MARK CRAVES STABLE TIME
SWINDON manager Mark Cooper will be looking to bring stability to the County Ground after the Robins were denied victory by a late equaliser in his first game in permanent charge against Gillingham.
Substitute Cody McDonald struck in the 85th minute to cancel out Nathan Thompson’s 68th minute strike for the Robins after Nathan Byrne and Danny Kedwell found the target in the first half.
However, as Swindon’s third manager in the space of a year following the departures of Paolo Di Canio and Kevin MacDonald, Cooper is looking to stabilise the Robins’ position.
“I think stability is the key, the teams that have had stability are generally the teams that have gone on to have success and a decent future,” said Cooper.
“I enjoyed the game and I’m really frustrated because we’ve not got a deserved three points.
“You are never the finished article and we’ve got loads to work with in terms of the boys that we’ve got and I think they will only get better.
“The supporters were first class again and they’re really sticking with the players and what we are trying to do and some of the play was fantastic.”
Swindon made a promising start as Ryan Harley tested Gills’ custodian Stuart Nelson with a 35yard effort on six minutes, which Nelson gathered at the second attempt.
On 12 minutes, the Robins were in front when right-back Thompson made an overlapping run and delivered a cross that Byrne turned home.
Gillingham equalised in the 18th minute when Kedwell rose highest to head home a long throw in from Chris Whelpdale.
Swindon almost restored their advantage on 22 minutes when skipper Darren Ward connected with a corner only to see his effort palmed away by Nelson.
The second half saw both sides cancel each other out before the game sprang to life again in the 68th minute when Thompson smashed home a cross from Harley.
However, just when the Robins looked set to mark Cooper’s permanent reign with victory, substitute McDonald grabbed a late leveller for visitors and Gills’ boss Martin Allen hailed his impact on the game.
“I told him (McDonald) he would come on and hopefully get the winner,” said Allen.
“When he went through, I thought that there was no doubt he was going to score and it was a magical moment.
“It’s a step-up in quality of players and teams that we are playing.
“But these players can do and will do, they have a great will to win and improve.
“We are definitely moving in the right direction, there could have been five goals in the first half.They had a number of Tottenham Hotspur loan players on the pitch who are very good technically.
“We need to keep practising, keep believing and carry on with what we did last year.” To comment on this match go to http://boards.footymad.net/