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MATCH REPORT: Swindon Town (1) v (1) Harrogate Town

Jack Payne’s 83rd minute goal from the penalty spot cancelled out Jack Diamonds first-half goal as Swindon Town rounded off a debut meeting against Harrogate Town with a 1-1 draw at the County Ground. Total Sport Swindon’s Ryan Walker gives his match report below.

A change in tactics from Swindon Town Head Coach Ben Garner failed to impress during the early exchanges as Harrogate threatened with every attack. 

Jack Diamond twice went close to open the scoring inside the opening 10 minutes as he broke through on goal before being tackled by Ben Gladwin inside the Swindon as he was about to pull the trigger. 

Moments later confusion between Dion Conroy and JoJo Wollacott resulted in Diamond chipping over Wollacott with Rob Hunt doing well to clear the effort off the line.

In contrast, Swindon struggled to get going and despite a half-chance following a Jack Payne run into the box never looked like causing Simon Weaver’s men any trouble. 

An easy ball over the top was finished sweetly by Diamond in the 24th minute to put the visitors in front as he got the better of Kaine Kesler-Hayden and nutmegged Wollacott with a first-time finish.

Deserving of their lead Harrogate would have been expecting waves of attacks as Swindon attempted to get themselves back on level terms. But the Robins never looked likely of scoring and looked short of ideas as the match approached half-time.

Breaking away from the style they have played all season, Swindon wanted to play the ball around defence in an attempt to stretch Harrogate before hoofing the ball long. But the plan didn’t work and the eventual aimless pass too often failed to find its target as the home side chased the game.

Harrogate had been the better team by far and were deserving of their lead as half-time arrived with Swindon off the pace knowing they would have to improve if they were to have any chance of recording back-to-back home wins for the first time this season.

Ben Gladwin was hooked in the early exchanges of the second half to the delight of the Swindon faithful as Harry McKirdy entered the fray but the change did little to make any immediate influence on the match.

As Swindon became increasingly frustrated with their inability to create an opening, Harrogate seemed to threaten every time they ventured forward with Alex Pattison finishing off a brilliant passing move with a shot on the half-turn that was well saved by Wollacott.

Jack Payne lifted spirits inside the County Ground with a mazing run in the 54th minute that saw the playmaker nutmeg one defender before gliding past another only for his eventual shot to be blocked. 

Payne however would eventually get his goal after late drama in the 82nd minute saw Jayden Mitchell-Lawson brought down by Lewis Page inside the box. Referee Alan Young agreed with the crowd and he pointed to the spot. 

Payne stepped up to smash his penalty past Mark Oxley as the playmaker scored his third goal in as many games much to the relief of the home crowd who hadn’t had much to cheer about up until that point.

Six minutes of added time saw a barrage of attacks from Swindon with Harrogate becoming unstuck as a host of yellow cards were justifiably shown with Ellis Iandolo having a late-call for another penalty waved away as he was instead booked for simulation.

Swindon Town couldn’t find the goal needed to keep their 100% win record for November intact but will be happy for a point in what was one of their worst performances of the season.

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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