SWINDON TOWN - 3 (Gordon OG '10; Paynter '37 pen; Austin '56)
TRANMERE ROVERS - 0
Swindon strengthened their automatic promotion credentials with a 3-0 over Tranmere Rovers. The Town's dominant display produced an own goal from Tranmere left-back Ben Gordon, before goals from Billy Paynter and Charlie Austin sealed all three points against 10-man Rovers, writes Tom Otrebski
Danny Wilson made one change from the team that beat Leeds at Elland Road on Saturday, Alan Sheehan replaced Lecsinel Jean-Francois at left back. Former Town employees Gareth Edds and Marlon Broomes were in the visitors' starting line-up.
In front of over 9,000 fans, Swindon opened the scoring in the 11th minute. A cross from Alan Sheehan sailed over the head of Charlie Austin and landed at the feet of Ben Gordon. The Rovers left back managed to get himself in an awful muddle as the ball cannoned off his shins and past the sprawling Luke Daniels before nestling in the far corner.
The relegation-threatened visitors managed to test David Lucas only once over the course of 90 minutes. Gareth Edds was allowed time and space to bring the ball to the edge of the area before striking low and hard towards goal, bringing out a smart save from Lucas.
If things were not already bad enough for the visitors, with ten minutes to go to the break, they were reduced to 10 men. As JP McGovern whipped in a corner, the referee's assistant immediately raised his flag and put it across his chest. After a few minutes of discussion with his linesman, referee Mr Langford awarded Swindon a penalty and produced a red card for Tranmere's Terry Gornell for an alleged stamp in an off-the-ball incident.
Billy Paynter strode up purposefully and hammered home the spot-kick, taking his tally for the season to 25.
After the break, Tranmere seemed resigned to their inevitable defeat as Danny Wilson's men enjoyed complete control of the football.
The Town stretched their lead just short of the hour mark when Charlie Austin put away yet another goal in an impressive first season in professional football. McGovern's inch-perfect ball over the top landed at Austin's feet as he ran through on goal. Without having to break his stride, the striker took two touches: one to knock the ball past the on-rushing goalkeeper and a second to roll it into the unguarded net.
Frank Nouble, a second-half substitute, was one of several players to go close in the remaining half-hour. Austin touched a cross onto the frame of the goal and watched as it rolled along the goal-line and somehow stayed out. Moments later Nouble was put through one-on-one but, disappointingly, struck the ball straight at the goalkeeper.
Jonathan Douglas and Gordon Greer also had chances as the home side appeared to toy with their opponents; like a cat when it plays with a ball of string.
The final whistle signalled another three points for the Town, who are starting to make the division sit up and take notice of their exploits. With only six games to go, it's shaping up to be a thrilling finale to the season.
Swindon Town: David Lucas; Stephen Darby, Gordon Greer, Scott Cuthbert, Alan Sheehan; Jon-Paul McGovern, Simon Ferry (Timlin '79), Jonathan Douglas (Capt.), Danny Ward (Marshall '75); Billy Paynter (Nouble '58), Charlie Austin
Substitutes: Phil Smith (GK), Frank Nouble, Craig Easton, Michael Timlin, Kevin Amankwaah, Lecsinel Jean-Francois, Mark Marshall
Tranmere Rovers: Luke Daniels; Ian Goodison, Marlon Broomes, Chris McCready, Ben Gordon; Paul McLaren, John Welsh, Ash Taylor; Ian Thomas-Moore (Capt.), Terry Gornell, Craig Curran
Substitutes: Joe Collister (GK), Bas Savage, Alan Mahon, Chris Shuker, Zoumana Bakayogo, Marvin Sordell, Joss Labadie
Referee: O Langford
Attendance: 9,496 (246 from Tranmere)