By Peter Mitchell

This seven-goal thriller against struggling Crewe typified the rollercoaster ride Swindon have given their fans this season.

There was one change from last Saturday when new striker Marc Richards was given a start in preference to Luke Norris. He thoroughly justified his selection by sweeping in a low cross from Ellis Iandolo to give Town a great start after three minutes, and then proceeded to round off an impressive performance by scoring a late winner.

Midway through the first half the Town defence began to creak under some concerted Crewe pressure, and Ollie Lancashire headed straight to Callum Ainley inside his own penalty area for the visitor’s opener.

After half an hour Crewe took the lead when Ainley scored his second with a glancing header. As at Coventry, Town would have been disappointed with the way they had conceded.

Five minutes before the break manager David Flitcroft incurred the wrath of his own fans when he substituted the lively Kaine Woolery for Luke Norris. Woolery, and some of his team mates, looked less than pleased with the change.

At half time Flitcroft made the obvious change bringing on fit again creative midfielder Timi Elsnick for James Dunne. His other change was to replace wing back Iandolo with veteran Matt Taylor.

This was rough on the youngster as he had done little wrong, having both provided an assist and several good crosses.

Things didn’t start well in the second period when the Town found themselves even further behind after just 51 minutes. Lancashire, not having his best game, was beaten for pace by Jordan Bowery and with keeper Reice Charles-Cook stranded on the ground after bravely parrying a shot, Ryan Wintle put the ball away from a tight angle.

Flitcroft was placing a lot of responsibility and expectation on the young Slovenian Elsnick’s shoulders, but he came up trumps with a super display of finishing. Despite having been out for over two months he looked as if he’d never been away.

Just after the hour he scored with a sublime finish from the edge of the area and his influence and a more direct approach was beginning to give Swindon hope. Ten minutes from the end Elsnick converted a cross from Anderson and the Town were level.

The winner should have come two minutes later when Norris, who seems to be going though a worrying slump in form, missed a wonderful chance when he shot straight at the goalkeeper when in a one on one situation.

Matt Taylor was also making a sizeable difference and it was from his low cross with a minute left that Richards finished well to grab the Town’s victory.

In the last few seconds of an injury impacted 101-minute match, a by now nine-man depleted Crewe almost grabbed an equaliser, but Charles-Cook dived to save well.

Credit Flitcroft with the fact that his substitutions eventually paid off and Town deserved the points with such a thoroughly spirited fight back. The manager’s selections for Tuesday’s visit to Stevenage will be interesting.

With four away games in their next five outings, against some useful promotion challengers, we should have a realistic idea of Town’s chances by this time next month. Despite their ups and downs they remain only 3 points away from the third automatic spot.

Marc Richards looks a very good acquisition, being mobile and quick for his age. I still think Town badly need a further central defender, even just as back up, but it seems doubtful that will happen before the transfer window closes next week.

It now looks a racing certainty that Lawrence Vigouroux will be leaving the County Ground soon, after Swindon signed 23 year-old keeper Stuart Moore from Barrow on a free until the end of the season.