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Swindon won the first major trophy in their history, with a shock 3-1 victory over Arsenal in the League Cup Final, after a battling performance on a Wembley pitch more suited to mud wrestling than football.
Though Arsenal had most of the play, they struggled to breach the Swindon defence after choosing a formation which, for most of the match, saw them play with just Bobby Gould up front. When they did manage to get through on goal, still they were prevented from scoring by the heroic Peter Downsborough, who, by the admission of the Arsenal assistant manager Don Howe, had the game of his life. At the other end, the Swindon front-line caused havoc in the Arsenal defence - of the eleven goal attempts that the Town created on the day, just one was off target - and that one hit the post!
Swindon made the breakthrough in the first half. After a long ball into the box looked as if it would be cleared up by the Arsenal defence, a mix-up between Ian Ure and 'keeper Bob Wilson allowed Peter Noble to square the ball into the box. As Peter Simpson slid to clear it away, the ball ricocheted back off Roger Smart, and with Wilson in no mans land, the ball trickled into the net, to put the Town 1-0 up.
Just as it was looking as though the cup was on it's way to Swindon, Arsenal grabbed an equaliser with just four minutes to go. Downsborough ran out from the goal to intercept an Arsenal through ball, but as he cleared it, the ball hit Gould and went high into the air - Gould then beat Stan Harland to it to head into the empty net. As he celebrated, Gould was seen to be crying, which he later claimed was due to the almighty kick in the chest he had just received from Harland in his attempts to clear the ball!
It was extra time when Swindon's superior fitness really showed, and they began to take control of the game. First, a superb cross from Don Heath was met with a diving header by Smart, which was turned onto the post by the outstretched arm of Bob Wilson. From the resulting corner, a goalmouth scramble ensued, and Don Rogers poked the ball home.
It was Rogers who put the game beyond Arsenal's reach in the second period of extra time. As the Gunners pushed forward for another equaliser, Swindon won the ball thirty yards from their own goal. Roger Smart picked the ball up, and played it forward to Rogers, who timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap and put him through on goal. As Wilson came out to meet him, Rogers flicked it round him and stroked the ball into the empty net, leaving Wilson flailing in the Wembley mud.
All that was left was for Town captain Stan Harland to climb the Wembley steps to receive the trophy from Princess Margaret - Swindon had written themselves into football's history books as only the second Third Division team to win the League Cup - a feat which has not been achieved since.
|TOTAL GOAL ATTEMPTS||22||11|
|Blocked or deflected||3||1|