I was travelling back from West Wales and a projected 90 minute delay on the M4 motorway, at junction 15, convinced me to pull off at Swindon to come and see this preseason friendly game. the entrance ticket was £10 online when I got in the ground there was so much space I sat high up in the main stand.
The County ground consists of two large seated stands along each side of the pitch, the Don Rogers Stand and the Arkell’s stand I was sat in. Behind the goal is a small covered seated stand (Town End) and at the other end an open seated stand. The ground holds 15,728 and has a good atmosphere, even for a preseason game where the crowd was only 2431.
I found street parking about 800 yards from the ground, having previously got caught up in the weirdest set of about 12 inter-connected mini roundabouts!
Swindon play in league 2, having suffered financial issues and with their previous owner being forced to surrender his controlling shares in 2021 to Clem Morfuni. Morfuni appointed Ben Garner, who had been successful as part of the Crystal Palace academy set up and with a brief spell with Bristol Rovers, as the new manager. Peterborough were promoted to the championship this year but this was more of a youth and reserve team today as their main squad was playing, at the same time, with manager, Darren Ferguson, at Portsmouth.
The game started well with both sides creating chances. Swindon’s number 11, a triallist who looked like a modern version of Frank Worthington, played some nice touches. In addition to this, Swindon’s new striker, Simpson, signed on loan from Ipswich, also looked to be causing some trouble.
Peterborough for their part, had a good chance later on in the half, when Ethan Hamilton drove a shot directly at the keeper.
However, despite the good work, at half-time the scores were still level at 0-0.
Both sides took the chance to make a series of changes in the second half to try running out a range of different players.
As the second half progressed and the defences tired it looked as if either side could sneak a winner. In the 80th minute after some neat passing play the Peterborough number 18 finished clinically to make it 0-1.
Swindon fought to equalise, but at the final whistle Peterborough United had done enough to secure the 0-1 victory. Swindon’s manager, Garner, had seen enough positives from the players out there today, to know he has the basis for a team of battlers, who can also pass quite nicely. This will be a real help, as Swindon look to first cement their place in the league and then work to reclaim their league 1 status.