DONNY WIN THE PENALTY BATTLE
TWO penalties decided the outcome at the County Ground – but victorious Doncaster manager Paul Dickov did not think either should have been awarded.
Theo Robinson’s successful first half spotkick gave the visitors a surprise win against their promotion-chasing hosts.
But Swindon’s hopes of salvaging a precious point were dashed when substitute Michael Smith had a late penalty saved.
“I don’t defend the two penalties that were given,” Dickov said. “I think for our penalty Jordan Turnbull got in a good tackle on Dean Furman, and after that it seemed the referee couldn’t wait to even it up.
“But Sam Johnstone made a superb save from Swindon’s penalty and that won us the match.”
Dickov was full of praise for the performance of his side, whose sixth away win of the season wrecked Swindon’s chances of leapfrogging Bristol City and topping the table.
The Scot added:“Defensively we had to be secure, but not many sides will come to Swindon and create as many chances as we did.
“I know they hit the post and had a penalty saved, but we created a lot and, but for a brilliant save, Kyle Bennett would have scored a second and given us a 2-0 half-time lead.”
Robinson’s penalty winner came midway through the first half and was awarded by referee Kevin Johnson when Furman took a tumble after a challenge from Southampton loanee Turnbull, who escaped a booking.
Robinson, who put in a tremendous shift as Doncaster’s lone striker, drilled the penalty into the right-hand corner.
Doncaster continually frustrated Swindon who, unable to get their normal passing game together, improved after a poor opening half but frittered away a series of opportunities.
Jon Obika thudded a shot against the base of the upright, while Nathan Byrne, Andy Williams and Ben Gladwin all shot wide.
Swindon’s golden chance to equalise came with 12 minutes remaining when Williams was fouled by Reece Wabara. But highly promising Doncaster goalkeeper Johnstone, on loan from Manchester United, flung himself low to his left to beat out Smith’s spot kick.
"When teams come and play and get everybody behind the ball and get nearly everyone back, the last thing you need is to give them any encouragement," said Swindon boss Mark Cooper, who saw his side slip to their first defeat in six games.
"The referee has made an atrocious decision to give a penalty.
"The clue is usually what direction the ball goes in when the defender makes the tackle and it goes towards the corner flag, so I've seen it again and it's a fantastic tackle from Jordan, but the referee, for some reason, gives an amazing decision.
"We give Doncaster something to hang onto.
"Second-half we had enough opportunities or situations to get something out of the game. We had a penalty and then we had a clear one-on-one but we need to score one of those and we get something out of the game.
"But, I was fine with the performance and sometimes it happens.”
PRECISE: Theo Robinson steps up to score from the spot for Doncaster STAR MAN JAMES