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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
18:09 14th April 2012

Report: Connell strikes to secure victor

Swindon edged another step closer to the League Two title with a 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle at The County Ground. Substitute Alan Connell's strike five minutes from time secured the win. Victory leave Town with the chance to clinch an immediate return to League One at Aldershot on Tuesday night, writes Tom Otrebski.


Paolo Di Canio made two changes to the side that had won on Easter Monday. Raffaele De Vita replaced Luke Rooney on the left hand side of midfield and, despite being named among the starting eleven; Alan McCormack was withdrawn from the squad after hearing that his partner had gone into labour. In his place, Paul Caddis was given his first start since going off injured against Dagenham and Redbridge. Originally named as one of the Town substitutes, the Scotsman's replacement on the bench was Lander Gabilondo.


On a bright and sunny spring afternoon, the home side took charge of proceedings in the first half, enjoying the majority of possession. With just five minutes on the clock, Caddis was already involved in the action when his cross to the back post was headed onto the crossbar by the arriving De Vita. Aden Flint couldn't direct a header goalwards before Simon Ferry managed to wriggle free on the edge of the area. Bringing the ball in on goal, the midfielder's shot was straight at the goalkeeper.


Benson couldn't make enough contact to prod the ball home from an angle, while a free kick was fired into a crowded box but was missed by everyone in red waiting in the area.


The second half brought much of the same and, as time ticked away, the pattern of play began to resemble the goalless draw with Bristol Rovers; Town just seeming to lack a cutting edge in the final third. Plymouth's Onismor Bhasera watched as his drive beat the dive of Wes Foderingham but flew harmlessly wide of goal.


Although Swindon enjoyed a lot of possession the visitors stuck to their task well and frustrated the home side reducing them to pot-shots or forcing them to surrender possession by effectively breaking up attacks in midfield.


Lee Holmes had two similar efforts where he drifted infield off the right wing but skewed his left-footed efforts high and wide. Rooney also saw his goal-bound shot scrambled away by a host of white shirted defenders.


With just five minutes left to play, Swindon made the crucial breakthrough. Rooney's marvellous work to rescue a lost cause on the whitewash forced the ball back into the left-hand channel of the box. Connell was quickest onto the loose ball and, having turned smartly to create a shooting opportunity, hit an effort towards the far corner. Jake Cole in the Plymouth goal could only claw at thin air before watching the ball nestle in the far corner of the net, sparking wild celebrations on the touchline among Town's players and management.


With time running out, Plymouth's remaining attacks seemed to sum up their frustrating day; shots wide, players slipping at the crucial moment and efforts directed straight at Foderingham.


Town now travel to Hampshire on Tuesday evening knowing that a single point will ensure that they bounce back to English football's third tier at the first time of asking.

    Data provided by Press Association