Football: Swindon betrayed by style

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The Independent Online
Leicester City. 4

Swindon Town. .2

IT WAS, someone suggested to Swindon's player-manager Glenn Hoddle, something of a Nightmare On Filbert Street. Having seen the home side supplant his team in fifth place after taking a

3-0 half-time lead, Hoddle was inclined to agree. 'We are not out of the hunt, but we have some work to do. We have got to defend a lot better if we want to do anything this season.'

Leicester - with their muscular defender Steve Walsh, back after one of his frequent suspensions, enjoying himself hugely up front - were simply overwhelming. But as their manager, Brian Little, pointed out, the First Division is in flux, the bottom teams are beating those from the top, and the key is a consistent run such as Newcastle have managed.

After an opening flourish from Hoddle, who at 35 retains his silken touch despite having the pace of a game fun-runner, Leicester's eagerness and strength held sway.

After 11 minutes, David Oldfield's fair head rose first to a cross from the right. As the ball rebounded off the bar, he readjusted himself with alacrity to touch it back over the line. Within a minute, David Lowe increased the lead with a close-range volley after Richard Smith had flicked on Lee Philpott's corner.

As Leicester pressed home their advantage, it became clear how Swindon's determination to do everything with style undermines them. David Kerslake, Mick Hazard and even the keeper, Nick Hammond, imperilled their side through over-elaboration at the back.

Shortly before the half hour the home side earned further reward for their energies as Shaun Taylor's clearance was intercepted by Walsh, who returned the ball into the heart of the Swindon defence for Julian Joachim to drive home.

Swindon responded briskly after the break. First Martin Ling's cross-shot glanced off the bar. Then, after 53 minutes, Hazard pulled a goal back with an impudent drive from Nick Summerbee's right-wing cross. But Leicester's eagerness proved irresistible. After 67 minutes, Lowe forced home a fourth goal moments after Kerslake had headed a drive from Philpott off the line.

Swindon's prospects were further depleted in the 73rd minute when Colin Calderwood was sent off for a foul on Lowe, his second bookable offence. Ironically, the visitors soon produced a second goal as Paul Bodin's cross eight minutes from time was headed on by Craig Maskell and turned over his own line by Walsh. Scoring is not the problem for Swindon.

Leicester City: Poole; Mills, Whitlow, Smith (Ormondroyd, 75), Walsh, Hill, Oldfield, Thompson, Joachim, Lowe, Philpott. Substitute not used: Grayson.

Swindon Town: Hammond; Kerslake, Horlock, Hoddle, Calderwood, Taylor, Hazard (Bodin, 80), Moncur (White, 38), Maskell, Ling, Summerbee.

Referee: B Coddington (Sheffield).