Swindon Town kept up their automatic promotion charge with a 2-1 away win at Hereford United on Saturday afternoon, but they were given a stern test by the League 2 strugglers.
Paul Caddis opened the scoring in the first half after Paul Benson had been hauled down, before the former Charlton striker striker netted a second soon after the break. Rob Purdie's stunning second half strike just after the hour put the pressure on, but the Robins held on.
Town made two changes to the line-up with Daniel Boateng and Lee Cox both making their first starts for the club in place of Joe Devera (injury) and Simon Ferry (illness). It was a Football League debut for young Arsenal loanee Boateng whilst Cox had his second taste of Robins first team action after coming off the bench at home to Crawley Town in midweek.
Hereford, managed by former Swindon youngster Jamie Pitman, included Will Evans in their starting line-up and he took his place in a five-man midfield. The first chance of the game fell to the home side with Joe Colbeck shooting wide from the edge of the six yard box just five minutes into the encounter. Evans came close to opening the scoring on 15 minutes when a free-kick found a path through to the back post with Evan seeing his close range shot blocked by Foderingham with Smith clearing the rebound from Byron Anthony off the line.
After a busy first half hour for match referee Gary Sutton which saw bookings for Paul Caddis, Rob Purdie and Kenny Lunt booked - the man in the middle pointed to the spot on 38 minutes. A poor clearance from home 'keeper Adam Bartlett fell to Paul Benson who was then brought down by Ryan Green as he cut inside to shoot. Caddis stepped up to rifle home his fourth of the campaign from the spot to give Town the lead.
Town continued to press in the remaining minutes of the second half but went into the break a goal up and emerged for the second half unchanged. It was the home side who made the first switch of the afternoon with Lyle Taylor coming on to replace Colbeck 12 minutes into the second period. Evans then went into the book. Town doubled their advantage on the hour when a cross from the right was not held by Bartlett and the ball spilled to Benson two yards from goal who rolled the ball into the empty net.
Just five minutes after the goal the hosts got back into the game with a long range effort from captain Rob Purdie flying into the top corner past Foderingham to make it 2-1. A host of changes then followed with Raffaele De Vita coming on for Rooney following on from Oliver Risser's introduction in place of Smith in the middle of the park. Having got themselves back into the game, the home side pressed late on in the second half with a succession of corners. Debutant Byron Anthony saw his header from one such set-piece crash against the crossbar with Foderingham beaten.
Alan Connell stepped off the bench against his old club for the final eight minutes of the game and his deft header soon after almost sent Benson clear until Green's intervention. Town had to defend four minutes of second half added time but held on for another three points ahead of Tuesday's home encounter with promotion contenders Shrewsbury Town at The County Ground.
F/T: Hereford United 1 Swindon Town 2