Swindon closed out their EFL Trophy group stage with a 100 percent record on Tuesday night thanks to a 1-0 home win against Newport County.
The Robins came into Tuesday night's tie already assured of a place in the round of 32 after results elsewhere went their way in group N - which allowed Ben Garner to hand debuts to defenders Harrison Minturn and Callum Winchcombe. Jordan Lyden was handed the captaincy as he looked to get another 90 minutes in the tank following injury.
The opening stages saw both teams looking to get on the ball to make a positive start. With the first notable effort coming from the veteran Kevin Ellison on 13 minutes following a corner. The Newport skipper Matt Docan rolled the ball to Ellison on the edge of the box. However, his low effort was blocked well by the Swindon defenders. Three minutes later Swindon thought they had a penalty when a superb Harry McKirdy through ball found Jordan Lyden through one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Lyden went down, claiming a foul from the keeper, and the referee temporarily agreed and pointed to the spot. However, he quickly overturned his decision to award a free kick to Newport.
With 21 minutes on the clock Alex Gilbert had a curling effort from long range deflected out for a corner which was subsequently cleared. Two minutes later Ellison again had a close range effort blocked excellently by Winchcombe. Just after the half hour mark another curling Gilbert effort went just wide of the goal. In the 40th minute Swindon found themselves in a two against one attack, but McKirdy's cross got stuck under the feet of a Newport defender.
Mitchell Lawson then picked the ball up but his shot crept just wide of the post. Just shy of half time, Lewis Ward was on hand to tip over a header from Timmy Abraham, brother of England International Tammy Abraham. That concluded a first half in which there was little to separate the two teams.
Ten minutes into the second half, Lewis Ward parried a fierce Jermaine Hylton effort past the post. Minutes later Swindon took the lead. Gilbert found Mitchell Lawson in acres of space on the left flank. He then worked his way into the box and had a shot saved by Townsend, who could only find Jordan Lyden who fired home. The skipper leading from the front with a goal. On the 77th minute Mitchell Lawson caused problems again with some clever footwork which saw him fashion a shooting opportunity which was well saved by the keeper. Just after 80 minutes Alex Fisher had a free header saved by Lewis Ward. But Town would close out the win with relative comfort.
A rare progression in this competition for Swindon, then, as well as an increasingly rare home win this season. A very impressive set of debuts from Minturn and Winchcombe who looked right at home in defence, which is a massive compliment to two youngsters making their professional debuts against a canny Newport attack. And an important 90 minutes for some squad players.
So all in all a very good night for Town. Next up is a trip to Newport in the league on the 20th of November after Saturday's home game against Crawley was postponed due to international call ups.