Swindon Town recorded a club record ninth straight league victory with a comfortable 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley at The County Ground. Two first-half strikes from Paul Benson were enough for the Town to write themselves into the history books and cement their position at the top of League Two, writes Tom Otrebski.
Paolo Di Canio made five changes to the starting eleven that defeated Shrewsbury Town in midweek. Joe Devera, Callum Kennedy, Simon Ferry, Oliver Risser and Alan Connell all came into the side with Lee Cox, Alessandro Cibocchi and Billy Bodin all dropping to the bench. There was no room in the sixteen for either Daniel Boateng or Jonathan Smith.
Town dominated the first half and were almost ahead with barely a minute on the clock when Connell saw his effort hacked off the line. Di Canio's men didn't have to wait long to break the deadlock though. Luke Rooney's floated cross from the right found Benson amongst a host of red shirts queuing up at the far post, and the Town number nine obliged by heading Swindon in front.
The home side, although on the front foot, couldn't turn their dominance into further goals and Accrington were almost back in the game midway through proceedings. Wes Foderingham had to tip a dangerous free kick over the bar before reacting well to keep out another effort while his defence were claiming for an offside. Town continued to press and Matt Ritchie was unlucky to see his dipping, 25-yard volley strike the angle of bar and post with the goalkeeper beaten. Minutes later Kennedy's effort came back off the crossbar and, while Accrington failed to properly clear their lines, the ball somehow dropped nicely for Benson on the edge of the area who lashed home Town's second of the afternoon and his 99th career goal.
The second half was altogether a much more pedestrian affair although Benson did have two half-chances to notch a hat-trick. Ten minutes into the second period, substitute Ronan Murray beat the Accrington goalkeeper to the ball on the edge of the area and laid the ball off for Benson but he could only fire his effort over the crossbar and into the Town End. With time running out, a cross from the left found the striker but he elected to find a fellow teammate when he perhaps should have gone for goal himself.
With Foderingham making the most of the sunshine at the other end, Murray could have added another goal with fifteen minutes to play but struck his shot straight at the goalkeeper. Then, in injury time another of Town's second-half substitutes Raffaele De Vita was put through by Ritchie but saw his shot well saved before Ritchie's effort from the rebound was beaten away for a corner.
So a little bit of history for Swindon and their supporters to savour; the first time a Swindon Town team has won nine league games in a row since the days of the Southern League in the 1920s.
For the more superstitious Swindon supporters, it might be considered a good omen that the last Town team to equal the record were Lou Macari's Fourth Division championship winners of 1985/86. The current crop of players have the chance to extend that record when Burton Albion are in Town on Tuesday evening.