Swindon Town produced a superb battling display to record a 1-0 victory over Salford City at The Peninsula Stadium this afternoon.
Both teams had chances in what was an action-packed first-half, with Tyreece Simpson and Ellis Iandolo having sniffs of goal for the Reds.
It was the Jojo Wollacott show, however, as the Town goalkeeper made a string of fine saves to keep Salford at bay and ensure the game was level heading in at the break.
And, after weathering the storm in the first-half, Swindon delivered the perfect response in the second as Jack Payne scored his second goal of the season thanks to a beautiful finish, and that proved to be the winner with Town producing an excellent and gutsy display away from home at a tough place to go and play.
Town Head Coach Ben Garner made three changes as Rob Hunt, Harry Parsons and Harry McKirdy all dropped to the bench, with Ellis Iandolo and Ben Gladwin both handed starts after coming off the bench during the midweek draw with Tranmere Rovers at SN1.
Kaine Kesler-Hayden also came back into the team after serving a one-game suspension in the week, while the Reds named a strong bench with the likes of McKirdy, Ryan East, Ricky Aguiar and Welsh International Jonny Williams all offering strong attacking options for later in the game.
It was all Swindon in the opening exchanges as the visitors moved the ball around nicely, probing the Salford back-line and threatening every time they came forward.
The ball fell to Ben Gladwin from a throw-in and the midfielder's attempted half-volley was blocked, before he was found inside the box thanks to a Ellis Iandolo cross but was unable to bring the ball under control before the danger was cleared.
Another promising foray forward resulted in the ball being played to Anthony Grant who decided to let fly from distance, but his drive went over the bar.
It took just under 10 minutes for Salford to record their first shot of the game as Ian Henderson blasted over, before Ellis Iandolo scooped a volley over from a corner in what was a golden chance.
Salford began to apply the pressure themselves after that last opportunity as they strung together a couple of dangerous attacks, but they couldn't make the most of them and the trouble passed.
The home side continued to press as Henderson nodded wide before he was denied by Wollacott who was quick off his line to snuff out the incoming danger, while Tyreik Wright went down inside the area but his appeals for a penalty were turned away by Referee Tom Reeves.
Wollacott got down low to smother a low shot from Conor McAleny, while Tyreece Simpson was unlucky not to open the scoring at the other end after being found with a long ball over the top, but the striker's attempted lob over the head of Salford goalkeeper Tom King drifted wide.
It was a really good effort, though, given how hard a chance it was and the striker had another opportunity moments later as Gladwin broke downfield by playing in Payne down the flank, who fired a quick ball across goal but Simpson couldn't bring it under control and the danger passed.
There was nearly a goal at the other end as Henderson was found in space before unleashing a shot on goal, but his effort was stopped thanks to a sublime save by Wollacott, who also did well to deny Matthew Lund.
And the Town goalkeeper came up big yet again on the stroke of half-time, this time getting down low to get his body in the way of McAleny's shot to frustrate the home side further.
HALF-TIME: SALFORD CITY 0-0 SWINDON TOWN
It was the perfect start to the second-half for Town who took the lead with 49 minutes played after a beautiful move.
Gladwin won the ball back in midfield and proceeded to slip in Simpson, who drew in his defender before passing the ball to Payne who did the rest by beautifully hammering the ball home into the far corner to give the Reds the lead.
The tempo went out of the game somewhat after that goal, but Town were doing a great job of managing the game and protecting their slender lead.
Salford did have the ball in the back of the net thanks to Henderson, but the offside flag was up, while Dion Conroy made a sublime play to slide in and poke the ball out for a corner with a Salford forward awaiting the tap-in.
Jonny Williams then came on to replace Gladwin in order to give Town some fresh legs in the final 15 minutes, before Akin Odimayo got his body in the way of a shot from inside the area to protect his team's lead with time rapidly running out.
In their final change of the game, Town brought on Ryan East to replace Louis Reed and, after both Managers were booked following an altercation on the sideline, the Reds defended brilliantly as a team to hold on and take home both the win and the three points.
FINAL SCORE: SALFORD CITY 0-1 SWINDON TOWN
TEAMS AND STATS
SALFORD CITY - King; Touray, Lowe, Eastham (C), Ndaba, Wright (Brandon Thomas-Asante 68), Lund, Morris, McAleny, Shephard (Luke Burgess 84), Henderson (Tom Elliott 84).
SUBS NOT USED - Jeacock (GK), Golden, Berkoe, N'Mai.
BOOKED - Gary Bowyer (Manager).
SWINDON TOWN - Wollacott; Odimayo, Iandolo (Rob Hunt 79), Conroy (C), Crichlow, Gladwin (Jonny Williams 73), Simpson, Payne, Kesler-Hayden, Reed (Ryan East 82), Grant.
SUBS NOT USED - Ward (GK), McKirdy, Aguiar, Parsons.
SCORERS - Jack Payne (49).
BOOKED - Ellis Iandolo, Anthony Grant, Louis Reed, Ben Garner (Head Coach), Jonny Williams.
Referee - Tom Reeves
Attendance - 2,229 (761 Away Fans).