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17:38 19th December 2009

Report: Town 2-1 Brighton

 SWINDON TOWN  1 (Paynter '31', Austin '54) BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION  1 (Forster '38) Swindon recorded their first points of the Christmas period with 2-1 win over Brighton at The County Ground. Charlie Austin was once again the matchwinner with a second half header after Billy Paynter's penalty had put the home side ahead and Nicky Forster had levelled. Town made things difficult for themselves in the second half with some less than convincing defending but managed to hold on for all three points, writes Tom Otrebski. Danny Wilson made one change from the side that were beaten at Bristol Rovers last weekend. Alan O'Brian handed a start on the left hand side of midfield, replacing Lecsinel Jean-Francois. Alan Sheehan was pushed back to play in the left back role. Former Town boss Gus Poyet included ex-stopper Petr Brezovan in the Brighton startng line-up In a drab first half, Billy Paynter's effort produced the first moment of real quality when he forced visiting goalkeeper Brezovan into an flying save away to his right. Brezovan must have remembered that Town players always come back to haunt their former club with a string of fine saves in the opening forty-five minutes. It was the home side who eventually broke the deadlock on the half hour. A flighted ball in from the left looked set to drop onto the chest of Billy Paynter. Jim McNulty appeared to push Paynter in the back and the referee Mr Moss, who was a good 30 yards away, had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Paynter dusted himself down and set himself to take the spot-kick. He confidently strode up, sent Brezovan the wrong way and rolled the ball into the corner.  Moments later, a neatly worked free-kick was laid off to Jonathan Douglas on the edge of the area and the midfielder surprised everyone in the ground with a fierce effort that stung the palms of Brezovan. At the other end, Nicky Forster had been on the receiving end of the banter from the Town End all afternoon. His header five minutes from half time restored parity for the visitors in the first instance of Town being guilty of nodding off at the back. A cross was allowed to come in from the Brighton right and Forster was left all on his own to head home at the far post. Swindon looked for an immediate response and almost got it in the shape of Alan Sheehan's free kick. The man on loan from Leeds was unlucky to watch his curled shot crash back off the underside of the cross-bar and keep the scores level at half time. Danny Wilson's men took the lead shortly after half time. Jonathan Douglas' deftness of touch started a fine move that ended with JP McGovern whipping in a perfect cross for Austin to nod in at the far post. An almost carbon copy of Brighton's equaliser. Unfortunately that was the last bit of real quality from the home side as the game deteriorated into a rather scrappy affair. Defensive lapses first from Lecsinel Jean-Francois then Gordon Greer went unpunished only due to some poor finishing or the sharp reflexes of David Lucas. In the final quarter Brighton piled on the pressure. Gus Poyet could have been forgiven for thinking his return to Wiltshire wasn't going to be a happy one as chance after chance came and went. Even a shout for a penalty was turned down late on. Swindon could only fashion one real chance of note after Austin's goal: A quick break ending with Douglas sliding in but only managing to steer the cross the wrong side of the post. The relief was evident at the final whistle. Three points to open the fesitive period is just the tonic Danny Wilson's men needed after such a heavy defeat at Bristol Rovers. They will be hoping to continue this form when they travel to high-flying Charlton Athletic on Boxing Day. Swindon Town: David Lucas; Kevin Amankwaah (Lescinel 24'), Gordon Greer (Capt.), Scott Cuthbert, Alan Sheehan; Alan O'Brien (Timlin 75'), Jonathan Douglas, Simon Ferry, Jon-Paul McGovern; Billy Paynter, Charlie Austin Substitutes: Phil Smith (GK), Michael Timlin, Lecsinel Jean-Francois, Lloyd Macklin, Danny Ward, Mark Marshall, Alex Revell Brighton & Hove Albion: Peter Brezovan; Jim McNulty, Adam El-Abd, James Tunnicliffe, Gary Dicker; Andrew Crofts (Capt.), Alan Navarro, Elliot Bennett, Tommy Elphick; Glenn Murray, Nicky Forster Substitutes: Michel Kuipers (GK), Dean Cox, Liam Dickinson, Gary Hart, Adam Virgo, Craig Davies, Gavin Hoyte 2.20 - Good afternoon and welcome to a very chilly County Ground. The players are out warming up and even though the pitch is half drenched in sunshine it's still freezing for anyone down at pitch level. If you're plannng to come to the game this afternoon remember that Town End tickets are only £14 for adults and if you are on your way, bring plenty of warm clothing because believe me you'll need it! 2.34 - Reverend Paul Rush, guitar in hand, starts his pitchside entertainment. With today being the last Saturday before Christmas, festive songs are the order of the day. 2.46 - The reverend takes a break whilst JP McGovern receives the Arkells' Player of the Month award. One more song then it's down to the serious business of the football. Is it bad that I've been sat here for 45 minutes and I can't feel my hands already.....? 