Swindon were excellent on the Wirral as they beat play-off chasers Tranmere 2-1 at a freezing cold Prenton Park.
Marc Richards opened the scoring from the inside the six-yard box off an Ali Koiki cross before Michael Doughty got a second ten minutes before half-time.
League Two’s top goalscorer, James Norwood pulled one back for the hosts but Town fought Tranmere off and managed to avoid a real storm towards the end.
Tom Broadbent was a rock at the back on his debut, with Danny Rose coming off the bench and shoring up the midfield. Also, on his debut, Ali Koiki teed up an excellent opening goal.
Town’s first half performance was straight out of the textbook – they pressed well, were resolute when needed and, most important of all, clinical.
Just two minutes in and Woolery had attempted a snapshot volley from the edge of the box but that flew over and within the first ten minutes, Doughty had found Richards in the box only for his first-time finish to be stopped by Scott Davies in the Tranmere goal.
Town had their deserved lead on 19 minutes – good football all round saw the ball find its way to the left. Ali Koiki played a neat one-two with Kaiyne Woolery and, as he got to the byline, he drilled in a striker’s dream cross. Richards got across Steve McNulty and side-footed in.
And Town were the better of the two as they continued the second half – a quick break involving Doughty and James Dunne set up Koiki for another run down the left. He cross early this time with Keshi Anderson busting a gut to get in at the back stick. Unfortunately, his outstretched leg wasn’t long enough to make contact.
It was hard work and endeavour that earnt Swindon their second – Anderson and Doughty pressed the ball with Keshi getting a toe on Luke McCullough’s pass and sending his team-mate away. The midfielder’s effort on goal was heavily deflected up and over Davies and in to give Town a two-goal cushion going into the break.
Swindon started the second half with a great chance – Woolery showed McNulty a clean pair of heels to get into the 18-yard box but as he struck, Adam Buxton slid across with an excellent block to thwart him.
However, this would not be the smooth second half Town hoped for – James Norwood tidily placed the ball past Lawrence Vigouroux. Tranmere’s first real half chance had resulted in a goal and Town’s lead had been halved.
The visitors showed their nous however and slowed the game down and, in truth, had the better of the chances after Rovers’ goal.
Woolery almost forced an own goal out of McNulty who spooned the ball up in the air only for Davies to claim.
Other than long balls into the box, Tranmere did not threaten the goal of Vigouroux mainly thanks to the new centre-half pairing of Luke Woolfenden and Tom Broadbent.