Crawley - 0
SWINDON registered their first league victory of the season with a commanding 3-0 win against Crawley.
Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller and Raffaele De Vita secured all three points for the Town, who have now gone an entire calendar year unbeaten at The County Ground.
Paolo Di Canio made three changes to the side that had drawn at Hartlepool at the weekend. Aden Flint, Simon Ferry and James Collins all made the starting line-up with Troy Archibald-Henville missing out through injury. Alan Navarro and Paul Benson had to be content with a place on the bench.
Swindon flew out of the blocks in the first half but they had to wait until the 11th minute to fashion their first chance: Joe Devera was picked out at the far post by Raffaele De Vita’s corner but the defender could only direct his header into the ground and over the crossbar.
With 25 minutes on the clock and with the visitors starting to come back into the game, Town took the lead. Matt Ritchie’s cross/shot flew off the winger’s right boot, looped over Paul Jones in the Crawley goal and hit the post before nestling in the back of the net.
Minutes later, James Collins almost replicated the goal from the opposite flank but his cross was eventually well wide of the mark.
With the Town in control, the visitors wasted a half-chance to get back on level terms. Alan McCormack mis-timed a defensive header allowing the waiting Crawley player a run in on goal. Wes Foderingham had to be alert to keep out the goal-bound effort.
Right on half-time, Tommy Miller put Town 2-0 up. A corner from the right was recycled and a cross floated towards Devera at the far post. The defender nodded the ball back into the centre towards the onrushing Miller. As he geared up to strike, Miller seemed to put all the frustration of Saturday’s penalty miss into the shot, slamming the ball low and hard into the net.
The opening to the second half was altogether a more pedestrian affair. Despite the visitors looking the more likely to create something, Swindon sealed the win with a well-taken third. A cross from the right came all the way across to De Vita, who took a touch before lashing home from the left-hand angle of the 6 yard box.
Swindon were now firmly in the driving seat. Nicky Adams blazed over for Crawley but it was the home side who had the better of the second half chances. Williams’ driving run from midfield ended with his shot being turned behind. With a little under 15 minutes to play, Aden Flint had the ball in the back of the net but wheeled away to see the linesman’s flag signaling that he was offside.
After the disappointment of Saturday’s goal-less draw at Hartlepool, Town returned to winning ways in style and will look to carry their winning momentum into the weekend fixtures against MK Dons.
Swindon: Wes Foderingham; Joe Devera, Alan McCormack (Capt), Aden Flint, Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller (Rooney '87), Simon Ferry, Raffaele De Vita (Navarro '77); James Collins, Andy Williams (Benson '87)
Substitutes: Leigh Bedwell (GK), Oliver Risser, Alessandro Cibocchi, Alan Navarro, Paul Benson, Miles Storey, Luke Rooney
Crawley: Paul Jones; Mat Saddler, Mark Connolly, Kyle McFadzean, Hope Akpan, Billy Clarke, Gary Alexander, Josh Simpson, Dannie Bulman, Nicky Adams, Claude Davis
Substitutes: Michel Kuipers (GK), Sergio Torres, Jonathan Forte, David Hunt, Nicky Ajose, Shaun Cooper, Scott Neilson
Attendance: 7,658 (154 from Crawley)