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17:42 9th April 2012

Report: Town 1 Northampton Town 0

Swindon Town took another huge step towards promotion with hard-fought 1-0 win over Northampton Town at The County Ground.

Lee Holmes scored the vital goal that secured a third straight league victory, leaving Town on the brink of an immediate return to League One, writes Tom Otrebski.

Paolo Di Canio made two changes to the starting XI that had won at Morecambe on Good Friday. Ronan Murray was restored to the line-up in place of Alan Connell and Lee Holmes replaced Raffaele De Vita, with both players having to be content with a place on the substitutes bench.

The first half was a fairly uneventful affair despite the home side having most of the ball. After Luke Rooney's run into the area, the attempted clearance was volleyed goalwards by Lee Holmes but was then smartly turned round the post by the goalkeeper.

Later in the half there were chances for Holmes and Paul Benson who both saw their respective efforts easily saved by Neal Kitson. Rather unusually in a game at home, Wes Foderingham was called into action to keep out Northampton at the other end. A long free-kick came all the way through a packed penalty area and looked to be heading in before the Town stopper's quick reactions diverted the ball over the crossbar.

Just before the break, a corner was cleared to the waiting Michael Jacobs who hit an acrobatic volley goalwards from just inside the 18-yard box. Thankfully for Town, Foderingham was equal to the effort and fisted the shot away for a corner.

Just seven minutes into the second half, the home side took the lead. A cross-field ball was arrowed perfectly over to Lee Holmes on the Town right. His in-swinging floated cross from a deep position sailed over the head of Paul Benson before taking one bounce and nestling in the back of the net. The opposition goalkeeper was left rooted to the spot as the on-loan winger notched his first goal in Town colours.

As the second period slowly began to resemble the first in terms of plenty of effort from the home side but with little end product, Town squandered a number of chances to make the game safe.

Benson headed wide from Joe Devera's cross while substitute Alan Connell's fine work to fashion on opening ended with him skewing wide from the edge of the area.

It was perhaps substitute Raffaele De Vita who missed the home side's best chance to double their advantage. Jay McEveley's quick thinking enabled him to find Holmes in acres of space on the Town right. Bringing the ball into the area, the winger's shot was blocked by a defender before dropping kindly for De Vita. From a position on the left-hand angle of the area, the Italian proceeded to hit his effort into the Smart of Swindon Stand when he might have done better.

While the performance may not have been up to the high standards set by the management this season, another crucial three points sees the Town within touching distance of promotion. With this in mind, Paolo Di Canio will be hoping his players carry their recent winning form into Saturday's home fixture against Plymouth Argyle.

    Data provided by Press Association