Swindon Town 2 Walsall 1

In truly awful conditions Swindon gained three valuable points against Walsall, winning by the odd goal in three, writes Peter Mitchell.

Fortunately, other results also went their way and the win saw Town move into the all-important third automatic promotion spot.

Another bright early start put Swindon in front with five minutes when a great through ball from Jerry Yates, helped on by Keshi Anderson enabled Eoin Doyle to scoop the ball home.

Swindon were somewhat fortunate to double their lead with a scrappy goal soon after the break. Diallang Jaiyesemi should have finished better but in the end his shot was deflected slowly over the line, and he was awarded the credit. What a valuable goal it proved to be though, as the conditions worsened and Walsall took more advantage of the wind at their backs. Just short of the hour mark the Town defence seemed to be lost as to how to handle a Saddlers’ free kick. Keeper Steven Benda tentatively came out, made a half-hearted punch at the cross, and Rory Gaffney headed over and in.

Keeping the ball down Swindon were still coming forward, but their defence was under constant pressure. In injury time Benda seemed to redeem himself by somehow diverting a certain equaliser over his cross bar. Town had dug in well and their resilience was rewarded.

Considering the driving wind and rain there were very few slip ups by either side, and both teams deserve huge credit for putting on an entertaining hard-fought match. Only the match officials – once again – fell below expectations, for a number of poor and inconsistent decisions. I thought it rather harsh to give two of the ducks offside late in the game!

Post-match manager Ritchie Wellens praised both players and supporters alike for excellent performances.

Next Saturday, Town embark on this season’s FA Cup trail, hoping for a first decent run for many seasons. The initial hurdle however will be a tricky one to say the least, when they visit high-flyers Cheltenham Town. Many of us still wake up at night with flashbacks of that tie when the other Robins thrashed us 5-0, five years ago almost to the day – one of the very worst Swindon performances I can remember! Hopefully our rivals’ focus is on the league at the moment.