PA­TIENT COOPS PLAYS IT COOL

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Si­mon Smedley

MARK Cooper ad­mits his pa­tience paid off hand­somely for in-form Swin­don as they breezed past stut­ter­ing Barns­ley at Oak­well.

After a goal­less first pe­riod, the Robins sunk the Tykes with three clin­i­cal fin­ishes to keep them­selves well and truly in the League One pro­mo­tion frame.

And Swin­don boss Cooper says it was tes­ta­ment to his im­prov­ing play­ers.

“We knew Barns­ley would press hard early in the game and throw some real en­ergy at us, but as we all know it is dif­fi­cult to main­tain that kind of mo­men­tum,” he said.

“I al­ways felt they would run out of en­ergy in the end, and that's how it panned out.

“I knew that if we stayed pa­tient and kept our back door shut, we wouldn't go far wrong.

“Once that first goal went in I knew we'd have the belief to go on and get the three points.

“It was im­por­tant we re­mained pa­tient and stayed fo­cused, and as long as we do the lit­tle things well and stay pro­fes­sional, we'll al­ways do okay.

“Once we'd got that first goal I knew we were ca­pa­ble of stick­ing the knife in.”

It was an unin­spir­ing goal­less first half at Oak­well.

The Tykes prob­a­bly came clos­est to break­ing the dead­lock, with gi­ant de­fender Jean-Yves M'voto slid­ing in to vol­ley Conor Houri­hane's free-kick inches over the cross­bar.

Ear­lier De­vante Cole tested Robins' keeper Wes Foder­ing­ham from a tight an­gle, be­fore the vis­i­tors replied with Nathan Byrne driv­ing over the top from 30 yards.

Swin­don's best ef­fort came on the half-hour mark when Michael Smith forced a fine near­post stop from Tykes keeper Ross Turn­bull.

The rapidly im­prov­ing Robins were much more clin­i­cal dur­ing a dom­i­nant sec­ond-half show.

Cooper's men – now un­beaten in nine matches in all com­pe­ti­tions – surged into the lead just be­fore the hour mark.

Byrne – im­pres­sive from start to fin­ish – cut through two or three fee­ble chal­lenges from the Tykes de­fend­ers be­fore coolly slot­ting past Turn­bull.

That goal knocked the stuff­ing out of the Barns­ley, and from then on they strug­gled.

It was lit­tle sur­prise when Swin­don scored twice inside 60 seconds to wrap up a very well-de­served three points.

Just seven min­utes were left when Byrne clipped in a neat cross for sub Jake Reeves to drive home, then a sim­i­lar as­sist from Michael Smith found Andy Wil­liams, who side-footed home con­fi­dently past Turn­bull from 12 yards.

It was another mis­er­able day for Tykes boss Danny Wilson, whose side have picked up just two points from the last 15 avail­able.

His as­sis­tant Chris Hutch­ings said: “There was noth­ing in the game in the open­ing halfhour to be hon­est.

“They had chances and we did, but as soon as the first goal went in, that was the turn­ing point.

“We haven't stayed with run­ners, and ev­ery­one is dis­ap­pointed with the way we've con­ceded three goals. After the first goal we were just too open.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age Ltd

STAR MAN NATHA

N BYRNE

n Swindo FIRST-DE­GREE BYRNE: Nathan Byrne cel­e­brates after scor­ing the first goal for Swin­don

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