Swindon Town got back to winning ways in their first game under Gavin Gunning with a comfortable 2-0 victory against Bradford City.

Charlie Austin gave Sam Walker no chance with a thunderous penalty inside 20 minutes before Dawson Devoy swept home the second in first-half stoppage time to seal the three points.

So, how did the players get on in Swindon’s first win of 2024?

GK: Jack Bycroft – 6

Bradford were largely very blunt in attack and that left Bycroft with relatively little to do. However, on the two big occasions when he was needed, he did well to save from Andy Cook and Jake Young. His distribution was again very good, choosing when to go long and when to play short at the right times.

Swindon Advertiser: Bycroft plays the ball longBycroft plays the ball long (Image: Andy Crook)

RB: Udoka Godwin-Malife – 6

A slight shift in position for Godwin-Malife and he was again very strong. His technical skill meant he always kept the ball moving as Gunning wanted him to and his trademark drives forward were present as well.

CB: Conor McCarthy – 7

McCarthy is everything Swindon were missing. Inside five minutes he had beaten Cook in a physical duel twice and set Town away on an attack. This was a marker for what was to come as he marshalled his defence well all afternoon. He tended to try and go long but he did so with accuracy and helped to try and release Paul Glatzel.

CB: Frazer Blake-Tracy – 7

In my head, this centre-back partnership sounded good and it proved to be so. All of a sudden there are two leaders at the back and Blake-Tracy has the composure to work the ball forward which complimented McCarthy well.

LB: Williams Kokolo – 5

On an afternoon of strong performances, Kokolo’s was good but probably a slight level below those around him. He got forward well and at times combined well with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, but much like at Crewe Alexandra his final ball was missing. Also, the two big Bradford chances that I recall originated on his side.

Swindon Advertiser: Devoy on the ballDevoy on the ball (Image: Andy Crook)

CM: Dawson Devoy – 7

There were some doubts about Devoy following the Crewe game but he answered them very nicely in his home debut. His ability to pass and move is what Gunning is looking for and he was instrumental in moving Town up the field. He hasn’t been known to be a goal scorer in England so far, but he got into the right position at the right time today.

CM: Saidou Khan – 7

There were a few moments when Khan was loose in possession in the periods in both halves when Swindon looked jaded. But other than that he was terrific, looking like the enforcer he can be at his best and moving the ball quickly forward.

CM: Jake Cain – 6

Much like Devoy, Cain is a player that likes to keep things simple and then move and he did that well here. He was a little less impactful than Devoy and looked like he tired quite quickly but he is still working his way back from injury and this was a strong outing.

Swindon Advertiser: Hepburn-Murphy chasing after the ballHepburn-Murphy chasing after the ball (Image: Andy Crook)

RW: Paul Glatzel – 8

When not involved in the game much at Crewe, Glatzel showed signs of having great movement. This time players were spotting his runs and helping him to link play to feet. His movement to win the penalty was sensational and to set up the second was even better. If he can stay fit, then the early signs from this signing are very promising indeed.

ST: Charlie Austin – 7

What helped Austin today was that there were always bodies around him. When he won a header, someone was there for the knockdown. When the ball was at his feet, someone was making a run and that helped him rediscover the link-up play that was such a key component early in the season. Three goals in three since Dan Kemp and Young left shows he is stepping up there as well.

LW: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy – 5

As always, Hepburn-Murphy was a big factor and an elderly Bradford defence could not live with him at times. But much like everyone else, the final ball was lacking from him consistently. I think if he can get a rhythm then this front three could really have something.


Pharrell Johnson – 6

A promising debut from the 19-year-old who did what was needed from him. Being able to come in and add another defensive option is very useful and he did this well. His positioning was always good and that helped Swindon to see out a desperately needed clean sheet.

Swindon Advertiser: Johnson gets up to win a headerJohnson gets up to win a header (Image: Andy Crook)

Anton Dworzak – 5

Bringing on the youngster ahead of more experienced options when Swindon had a lead to protect was bold from Gunning, but Dworzak repaid the trust. He got stuck in and got around the pitch to assist with the defensive effort.

Tyrese Shade – 5

I am not quite certain what happened to Shade when he came on but he kept doing something good and then falling over after coming on. But he did what was needed to relieve pressure and showed he can be a strong bench option.

George McEachran – N/A

Ricky Aguiar – N/A