Conor Thomas’ last-gasp strike gave Town an invaluable 1-0 victory and all three points against Millwall at The County Ground earlier this afternoon.
Action was at a premium in a tightly contested first-half and the Robins twice went close with John Goddard and Charlie Colkett testing Jordan Archer, while Lawrence Vigouroux denied Lee Gregory at the other end.
Swindon were much the better side after the break and they reaped their rewards in the dying minutes courtesy of Conor Thomas’ first-ever goal for the club.
Town opted to name an unchanged side for this must-win fixture while James Brophy and Yaser Kasim were handed spots on the bench.
However, the Reds were forced into making a late change with Conor Thomas replacing Ben Gladwin after the latter pulled out during the warm-up. Lloyd Jones took his place amongst the subs.
But that disruption didn’t faze the hosts who enjoyed a bright start to proceedings at a sun kissed SN1.
After a give-and-go with Nicky Ajose on the edge of the area, John Goddard looked to go for goal but his drive was blocked.
Lawrence Vigouroux was then tested as he had to get down low to smother Lee Gregory’s shot after the striker latched onto a long punt downfield from Millwall stopper Jordan Archer.
Both sides were trying to work each other out in the opening exchanges with chances few and far between.
Gregory did attempt an audacious bicycle-kick but he failed to get a clean connection on the strike and the ball reached Aiden O’Brien inside the penalty area, but the offside flag was up.
The game did eventually open up midway through the first-half and it was Town who carved out the first real clear-cut chance of the afternoon with John Goddard being teed up by Jon Obika, with his curling effort tipped around the post by Archer.
Town were enjoying a sustained spell of pressure in their opposition’s half but they were nearly caught out at the other end as Shaun Williams found room for a shot, although his strike from distance flew way over the bar.
Millwall were trying to find success with the long ball and it nearly worked as Archer’s goal-kick found Gregory who did well to get away from his man, but the striker lacked composure and could only skew a shot well wide.
The Reds wanted a penalty after Jon Obika went down inside the area although nothing was given and they had another chance to break the deadlock right on the stroke of half-time, but Colkett’s well-struck effort was batted away by Archer.
Town started on the front-foot after the break and they went close early on with Nathan Thompson sending a fierce half-volley from 25-yards down the throat of Archer.
Obika’s thumping effort took a heavy deflection and the ball looked to be heading towards Ajose for a tap-in, but Archer recovered well to cut out the danger.
Obika then tried his luck again but his strike was deflected into the arms of Archer with the Reds heaping plenty of pressure on their guests in the early stages of the second-half.
Goddard’s whipped delivery just evaded Ajose at the back post before Town opted for a double change with James Brophy and Luke Norris replacing Fankaty Dabo and John Goddard respectively.
Both sides were finding it hard to settle into their groove and the game remained goalless heading into the final ten minutes.
Town won a succession of corners but they failed to make that pressure count with Raphael Rossi-Branco lashing high and wide.
However, the Reds’ dominance finally paid off with the last kick of the game as Ajose’s deflected shot fell perfectly at the feet of Conor Thomas, who showed great composure to stroke home and send the home fans into raptures.
And that proved to be the winner with Town securing what could prove to be a vital three points in their battle for survival.
TEAMS AND STATS:
SCORERS - Conor Thomas (90).
TOWN - Vigouroux; Thompson (C) (Brad Barry 88), Rossi-Branco, Conroy, Dabo (James Brophy 69); Ince, Colkett, Goddard (Luke Norris 69), Thomas; Obika, Ajose.
Subs Not Used - Henry, Jones, Kasim, Starkey.
MILLWALL - Archer; Romeo, Cooper, Webster, Craig; Wallace, Williams, Butcher, O’Brien (Fred Onyedinma 56); Gregory, Morison (Shane Ferguson 70).
Subs Not Used - King, Hutchinson, Cummings, Thompson, Worrall.
Referee - John Busby
TOWN - Nathan Thompson, Dion Conroy.
MILLWALL - Lee Gregory, Callum Butcher.
ATTENDANCE - 7,038