smile on my face, I can honestly say that this was the best match I have ever been to. Performance wise and the way in which we won was absolutely amazing. I ended up being on BBC Radio Wiltshire after the game but I cannot really remember what they asked me, the adrenaline running through me was unbelievable.
52% Possession 48%
17 Shots 25
8 (On Target) 15
7 Corners 11
13 Fouls 12
Last night the draw for the Capital One Cup Third Round took place and Swindon will now face Burnley at The County Ground. The last time that these teams met was on 17h April 1996 when the teams played out a 0-0 draw. A notable former Swindon Town player will be making his return to The County Ground for the visitors in the form of Charlie Austin. The 23 year old, signed for Swindon Town in 2009 from Non-League Poole Town. Austin played 54 times for The Robins where he netted on 31 occasions. Austin joined Burnley in 2011 where he has netted 18 goals from 48 appearances.
Swindon Town play Preston North End on Sunday for the first time since 1986. The 2 sides have met on 26 previous occasions whereby Swindon have only won 7 matches. Back in 1935, 24,480 fans saw Preston defeat Swindon in the highest attended match between the teams, somewhat suggests that this will not be beaten when they meet at Deepdale.
You can follow me on Twitter for even more Swindon Town discussion.