Swindon Link STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett reports on Swindon v Mansfield.
Swindon secured their first home win of the season on Saturday afternoon, by a 1-0 scoreline, after edging a close encounter against Mansfield.
The Robins came into Saturday's tie sitting 4th in the league table up against a Mansfield side who led by Nigel Clough are much fancied for promotion. Both teams struggled to get going in the opening exchanges with Mansfield looking the more threatening outfit following a flurry of crosses and free kicks into the Town box. It took until the midway point of the first half for Swindon to begin asserting their dominance on the game, with Jack Payne and Louis Reed pulling the strings in midfield. On the 34th minute Reed displayed his defensive ability after producing a brilliant close range block from a goal bound Ollie Clark effort. That concluded a solid first half for both sides.
Unlike the first half the second half took no time getting started with Anthony Grant finding himself on the right wing. The veteran produced an excellent ball to the back stick where an out stretched Rob Hunt could only find the diving Mansfield keeper from close range. Minutes later Mansfield had their best opportunity of the contest following a long bouncing ball down the touchline. Ollie Hawkins outstrengthed Dion Conroy and poked the ball past Crichlow to find himself 1 on 1 with Jojo Wollacott who in fairness quickly came off his line and narrowed the angle. But Hawkins fluffed his chance producing an awful square pass to the on rushing Danny Johnson who saw his effort blocked by Odimayo.
Just before the hour mark the introduction of Jonny Williams proved pivotal as the Welsh midfielder turned provider in a lovely team move. A perfect cross from Williams found it's way to Tyreece Simpson who tucked in from very close range for his first goal in professional football. On the 75th minute from where I was sitting it looked like Mansfield had equalised. A curling free kick from out wide dipped into the far post where it looked as if the ball went over only for Crichlow to clear it. Fortunately from Towns point of view the officials judged the ball not to be over the line and it was still 1-0 to Swindon. From that point on Swindon handled the few Mansfield attacks relatively comfortably and despite 7 minutes of injury time Town actually went closer to scoring another. Had it not been for the post Louis Reed would've had his first goal in Swindon colours after a brilliant free kick. It wasn't to be but the 3 points for Swindon was, with Town closing out a second consecutive 1-0 victory.
For me it was another piece of individual brilliance putting Swindon on the right side of the scoreline after a close game. This time from Jonny Williams. That cross was pin point and you would struggle to find a better assist in league 2 from last weekend. The Welsh international could be the best player in the league when fully fit and definitely too good for this level. As for Swindon it was another victory and another clean sheet. The fact that they find themselves with 10 points at the end of August is a remarkable achievement in any season. Let alone a season where they have had so much disruption off the pitch. You just feel as if the more they play the better they'll get. They're certainly informed!