Swindon Town 2 - 0 Cambridge United
Saturday 30th September 2017 - 15:00 k.o.
The County Ground, Swindon (view on map) - 62 miles round trip
Scorers: Swindon Town - Anderson, Smith
Yellow Cards: Cambridge United - Deegan
I was shocked when I worked out that it had been 5 years since I last went to a professional football league
match. Back in 2012 it was FC Kobenhavn v Silkeborg in the Danish Superliga. Given payday was a couple of days
ago it seemed like a good time to refamiliarise myself with the luxuries of league football - names on the backs
of shirts, electronic scoreboards, faces familiar from the TV... Swindon seemed like the easiest to get to - a
half hour train ride from Bath and then a 10 minute walk to the ground. I bought my ticket (online of all things!)
and chose to sit in the Don Rogers stand, opposite the dug outs and the away supporters.
As I exited the station and made my way through central Swindon, it surprised me how multicultural the place is - Polish shops, Turkish barbers - I could have been in central London. Surprisingly The County Ground isn't really visible until you round the last corner at which point a classic football league ground comes into sight. The four 'proper' floodlights and four separate stands each one distinctive from the other three. A top flight stadium for a period in the 90s, it would look rather out of place in today's Premier League if truth be told. For me, though, this is a positive thing. Grounds like this, with their individuality are all too few and far between.
I managed to navigate to my seat with uncharacteristic ease via the electronic ticket scanner gizmo. My seat offered a decent view of the pitch and three of the stands - one of which was completely empty, unsurprising really given that the ground was only one-third full (or two-thirds empty, depending on your outlook on life!). The visitors started the brightest with a couple of early corners. This was until Amine Linganzi took aim from distance. Visiting keeper David Forde in his immaculate all-white kit parried away. The ball was dinked back into the box and eventually found Crystal Palace loanee Keshi Anderson who found the back of the net. Other than a hopeful penalty shout, Cambridge offered little going forward in the first half.
The second half saw United looking rather more dangerous but couldn't really carve out anything more than a handful of half chances, giving Swindon's Chilean goalkeeper Vigouroux the opportunity to fall on the ball each time. On the hour mark, Robins striker Luke Norris fell awkwardly, injuring his shoulder. Swindon lost their imposing frontman but gained 11 pantomine villains as Cambridge refused to kick the ball out of play as Norris struggled back to his feet. He was replaced by the even taller Harry Smith. United's best chance came when Uche Ikpeazu's header looped over Vigouroux but hit the bar and fell kindly for the keeper. Substitute Smith put the game out of sight in the dying minutes as Anderson turned provider, sliding a ball in for Smith to finish well.
In truth it was not a great game, but I enjoyed the experience of League football after having become rather accustomed to the more modest surroundings of the National League South and below.
View the photos from this match.