WHAT A WELCOME HOME FOR LING
MARTIN LING’S return to the County Ground was a successful one as he saw his Swindon Town side beat Scunthorpe United.
In Ling’s first home game in charge, captain Raphael Branco and leading goalscorer Nicky Ajose made it a memorable day as their goals in the space of four second-half minutes set up the victory.
Jordan Clarke gave the hosts a scare when he pulled one back in the 73rd minute, but the Robins were able to hang on to record their first home win since the opening day of the season.
The 49-year-old Ling, who appeared 190 times for the club as a player, said he was delighted to see the side he became manager of on November 3 secure a confidence boosting win.
“In the first half we looked very nervy,but we grew into the game,” he said.“The side hasn’t won too many games and that does cause nerves to come out.
“But sometimes you have to stick to your philosophy and I don’t think the players lost faith and this win will give them a bit of confidence to move forward to Fleetwood with.
“I would love to say it was free-flowing and we strolled the game, but we had to grind the result out and you need that other side of the game sometimes and the resilience the lads showed was good.”
Using a 3-5-2 formation, Town’s defence played a dangerous game at the back, passing the ball around with Iron forwards breathing down their necks, but the hosts were not taking advantage of this going upfield.
Just as supporters’ anxiety levels were peaking eight minutes before the break,Town took a more direct approach and from a corner nearly took the lead as David Mirfin’s attempted clearance created a goalmouth scramble, while just before the break Bradley Barry sent a header just wide.
Paddy Madden nearly gave the Iron the perfect start to the second half as he forced a save from Lawrence Vigouroux.
Their reward came in the 55th minute when from Ben Gladwin’s free-kick on the right wing, Ajose forced a delightful save from Joe Anyon, but following up was Branco who made no mistake.
One soon became two as four minutes later Town won the ball in midfield and Gladwin put Ajose through and the striker bagged his sixth of the season.
This prompted a shift which saw the Robins drop back and get men behind the ball, but despite this, the Iron got back in the game with 17 minutes left when Clarke was criminally left free in the box at a corner and the defender headed home.
Gary McSheffrey came agonisingly close to equalising as his free-kick crashed off the post, but Town held out.
Iron boss Mark Robins said: “We weren’t good enough, right from the start all the way through the game.
“We could have won that game inside the first 20 minutes but for whatever reason we decided to wait and take our time.
“We made a lot of poor decisions and the first goal they scored was poor from us.”
Swindon ROCKIN’ ROBINS: Paddy Madden and Swindon’s Raphael Branco compete for the ball while, inset, Nicky Ajose celebrates Town’s second goal