ROBINS RELY ON NEW DUO TO SINK ALEX

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By John McDougall

ANEW strik­ing duo inspired a sec­ond-half come­back as Swin­don beat Crewe at the Alexan­dra Sta­dium to leave Robins boss Mark Cooper purring over his new for­ward line.

Adam King’s sec­ond-half opener was can­celled out mo­ments later by Town sub­sti­tute Tom Smith, be­fore late goals from new men Wes Thomas and Nicky Ajose sealed three points for Swin­don.

And de­spite ad­mit­ting his side did not play par­tic­u­larly well, Cooper also re­served spe­cial praise for 17-year-old Smith who got his side back in the game.

“Once you get Ajose and Thomas on the pitch you know you’ve got a chance of scor­ing goals,” he said. “Wes has shown through­out he is strong and pow­er­ful. If he gets in the box he is not brushed off easily. It was a great fin­ish, as was Nicky’s.

“Nicky missed a great chance and he was beat­ing him­self up about that, so it was great he could get one near the end and fin­ish it off. He (Smith) got a shock at half­time when I de­cided to put another midfielder on. I chose him be­cause he was a lit­tle bit more ortho­dox and comes up with a won­der-goal like that. He’ll be remembering this day for years to come.”

Crewe winger Ryan Colclough dis­played his qual­ity on the quar­ter-hour af­ter re­ceiv­ing the ball cen­trally and curl­ing a left-footed ef­fort which Lawrence Vigouroux par­ried over.

From the re­sult­ing cor­ner, Raphael Branco cleared off the line from Ben Nu­gent’s header amid a goal­mouth scram­ble.

Mo­ments be­fore the break, Lauri Dalla Valle knocked down a right-wing cross for Chris Atkin­son, who drew a sublime close-range save from Vigouroux.

Ajose missed an open goal on 57 min­utes from at least 30 yards af­ter an un­der­hit back pass to Gar­ratt led to the keeper charg­ing out but miss­ing the ball, yet the for­mer Crewe man fired wide and spared the home side’s blushes.

Brad In­man nearly fired Crewe into the lead on the hour with a pow­er­ful ef­fort which Vigouroux di­verted wide, though he was for- tu­nate not to di­vert the shot into his own net.

But King made no mis­take a minute later with a mag­nif­i­cent long-range ef­fort which flew past a div­ing Vigouroux. The visi­tors equalised two min­utes af­ter go­ing be­hind with an equally im­pres­sive strike from sub­sti­tute Smith, who left Gar­ratt with no chance.

Out of nowhere, the Robins took the lead af­ter Fa­bien Robert drifted along the edge of the box and slipped an in­tri­cate 82nd-minute pass through to Thomas who lifted the ball into the roof of the net.

And the Robins wrapped up the three points in stop­page time when Smith cut back in the box for Ajose – who was mak­ing his sec­ond de­but for Swin­don – and curled a sublime ef­fort into the top cor­ner.

Crewe boss Steve Davis, whose side are now bot­tom of League One, ad­mit­ted Thomas and Ajose proved the dif­fer­ence be­tween but be­lieved his side should have won.

“They’ve brought those two in and they are pro­lific or renowned goalscor­ers and it was the dif­fer­ence be­tween the teams,” he said.

“They had sim­i­lar chances to us in many re­spects that they scored from, we just didn’t have that qual­ity and that what we needed at the end.

“I couldn’t fault how we played, it’s just we can’t keep say­ing we’re play­ing well and not com­ing out with any­thing.

“We’ve just got to turn that last 15 to 20 min­utes around and then we’ve got the com­plete per­for­mance. We should have come off win­ning that game 1-0.”

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

BOY WON­DER: Teenager Tom Smith cel­e­brates scor­ing Swin­don’s first goal

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