2.55 - Gordon Greer leads out the Red and White dynamite. The ground is filling up nicely. 3.00 - Charlie Austin and JP McGovern get the game underway, Town attacking the empty Adkins Family Stand. 3.08 - 5 minutes in and Brighton have made the more convincing start. The sun's gone in and the temperature has certainly dropped. 3.12 - Town make their first foray into the visitors' half. A few corners but nothing to really trouble the goalkeeper. It's early days yet but you can't help but feel this game is going to need a goal to get going. 3.14 - Paynter has a header on goal which is easily saved. At the other end, the travelling support roars for a penalty as the ball strikes Gordon Greer but nothing doing from the ref. Seconds later Austin lays the ball back to Paynter who forces an acrobatic save out of Petr Brezovan. Cracking stop that. 3.19 - Another save from Brezovan as he does well to keep out Austin's header. 3.22 - Nicky Forster does his best to endear himself to the Town support by doing his best Tom Daley impression to win a free kick. Little spell of pressure but nothing comes of it. Surprise on 24 minutes: Kevin Amankwaah is replaced by Lescinel Jean-Francois. An injury perhaps? Stay tuned we'll bring you news as soon as we can. Meanwhile the left-footed Alan Sheehan will slot in at right back with Lescinel displacing him at left back. 3.29 - PENALTY TO SWINDON! Lescinel's ball in looks for Billy Paynter. The striker appears to get pushed in the back by Jim McNulty. The referee obliges. 3.30 - GOAL! Billy Paynter steps up to send Brezovan the wrong way and put town 1 up. 3.33 - Told you didn't I? A goal and all of a sudden the place seems to have woken up. Jonathan Douglas has a super effort punched away by Brezovan. Where did that one come from? 3.37 - GOAL! It's that man Nicky Forster who levels for Brighton. Another goal coming from a cross from the right and Forster heads in unmarked at the far post. He's been heckled all game by the Town End and unsurprisingly delivers the perfect riposte. 3.40 - Sheehan is fouled on the edge of the area. For all the world it looks like McGovern is going to take the free kick but Sheehan steps up only to watch the ball crash back off the crossbar. It's Sheehan's ball in seconds later that almost falls for Alan O'Brian at the far post but the defender does well to get it away. 3.46 - The fourth official indicates two minutes of added time. Billy Paynter again tests Brezovan with a header but that's all for this half. 1-1 at the break. Half Time: Swindon Town 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion 4.04 - Back underway for the second half. Wish I was running around out there it is incredibly cold high up at the back of the Arkell's Stand! 4.13 - GOAL! Charlie Austin heads Town back in front. Carbon copy of Brighton's equaliser. Jonathan Douglas feeds McGovern on the right. His cross is pinpoint onto the head of Charlie Austin. That's got the crowd going again. 4.15 - The County Ground expects. Alan O'Brian wins a corner and Brighton give away a cheap free kick on the edge of the area. Brezovan gathers easily but its clear that Charlie Austin is the Town End's man of the moment. "Charlie give us a wave" rings out from the home fans. 4.20 - 7,068 is the official attendence today. It's now snowing at the County Ground. 4.27 - Billy Paynter is booked. Tommy Elphick fouls Paynter then goes down holding his face. Six of one, half a dozen of the other from up here. Silly booking though. From the resulting free kick Simon Ferry directs a header just wide of the post. It's getting a bit scrappy now.   4.29 - Gordon Greer falls asleep for a moment. A long ball is taken on the chest by the Town defender with Forster bearing down on him. The Brighton man wins the ball and it takes the reflexes of David Lucas to keep the score as it is. Suicidal defending. From the corner Lucas does well to tip away a goal-bound header. Brighton have got their tails up at the moment and Town need to weather the storm. 4.27 - Alan O'Brian comes off and is replaced by Michael Timlin with 15 minutes to go. Like for like swap with Timlin slotting in on the left hand side. Brighton are starting to pile on the pressure and the visiting supporters can sense it. 4.38 - Town NEED that second goal. Concentration is seriously lapsing at times. Sheehan and then Lecsinel are both guilty of giving the ball away. Luckily for Swindon Liam Dickinson can only fire wide. Town need to calm things down because Brighton are getting closer and closer. If you asked a neutral to say which side were near the bottom of the table and which side were near the top they'd get it wrong both times. Very poor at the moment. 4.46 - ALMOST! After a period of sustained pressure, a good break ends with Jonathan Douglas steering a cross just wide. Need to concentrate for the last few minutes and slow the game down. 4.49 - FOUR minutes of added time signalled. Town have got the ball in the right area of the pitch at the moment. 4.48 - It's finished 2-1 to the Town and it's a scrappy 3 points to start the Christmas period for Danny Wilson's men. FULL-TIME: Swindon Town 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion
    Data provided by Press Association