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Wellens delighted as Swindon execute perfect game-plan against Rochdale

RICHIE WELLENS praised his Swindon Town players for executing their game-plan to perfection yesterday as the Robins earned a 3-1 home win over Rochdale to kick-off the 20/21 League One season with a win. Total Sport Swindon’s Ryan Walker spoke to the STFC manager following the match.

Having lost the majority of a strike force that dominated League Two last season, many were expecting a tough opening game against Rochdale. However, three first-half goals from Tyler Smith, Anthony Grant, and Matt Smith took the game away from the visitors who could manage just a solo consolation goal late in the game.

Speaking after the game, Wellens said:

“We worked towards stopping Rochdale from playing the way they want and I thought the players carried out the plan a treat.

“I think we had four or five opportunities after winning the ball high up the pitch and that is what accumulated in Matt Smith’s goal. 

“I thought we could’ve switched the ball more at times but overall it was a really solid performance,” he added.

“The last 20 minutes we were a little bit leggy and the game opened up a bit, and they scored a goal which we weren’t happy about. 

“It’s a good result and a good start.

“The speakers in the crowd made the atmosphere a bit better but I’m missing the fans and I want our supporters back.

“This place would be rocking on the first game of the season so let’s get the fans back as soon as possible,” said Wellens.

Anthony Grant’s 32nd minute goal was the 33-year-olds first league goal in five years as Swindon cruised to an important victory. And whilst Wellens was delighted with his goal contribution, it was the midfielders overall performance that impressed him most. 

“It’s nice to see him score and it’s good to see us score from corner situations,” he said.

“We scored from the corner where Tyler Smith had a good finish on the turn and then the second goal was from a corner where we played it out wide and put the ball back in. 

“We’ve half-scored from two set plays today which we weren’t very good at last year so I’m pleased with those two goals.

“I thought Matt Smith and Anthony Grant were really positive on the front foot, controlling the game and we got the third goal from that,” said Wellens.

Victory for Swindon made it seven straight opening day wins for the Wiltshire club, however Wellens issued some bad news to the STFC faithful following the game revealing that midfielder Michael Doughty had left the club with immediate effect.

Speaking on his departure, Wellens gave the following update:

“Michael wanted to make a statement himself,” said Wellens.

His wife had a baby four or five weeks ago, and when we went to Manchester for pre-season he was struggling mentally and he wanted to get back home as soon as possible. 

“I think he’s got some personal issues but I don’t want to go into it too much because Michael is a brilliant human being,” he added.

“He’s very unique and I’ve absolutely loved working with him for the 18 months that I’ve had. 

“I probably criticise Michael more than anyone else because I know how good he can be and he played in my position.

“We had our ins and outs in our first season but from November till the end of the season last year he was our best player,” said Wellens.

“I was looking forward to his getting even better this season but we’ve got to respect his decision for his family and people who go on Twitter making up stories are bang out of order. 

“Michael is a brilliant lad and I wish him and his family all the best, 

“He’s given the club as much time as possible to find a replacement but he’s a difficult player to replace both in the dressing room and on the pitch,” added the STFC manager.

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Swindon Town FC

Swindon Town Football Club

STFC are Swindon's top football team, based at The County Ground Stadium.

The County Ground, County Road, Swindon, Wiltshire , SN1 2ED

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