The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Steve Har­ris

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.footy­

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