Out of the darkness comes light. From the fug of Mad Friday hangovers and the pea-souper of doom hanging over the Keepmoat, Rovers delivered an awakening away performance to bring much-needed festive cheer.
This was an away mission accomplished as Rovers stuck stoically to a perfectly executed game-plan, defended solidly and, when the chance to score presented itself, gleefully took it. But it would be dismissive to call this smash-and-grab. Beyond Theo Robinson’s perfectly despatched penalty further chances were created; Luke McCullough brought the best out of ‘keeper Wes Foderingham; Andy Butler dove to head millimetres wide and Harry Forester kissed the post from a tight angle.
But it was in defence where Rovers excelled at the County Ground; effectively marshaling a good, passing Swindon side away from their own area, and corralling them in the central third of the field. In the first half Sam Johnstone did nowt beyond take goal-kicks. In the second-half he remained a spectator as a Jonathan Obika effort was redirected onto the post by McCullough’s heel, before Andy Williams and Ben Gladwin both fired wide.
That is until the 79th minute and a penalty for the home side, which ultimately provided Johnstone with his only save of the game; down left to beat away Smith’s spot-kick. That save may have wrapped up the win, but it took a goal-line clearance from Enda Stevens deep in injury-time to tape down the ends and stick on the bow. Do we have to go back home?
by Glen Wilson