Powerful Swindon too much for Rovers
A POWERFUL Swindon Town performance secured a comfortable win over Forest Green at The New Lawn, writes Richard Joyce.
Paulo Di Canio’s League One outfit displayed their class as Rovers suffered their first major defeat of a busy pre-season schedule.
Forest Green boss Dave Hockaday lined his Rovers side up against the club he represented over 300 times for the first time in his managerial career but it was the Wiltshire side who would come out on top.
After the game Hockaday said: "Swindon's performance tonight is what we need to aspire to."
An opening minute effort for the visitors from former Celtic man Paul Caddis skipped well wide as Swindon grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck early on.
Dogged work by Chris Stokes ten minutes in though presented Forest Green with their first opportunity as the full backs ball from the left found Reece Styche in the Swindon box who set Ben Wright up to tuck a shot over the bar.
Swindon would profit from their strong start however when Troy Archibald-Henville steered a clever header in to the back of the Rovers net to put the Wiltshire side in front.
Jay McEvely’s ball in to the box from the left hand side found Gary Roberts who put the ball back in to the middle which saw the physical presence of Archibald-Henville secure Swindon’s opener.
Matt Bulman, starting in goal for Rovers against his former club, then produced a good stop after Paul Benson turned well to fire off an effort but Bulman could do little to prevent Swindon from furthering their lead shortly after from the penalty spot.
Paul Green clipped the leg of Andy Williams and referee Brendan Malone had no issue with pointing straight to the spot with skipper Caddis striking the ball firmly past Bulman.
The two Swindon goals certainly set Rovers back but the hosts began to find their feet against a Swindon team with a winning habit following their League 2 championship win last term.
One of the key men behind that successful league campaign was Matt Ritchie and the highly rated midfielder produced a sublime volley on goal just before the break which Bulman brilliantly palmed away.
There would be one chance remaining in an entertaining first period of football and it would come for Rovers as Wright fired narrowly wide with an edge of the box free kick after Keiron Forbes had been fouled.
Rovers made three changes at the break with the visitors making just the one and it was Swindon’s single new face, Jamie Collins, who had the second half’s first chance when five minutes in his close range shot was bravely deflected out for a corner by Eddie Oshodi.
Further introductions from both benches past the hour mark put an interesting tilt on the game with Omar Koroma heading a James Rowe corner narrowly over only for Swindon to further their lead just a minute later.
Luke Rooney’s deep cross from the left fell to the back post where Roberts did well to slam home a Swindon third.
The Robins would make it four with a clever corner kick as the game entered the final ten minutes and it was Simon Ferry this time who took advantage, drilling the ball past Bulman.
It was a final moment that illustrated the difference in quality between the two sides as Swindon continued their impressive pre-season preparations as Forest Green host more Football League opposition in the shape of Cardiff City on Saturday.
Forest Green: Bulman, Hodgkiss, Stokes (Asafu-Adjaye 46), Oshodi, Green (Turley 88), Bangura (Collins 79), Forbes (Rowe 62), Vieira (Norwood 60), Klukowski, Styche (Koroma 46), Wright (Taylor 46)
Swindon: Foderingham (Bedwell 89), Caddis (Thompson 85), Archibald-Henville (Devera 57), McCormack (Flint 81), McEveley (Smith 89), Ritchie (Rooney 56), Miller (Rissa 85), Navarro (Ferry 65), Roberts (De Vita 67), Williams (Storey 81), Benson (Collins 46)