TOWN FLIER: Smith-Ranger partnership is a blast from the past

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Nile Ranger scores Swindon's opener against Port Vale Nile Ranger scores Swindon's opener against Port Vale

SHEARER and Sutton, Yorke and Cole, Bergkamp and Henry, Dalglish and Rush, they all represent a glorious bygone era when strike partnerships were the bread and butter of English football, writes Andrew Steele-Davis.

However, this season has seen the resurgence of the old fashioned centre forward pairing, its rebirth being headlined by Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge.

The County Ground has also borne witness to the return of such a pairing in recent weeks with Michael Smith and Nile Ranger displaying a tantalising glimpse of what could be a hugely fruitful combination.

Smith has notched three goals in five appearances for Town, looking most impressive in his short time at SN1 so far. Could Smith be the latest in a long line of prolific Town hit men?

Smith and Ranger’s blossoming partnership played a major part in Swindon’s important and impressive 3-2 win at Port Vale on Saturday, a victory that proved this young Town side do have an underbelly after all.

Town found themselves two goals down at half-time despite looking the better team. With that familiar sense of disappointment and frustration settling in, something we have become accustomed to when following Town away from home this season, Mark Cooper’s side dug in and carved out a result that could have huge implications in the race for a play-off place.

Town’s display at Vale displayed guts and determination, two qualities that have perhaps been missing from previous away outings this season.

Swindon were at their rampant best again. Ranger headed home to round off a sublime team move early in the second half. Smith than lashed a rasping drive against the post before goals from Pritchard and Byrne completed the comeback.

New loanee from Norwich, Jacob Murphy, also showed some nice touches when coming off the bench.

Swindon now head into what is a defining weekend with Colchester the visitors to The County Ground on Friday night, when three points would edge Town ever closer to those coveted play-off places.

Monday night sees Peterborough travel to Wiltshire for a game that could make or break dreams.

The first leg of the JPT Area Final last week ended in a 2-2 draw so there is everything to play for in the second leg.

Town have reached Wembley twice in the last five years; could history be about to repeat itself?

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