Doncaster Rovers 1 (Robinson, (pen) 26)
Sky Bet League One
County Ground, Swindon
Doncaster Rovers ended Swindon Town’s five match winning streak with a 1-0 win courtesy of Theo Robinson’s first half penalty.
Robinson’s calmness from the spot could not be matched by Mark Cooper’s Robins who spurned their chance to go top of the League One table when Michael Smith saw his penalty saved late on.
Paul Dickov – who witnessed his side pick up their sixth away win in the league – made one change from the side which was defeated by Gillingham at home last week with Dean Furman replacing Curtis Main.
The visitors snuffed out Town’s efforts early on and, with chances at a premium, the first real talking point came on seventeen minutes when Nathan Thompson’s gentle back pass bobbled over the foot of goalkeeper Wes Foderingham, who was relieved to see the ball trickle just wide of his left post.
The frustration among the home support was tangible and was exacerbated when tricky wing back Nathan Byrne went down in the area under a challenge from Enda Stevens and the referee waved play on.
Within 30 seconds, James Coppinger picked a pass from the left flank for Furman to latch on to. The South Africa captain was adjudged to have been fouled by Jordan Turnbull, which left Robinson with the responsibility of converting, which he did, with a powerfully hit penalty just past Foderingham’s outstretched right arm.
The game’s fractious nature – epitomised by the fact that there were six yellow cards in the game; five of which went to Doncaster – continued until the half time interval with Foderingham’s tremendous save from Luke McCullough’s firm header, the only incident of note.
Half time: Swindon Town 0-1 Doncaster Rovers
The Robins rallied in the second half and at times laid siege to the Rovers goal with some last ditch defending and, crucially, luck coming to away team’s rescue.
First it was the turn of rangy striker Jon Obika to smack Sam Johnstone’s upright, on 50 minutes, after his low drive took a wicked deflection off McCullough.
Ten minutes later, Johnstone, who by and large, had a quiet first half had more than his fair share to do in the second and was delighted to see the ball flash wide of his post when striker Andy Williams was clean through on goal.
With Rovers holding firm, the hosts got more adventurous, however were nearly caught out when a deep corner from the visitors saw Andy Butler hurl himself forward to plant a header just wide of Foderingham’s goal and cannon off the goal stanchion.
For all Swindon’s endeavour, it looked to be a fruitless afternoon for the Wiltshire side and after having another couple of penalty appeals turned down, the referee – more through an accumulation of infringements – finally pointed to the spot when Reece Wabara grappled with Williams on 80 minutes.
Substitute Michael Smith underhit his spot kick and saw Rovers’ on loan goalkeeper, Johnstone, make a routine save down to his left.
The hosts piled the pressure on late on but their goal was elusive. Harry Forrester came close to adding a fortunate second when his near post shot deflected off Foderingham and on to the post, but the frantic 94th minute goal line clearance by Enda Stevens summed up the afternoon.
An outswinging corner was met by the head of the impressive Nathan Thompson and, with Rovers scrambling bodies back, Stevens adjusted his position to make one last vital block and ensure Dickov’s side claimed a valuable three points.
Swindon - Foderingham, Turnbull, N. Thompson, Stephens, Byrne, Gladwin, Kasim (Bell, 81), L. Thompson, Luongo, Obika (Smith, 62), Williams
Subs not used - Reeves, Barthram, Belford, Rodgers, Branco.
Cautions - Stephens.
Rovers - Johnstone, Wabara, Stevens, McCullough, Butler, Coppinger, Bennett (Forrester, 49), Keegan, Wellens, Furman, Robinson (Main, 81)
Subs not used - Marosi, Evina, Wakefield, Whitehouse, McKay.
Cautions - Johnstone, Wabara, Furman, Bennett, Wellens.
Att - 7793