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Swindon v Crawley - a history
10:16pm Monday 20th August 2012 in News
SWINDON Town’s competitive history against Crawley Town remains embryonic in nature.
The two clubs enjoyed a friendly game in the summer of 2005, which ended 4-3 in favour of the Robins, but it wasn’t until 2010 that they finally collided in a meaningful match.
On that occasion, Town - then in League One - had to travel to Sussex on a freezing cold evening in November for an FA Cup second round tie.
Crawley were riding high at the top of the Blue Square Bet Premier and, with Swindon struggling two divisions above, ESPN screened the game live in hope of an upset.
On a pitch best described as an ice rink, Charlie Austin fired Town in front but Matt Tubbs forced a replay.
Another horribly sub-zero night followed at the County Ground in the rematch.
Fewer than 3,000 turned up to see Jon-Paul McGovern and Austin score the goals that turned the game on its head after Ben Smith had handed Crawley the lead, only for Michael Rose’s own goal to send the tie to extra time.
Swindon, down to 10 men after Jonathan Douglas’ reckless lunge and playing in black at home, couldn’t hold out and Smith netted the winner.
Red Devils boss Steve Evans quickly developed a reputation as a figure of hate among Town fans for his constant gesturing on the sidelines. But it was his side who went through.
“We thought we’d weathered the storm and got through to penalties but that lack of concentration in the last few minutes allowed the boy (Ben Smith) to come inside and pick his spot,” said Swindon manager Danny Wilson afterwards.
The next season the two teams squared up to each other in League Two and Evans initiated a war of words with new Robins boss Paolo Di Canio in the build-up to the game.
“My memories of Di Canio are watching him play as he was a fantastic footballer and wonderful to watch,” he said.
“Whether if I was a chairman I would want him as my manager though is a totally different question, although it’s not really my place to say.
“All I know it’s a massive week for us and the Di Canio Circus rolls into town next Tuesday.”
Di Canio responded in kind, claiming he did not have a clue who Evans was, and it was the Italian who had the last laugh as two goals from Mehdi Kerrouche and one from Alan Connell secured a 3-0 victory at the Broadfield Stadium.
Five months later, on Valentine’s Day, Swindon replicated that feat at the County Ground - edging themselves closer to the title.
Can the Robins make it three consecutive 3-0 wins over their Sussex guests tonight?