By Peter Mitchell

There were several reasons to be cheerful about Swindon’s 1-0 win over high-flying Notts County on Saturday.

Firstly, this was Town’s first home victory since October. Secondly it was a much-improved playing performance and manager David Flitcroft had obviously done a good job in boosting his players’ morale and confidence after the disaster against Luton. Swindon should also be encouraged that, entering the second half of the season, they are more than capable of competing against most of the sides above them in this division – County were definitely nothing special and yet this was their first defeat for a couple of months.

At long last Town decided to play with three central defenders, and also replaced the two wing backs for a more youthful look. This meant that Ben Purkiss, Matt Taylor and Paul Mullin lost their places to Kyle Knoyle, Ellis Iandolo and central defender Chris Robertson. The other change was between the sticks where Reice Charles-Cook was recalled in favour of Lawrence Vigouroux.

The strong and difficult wind meant the game was never going to be a classic and neither side created many clear openings in the first half. The Town defence was hardly bothered by a County attack that made little use of the wind advantage.

The second period was mostly end to end stuff and Town got off to an ideal start when, after just two minutes, Luke Norris shot home from a Keshi Anderson pass.

Both Anderson and Kaiyne Woolery also had good chances and Ellis Iandolo had a great free kick well saved.

County did finally mount a degree of pressure for the final twenty minutes when the Town, despite having the wind behind them, sat back a little too much for comfort. However, the home defence stood up to the task well and looked a good deal stronger and more in control than in recent home games.

In the dying seconds of injury time Charles-Cook, who had had very little to do, fully justified his recall when he brilliantly flipped a Shaun Brisley header over the Town End bar to preserve all three points for the Town.

Not being a fan of Sam Allardyce I was slightly concerned by the manager’s post-match comment that last week he had “sought help from some of his (Allardyce’s) people”. I can’t believe things are that bad!

Finishing on a sad note, Willie Penman, a wonderfully skilled midfielder for Swindon between 1966 and 1970 recently passed away at the age of 78. He racked up over 100 appearances, scoring 22 goals, and was a key player when Swindon won both promotion and the Football League Cup in 1968/69. He leaves behind some great memories of happier times.