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MATCH REPORT | Swindon Town 4-7 Aldershot Town
Swindon took on National League side Aldershot in the first round of the FA Cup.
Town were hoping to turn around their poor recent run of form and progress into the second round. Manager Michael Flynn named a strong side hoping to see his side through in one game without the need for a replay. Dan Kemp was straight back into the starting 11 after missing the game against his parent club MK Dons.
Within one minute of the game starting the visitors showed that they were dangerous. The National League side tore apart the Swindon midfield before Joshua Stokes’ ball into Jack Barham was tucked home by the forward stunning the home crowd.
Barham fires home (Photo Credit - Robert Noyes)
It went from bad to worse just minutes later, the goalscorer managed to wrangle the ball from Swindon keeper Murphy Mahoney and then curl the ball in from a tricky angle making it 2-0 to Aldershot before five minutes.
Swindon needed to get a grasp on the game before it got out of their grasp. But in the ninth minute, Aldershot all but killed the tie. Barham who was already on a hat-trick managed to shrug off Frazer Blake-Tracey before finding Lorent Tolaj whose ball in the box found Stokes who fired home and a stunned County Ground had seen their side concede three in 10 minutes.
After the third goal, the hosts began to wake up and shortly before the 20th minute, they would create their first real chance of the game. Dan Kemp was twisting and turning in the Aldershot area before clipping a ball to the back post, Charlie Austin came close but Cian Harries headed the ball up and away.
The next best chance would fall to Austin, Remeao Hutton's cross found the forward but his header was over the bar from close range. Swindon looked tired or just not up for it, struggling to create and it didn’t help that Aldershot were looking like the League Two side.
With 40 minutes gone, Flynn had clearly seen enough George McEachran who had been having a horror show, he was hooked off for Liam Kinsella. When the crowd saw who was coming off a cheer went around.
Shortly before half-time, Aldershot who had been happy to sit back and defend their three-goal advantage, almost added a fourth. Tolaj was set clean through and his shot fizzed past Mahoney and the post denied him the goal.
There was a strong appeal for a penalty for Swindon, Kemp played in Tyrese Shade who was cleaned out by an Aldershot defender but the referee believed the defender got the ball and the game carried on.
In the 45th minute the humiliation would somehow become worse, Tolaj who had just been denied by the post, made certain this time and fired past Mahoney giving Aldershot a 4-0 lead at the break.
Half Time: 4-0 Aldershot (Photo Credit - Robert Noyes
If anyone expected a second-half comeback the first minute of the second half almost put any chance of that to bed, a horror of a back pass was chased down by Barham who was just beaten to it by Mahoney.
Just two minutes into the half Aldershot were awarded a penalty when Harrison Minturn took down the Aldershot man and Harries rubbed it in even more by putting it right down the middle making it 5-0.
Aldershot had come to the County Ground and made themselves look like Manchester City and Tolaj scored his second of the game in the 51st minute firing home from 25 yards out. Both Tolaj and Barham were on for hat-tricks, and the game could have easily been double figures already, but for now, it was only 6-0.
Aldershot celebrate (Photo Credit - Robert Noyes)
Shade and Harrison Minturn were the next to be hooked with Shade being hounded by the Swindon faithful.
The changes changed absolutely nothing as minutes later Barham had his hat-trick and Aldershots SEVENTH of the game with over 30 minutes left to play. Swindon were rewriting the dictionary definition of humiliation.
His third goal was Barham’s last moment on the pitch as he was subbed off to applause from both sets of fans.
The County Ground had rapidly emptied following the second half showing being just as poor as the first and nobody could blame them one bit.
Those who remained were rewarded with a consolation goal from Kemp who made it 7-1 and maybe we were about to see the greatest comeback of all time. Kemp was not satisfied with one and in the 78th minute he got his second of the game surely there was no way back.
Charlie Austin had a half chance from the edge of the area but it did not trouble Aldershot and almost cleared the stadium. With moments left before added time, the away fans began the ‘ole’ chants just to rub it in a bit more.
Austin would make amends in the 90th minute when he met a Hutton cross and headed home making it 7-3. Deep into injury time, Austin would get another making it 7-4 but not softening the blow of an utter humiliation at home.
Austin pulls another back (Photo Credit - Robert Noyes)
Full-time would come and Swindon exits the FA Cup in the first round for the second season in succession.
Before the game Swindon advertised a giveaway of a crate of Thatcher's cider and the team certainly played like they'd all had several each.
A disgusting performance to compound a terrible run of form and with a weak squad getting weaker when Kahn and Shade depart for international duty, wins are needed and needed fast.
I’ve not done player ratings in my match reports but everyone not named Dan Kemp or Charlie Austin gets a big fat goose egg.
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