THE finale of this first round match turned out to be classic FA Cup excitement and disappointment in equal doses, writes Peter Mitchell.

The heavy rain had relented, the pitch was in excellent condition, and there was no sign of ducks anywhere.

Swindon were without the influential Anthony Grant in midfield and also hot-shot striker Eoin Doyle up front. Both men had been barred from playing by their parent clubs and were replaced by Danny Rose and Kaiyne Woolery. Swindon were starting life without both their key playmakers, Keshi Anderson and Lloyd Isgrove, who have each been ruled out for about six weeks with injuries.

The first-half was interesting with neither side going really close and both teams about even. I was feeling frustrated that Swindon again appeared somewhat obsessed with their “play it from the back at all costs” policy. However, they weathered a bit of early Cheltenham pressure and looked organised and in good shape. Both Jerry Yates and Woolery had good one-on-one solo chances but did poorly.

The second-half was very different. Swindon pressed hard and pinned the home side in their own half for long periods. They were also mixing it up more, with some long penetrating balls on occasions.

Just after the hour-mark Cheltenham made a double substitution, with Alex Addai taking the field. Immediately I had a bad feeling as, although he would never win a ball in the air, I knew he would be both pacey and tricky. A run by him shortly afterwards took the pressure off the home defence for a few minutes and gave warning as to what might come.

Nevertheless, Swindon were playing well, continuing to run the show and always looked easily the most likely to score. Wingman Diallang Jaiyesimi was looking very sharp and had put in a number of good crosses and shots. If he is now injury free, he should be a great asset.

In injury-time, and just as it seemed both names would be in the hat for Monday’s draw, good interplay between Jaiyesimi and Michael Doughty enabled Jerry Yates to strike well from the edge of the area to give Swindon a thoroughly deserved late lead. Immediately from the restart, amid wild celebrations at the Swindon end, the ball was worked to Addai inside the Town box and he made no mistake, to rob the Town of their first ever win at Whaddon Road. My apprehension had been well- founded.

Post-match, in an excellent interview, the articulate home boss, Michael Duff, said his team were punching above their weight at the moment and had been very fortunate against a very good Swindon team.

In the replay on Tuesday 19th, on the bigger County Ground pitch, the Town will need to be very tight on Addai.,