Stevenage held by Swindon Town in dramatic and bad-tempered finale

Stevenage's Ben Coker celebrates the first goal with Jake Taylor (right) against Swindon Town

Stevenage's Ben Coker celebrates the first goal with Jake Taylor (right) against Swindon Town - Credit: JONATHAN BRADY/PA

Stevenage were denied victory in the most dramatic of conclusions at home to Swindon Town - as tempers spilled over on the terraces.

Ben Coker had seemingly sent them on their way with a goal 10 minutes into the second half but with fans in the Swindon end clashing with home stewards, Jack Payne converted a penalty deep into stoppage time.

Swindon Town’s Jack Payne equalises in the last minute against Stevenage.

Swindon Town’s Jack Payne equalises in the last minute against Stevenage. - Credit: JONATHAN BRADY/PA

The spot-kick was awarded to the dismay of the home players but Payne kept his cool to fire the ball straight down the middle, five minutes after the 90 was up.

There may well be repercussions after the conclusion but on the field, Boro will be hugely frustrated not to have moved back into the play-off places and returned to winning ways.

Swindon Town fans are spoken to by stewards as they throw objects towards the pitch at Stevenage

Swindon Town fans are spoken to by stewards as they throw objects towards the pitch during the Sky Bet League Two match at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage. - Credit: JONATHAN BRADY/PA

Alex Revell made six changes from the midweek Papa John's Trophy defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and perhaps more tellingly, six from last Saturday's disappointing 1-0 defeat at Walsall.

James Daly got a first league start and a goal and man of the match performance against the young Spurs while Joseph Anang was back in goal after missing the last two fixtures.

After opening with two victories, Boro have only picked up one point from the next nine on offer.

And while a win was not the be all and end all, certainly not five games into a new season, the home faithful would have liked to see some sort of a reaction and performance.

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The Robins' form meanwhile has been almost a mirror image with four points in the opening three games giving way to back-to-back victories, away to Salford City and at home to Mansfield Town last time out.

And the visitors were the busier of the two sides through the first 45 minutes, although for all the energy and effort on display, neither side really threatened too often.

There were a few positive moments for Swindon with around 10 minutes to go.

Jack Payne almost broke the deadlock with an effort from distance that clipped off Jake Taylor and seemed to be dropping over Anang.

The on-loan West-Ham keeper was just able to get his fingertips onto it and push it off angle of post and bar.

Tyreece Simpson then flashed a shot over the top from eight yards and the half finished with former Boro loanee Harry McKirdy curling a shot from the edge of the area just wide.

But considering they had less of the ball, Boro did create a couple of good opportunities themselves.

Chris Lines had the best of them with a wonderfully-controlled drive from distance after a corner had run out to him.

It flew through the crowd and Jojo Wollacott did well to tip it over.

Elliott List also hit a shot straight at him while a cross from the pacey forward flew across the face of goal, eventually ending with Daly slicing it wide.

Stevenage’s Scott Cuthbert (left) and Swindon Town’s Ben Gladwin battle for the ball.

Stevenage’s Scott Cuthbert (left) and Swindon Town’s Ben Gladwin battle for the ball. - Credit: JONATHAN BRADY/PA

The hope was for plenty more excitement after the break and the opening 10 minutes not only delivered but ended with a goal.

Two brave blocks by Coker prevented Swindon from taking the lead in the first 60 seconds and then a minute later Luke Norris connected excellently with his head to a Daly cross forcing Wollacott into a good stop.

But the keeper and defensive midfielder Gladwin found themselves at sixes and sevens on 55 minutes, allowing Boro to take the lead.

It was a long diagonal ball by Taylor more in hope than anything else but Gladwin was happy to see it drop rather than dealing with it himself.

He may have been expecting the keeper to come and it was unclear whether there was a shout.

What was clear was that Coker kept running and he smashed it over Wollacott and into the roof of the net. 

Stevenage could have made it two as well but List and Elliot Osborne got themselves in a muddle as they both broke in behind the Swindon defence.

List eventually took it on but with the defenders recovering, he fired over.

Swindon though had their chances and it looked for all the world like they had equalised when Payne dropped a shoulder and fired low to Anang's left.

The keeper was down so quickly though that he was able to grab the ball on the line.

There was the obligatory late pressure as expected but Stevenage defended well and almost sealed the game with a Terence Vancooten header that needed cleared off the line, Gladwin making amends for earlier.

The game looked like it would end with a flare, bins and other objects being hurled towards the pitch from the Swindon end but that was before the even-more dramatic conclusion.

A steward surrounded by objects thrown by Swindon Town fans during the League Two match at Stevenage

A steward surrounded by objects thrown by Swindon Town fans during the Sky Bet League Two match at the Lamex Stadium, Stevenage. - Credit: JONATHAN BRADY/PA


Stevenage: Anang, James-Wildin, Coker, Cuthbert, List (Andrade 70), Taylor, Norris, Osborne (Barry 85), Lines, Vancooten, Daly.

Subs (not used): Bastien, Prosser, Read, Reid, Smith.

Goals: Coker 54

Booked: 90+3


Swindon Town: Wollacott, Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy, Crichlow, Gladwin, Simpson, Payne, McKirdy, Hunt (Mitchell-Lawson 66), Reed.

Subs (not used): Ward, Gilbert, East, Aguiar, Parsons, Dabre.

Goals: Payne (pen) 90+5


HT: Stevenage 0 Swindon Town 0

Referee: John Brooks (Asfordby, Leicestershire)


MORE: Special benefit match for Stevenage legend Martin Gittings

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