Town Flier with Peter Mitchell

Swindon Town 0 Sunderland 2

In normal times this fixture would have seen at least 12,000 in the County Ground and a great atmosphere to accompany it.

Unfortunately this wasn’t to be, although I did spy a couple of away supporters accompanying a Black Cats flag on Stratton Bank.

Swindon fielded a fairly defensive line up in deference to the visitors’ reputation and soon found themselves under the cosh.

However, they coped well and neither side managed to create too many opportunities throughout the entire game.

Once again, a turned down penalty appeal, proved crucial to the Town, for the second time in as many weeks.

Sunderland look a strong team in all departments but a two-goal win was slightly flattering.

Swindon gifted them their opener ten minutes before the break, when Charlie Wyke found himself with four red shirts around him, but none within five yards. Their second came when the Town defence was stretched after pushing forward, and Jonathan Grounds brought down Chris Maguire in the area.

Swindon's second half performance was much improved when they moved more onto the offensive, after bringing on Jonny Smith and Jordan Stevens.

Replacing Diallang Jaiyesimi was a surprise though, as he looked the best attacker in the first period.

Jack Payne appeared to be brought down blatantly in the area but there was no joy from the referee.

Hallam Hope should have pulled one back during injury time, after a great through ball from Matt Smith, but in all likelihood it would have proved academic.

Akinwale Odimayo and Payne had good performances, along with sub Jonny Smith in the second half.

Town have now suffered three consecutive league defeats, and face two away games next, starting at Northampton on Tuesday.

With Brett Pitman out injured Town will need to rely on their talented wide men and industrious midfielders finding the net.

News that one of the best pure footballers that I've seen over the past 20 years is now playing for AC United, in the Barnet Sunday League, came as a bit of a shock - but at least he's still playing the game he is so good at.

Nile Ranger had a troubled professional career and played for several clubs, apart from Swindon, including over 50 premier appearances for Newcastle.

He is still only 29.