Swindon Town 3 v Crewe Alexandra 1

Life without Eoin Doyle began on a high on Saturday, when Swindon beat third place Crewe in a game that was a lot closer than the 3-1 score line might suggest, writes Peter Mitchell.

Although Swindon had another makeshift central defence, there was a very potent look to the attack and you felt goals were always possible.

We were treated to another appalling refereeing display, but at least Mr. Handley was consistent – he didn’t give Swindon anything all afternoon. The only luck Town had was when Crewe conceded, to my mind anyway, an own goal after half an hour. After harrying the Crewe defence, the ball came to Rob Hunt about thirty yards out. His pot shot struck a Crewe defender’s head before racing into the net past the stranded keeper.

Honours were about even at half time but then Swindon conceded a soft equaliser on the hour. They failed to come anywhere near to closing down a left-wing Crewe attack and Chuma Anene tapped in. You felt that the visitors would then come on strong, but they really didn’t, and Swindon stayed on the offensive and minimised the pressure.

Clear chances were few and far between but Swindon made the most of their share in a three-minute spell with 20 minutes to go. A great through ball from Hunt found Jerry Yates, who controlled brilliantly and fired into the top of the net from just inside the box. Then Diallang Jaiyesimi hit a ferocious angled shot that hit the post and then the bar, but Danny Rose was well-placed to blast it home.

All the players seemed to realise that they needed to give that little bit extra and they all worked their socks off. With such vast inexperience on the bench Town made no changes and everyone still seemed full of energy at the end.

There were particularly solid displays from Rose, Kaiyne Woolery and the tireless Yates, but a special mention for Tom Broadbent. This was his first league start of the season and his excellent, performance will hopefully boost his confidence no end.

The only disappointing performance was from Lloyd Isgrove who was totally anonymous and has certainly lost the sparkle that he had a few months ago.

Despite Swindon's serious injury problems things are looking very positive at the moment. They remain top of the tree with a bit of a cushion, and with 19 games left, they only have to play top seven sides three times - all of them at home.

Expect to see some activity in strengthening the squad this coming week as Richie Wellens continues his efforts to make signing a central defender his top priority.

Next Saturday Town travel to Newport, always a difficult place to go to, and where goals are often hard to come by. A 1-1 draw would be a very good result.