SWINDON Town fell one goal shy of double figures in their pre-season clash with a select XI at their training based in Lake Garda, as they ran out 9-1 victors.
Two strikes from James Collins and one from Andy Williams gave the Robins the massive upper hand at the break in Town’s first outing of their pre-season tour of Italy.
Paolo Di Canio made 10 changes for the second half, with only goalkeeper Wes Foderingham remaining on the pitch, and the Swindon stopper could do nothing as Filippo Piasentin stepped up to slot the ball past him from the penalty spot after Lorenzo Zerbato was tripped by trialist Simone Materazzi.
Luke Rooney scored Town’s fourth just before the hour, and further strikes from Raffa De Vita, Paul Benson and Rooney from the spot wrapped up a simple victory.
Miles Storey added the icing six minutes from the end, and Rooney’s hat-trick strike was the cherry on top in the dying moments.
Here are the key moments from today’s first half:
Six mins: GOAL 1-0 (Collins) It’s a decent start from Town and the tourists takes the lead when Matt Ritchie swings in a cross from the right and James Collins rises well to head the ball past Nicola Mantovanelli in the Select XI goal.
Eight mins: GOAL 2-0 (Collins) Precisely two minutes after going in front, Town double their lead. Ritchie provides a pin-point crossfield ball, which is collected by Gary Roberts and the former Huddersfield man picks out Collins at the back post to tap home from close range.
It could all become a little too easy for Swindon at this rate.
14 mins: Town enjoy a bit of a let-off as Lorenzo Zerbato gets down the outside on the left and his cut-back falls to the feet of Mirko Cuchito, whose mis-hit effort beats Foderingham but comes back off the Robins keeper’s left-hand post.
32 mins: GOAL 3-0 (Williams) After a sticky period, during which Town have plenty of possession without making any serious impact, a lucky break gives the Robins a third.
Ritchie sticks a boot in to dispossess Federico Accordini on the edge of the area and the loose ball falls to the feet of Andy Williams, who buried the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the Select XI net.
36 mins: Williams dispossesses Filippo Piasentin on the edge of the box, but his curling shot is punched away by Mantovanelli.
37 mins: Roberts steams down the left, and plays in Williams who in turn tees up Collins for a free pop at goal.
Collins aims for the bottom right-hand corner but Mantovanelli gets down to beat the ball to safety.
44 mins: Alan Navarro’s free kick breaks to Ritchie on the edge of the area and his low drive is snaffled by Mantovanelli as Swindon push for a fourth before the interval.
49 mins: GOAL 3-1 (Piasentin, pen) Simone Materazzi fells Zerbato just inside the Town penalty area and Piasentin steps up to fire the resulting penalty beyond Foderingham.
57 mins: GOAL 4-1 (Rooney) Swindon get a grip on proceedings once again and restore their three-goal lead when Luke Rooney latches onto Alessandro Cibocchi’s chipped ball forward, beats two mean, dances into the area and slots beneath Mantovanelli.
65 mins: Cibocchi’s corner from the right finds Troy Archibald-Henville at the back post but the centre-back nods his free header over the crossbar.
66 mins: GOAL 5-1 (De Vita) Rooney skips down the left and curls in a well-weighted ball to the back post where Raffa De Vita pops up to nod a superb header back across Mantovanelli and into the bottom right-hand corner.
The select XI are starting to tire and Swindon should take advantage.
74 mins: GOAL 6-1 (Benson) De Vita piles down the right and reaches the byeline where his cross is prodded in by Paul Benson’s shin from less than a yard.
81 mins: GOAL 7-1 (Rooney, pen) Rooney has been one of Swindon’s top performers in the second period and he steps up to score from the spot after being felled by Piasentin.
84 mins: GOAL 8-1 (Storey) De Vita’s shot from the edge of the area is half stopped by Piasentin but the ball breaks to Miles Storey, who takes a touch before calmly beating Mantovanelli.
86 mins: GOAL 9-1 (Rooney, hat-trick) A neat set-piece move, involving Cibocchi, De Vita and Rooney ends with the latter tapping the ball into the net. Di Canio is delighted with this one – obviously one from the training ground.
FIRST-HALF TEAM: Wes Foderingham; Nathan Thompson, Aden Flint, Alan McCormack, Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller, Alan Navarro, Gary Roberts; James Collins, Andy Williams
Subs: Leigh Bedwell, Chris Smith
SECOND-HALF TEAM: Wes Foderingham (Leigh Bedwell, 69); Simone Materazzi (Chris Smith, 67), Joe Devera, Troy Archibald-Henville, Alessandro Cibocchi; Raffa De Vita, Simon Ferry, Oliver Risser, Luke Rooney; Miles Storey, Paul Benson