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17:07 21st April 2012

Report: Gillingham 3 Town 1

Swindon Town secured promotion back into League One on Saturday afternoon, despite going down to a 3-1 defeat at Gillingham.

Danny Kedwell out the hosts in front with a glancing header before a sublime chip from Chris Whelpdale doubled the scoreline. A low drive from Alan McCormack got Town back onto the game but the game ended in defeat - but also promotion - for the Robins just after a penalty from Whelpdale had made it 3-1.

Town manager Paolo Di Canio made eight changes for the game with Phil Smith and Matt Ritchie both returning to the line-up. The much-changed side saw Jay McEveley and Aden Flint return, Ritchie joined Simon Ferry, Oliver Risser and Lee Holmes in midfield with Alan Connell playing just in front of John Bostock.

The Robins kicked the game off and saw an early effort from Risser dip just underneath Paolo Gazzaniga's crossbar with the 'keeper able to claim.

Tottenham Hotspur loanee Bostock saw his first effort of the afternoon flash just wide from a 25-yard free-kick on 12 minutes. Town were well on top in the opening quarter of an hour with further efforts from Ritchie and Bostock emerging from good spells.

Despite long spells of pressure from the visitors, it was Gillingham who went ahead. A long throw from the right by Charlie Lee was met by Danny Kedwell who steered his header at the near post over Smith into the back of the net with 25 on the clock.

Di Canio made his first change of the game with just 36 minutes on the clock as he withdrew Connell with Ronan Murray coming on into the action - to the displeasure of the Town faithful behind the goal.

The home side came close to doubling the lead with a 25-yard thunderbolt from midfielder Lewis Montrose crashing against the bar just before the break. A header from Chris Whelpdale then flashed narrowly wide with Gillingham mounting yet more pressure.

Having gone in a goal down at the break, Di Canio made no further changes to his side for the start of the second period. The first opening fell for Lee Holmes hit his right-footed effort from the edge of the box skewed wide.

Things went from bad to worse for the Robins with a superb effort from Whelpdale doubling the lead. The midfielder collected the ball 25 yards from goal on the left before executing a delicate chip which went in off the far post.

Di Canio made a change straight after the goal with Risser replaced by Jonathan Smith at the heart of the midfield. A free-kick from Ritchie three minutes before the hour mark brought a smart low save from Gazzaniga with the 1,245 Swindon fans behind the goal urging their side on.

At the other end Whelpdale found space inside the box on the hour but his low shot hit the post and away to safety with Town struggling to contain the hosts.

Lander Gabilondo came off the bench with 18 minutes left on the clock, replacing Holmes out wide on the left with the Robins looking to get back into the game.

Town got themselves back into the game on 81 minutes following a smart move. An exchange of passes between substitute Smith and McCormack saw the Irishman set his sights before unleashing a low drive into the bottom cormer from the edge of the box.

A penalty from Whelpdale inside the five minutes of added time made it 3-1, but the final whistle soon went to signal Town's promotion back into League One at the first attempt.

    Data provided by Press Association