| Swindon maintained their 100% start to the season with their most impressive performance to date.
Curtis Weston and Paul Evans were finally paired together in central midfield and both had good games bringing much needed stability.
Darlington began the game on the offensive and barely two minutes in a superb through ball from Ngoma completely opened-up the Town defence and only the smart reflexes from the ever-alert Peter Brezovan prevented the home side from taking an early lead.
Swindon were again on the back-foot soon after as neat, controlled passing saw Brezovan having to make another save, although this time the shot was straight at him and easily dealt with.
Town`s first forays forward saw good combination and linkage between midfield and attack. Evans`s rather rushed shot went well wide but what we didn`t realise at the time was that he was just testing the water.
The opening goal of the game came after only 5 minutes and it was Darlington who were the architects of their own downfall.
Bend It Like Bobby Howe:
A loose pass in midfield suddenly gave Roberts possession and in a flash he`d turned and set off on one of his runs. The Welshman didn`t really have the pace or skill to do the last few defenders but he cut inside before being clumsily brought down by a trailing leg.
It was obvious Evans was going to have a dig. The ball was almost dead central and a good 20-25 yards out. The Darlo wall positioned themselves and waited.
It wasn`t quite Beckham-esque. In fact it was struck low with pace and looked to have gone through the wall or just round the side. Either way the keeper didn`t move and the ball nestled into the net.
Of course the goal sent the away fans up the other end into delirium and cries and chants of "Champions" and "We are going up" kicked off.
The goal WAS against the run of play and, thinking about it now, it was also our FIRST shot on target. Still, musn`t grumble!!
Swindon built on their momentum and a good move shortly afterwards saw Ricky Shakes blaze wildly over but what impressed me was the build-up and the somewhat ease we had in dictating the play.
The home team looked okay coming forward and quite entertaining in trying to pass their way towards goal. At the back. however, there was certain signs of a panic mentality.
Play soon swung back in favour of Darlo and Brezovan had to be alert to save a header low down - diving full stretch to claim the ball. The culprit responsible was Barry Conlon. A typical 4th division cart-horse who puts himself about. To be fair though, I`m being a bit harsh - I think he had a reasonable game. He always seemed to beat Jerel to headers and tried to play the right ball. It was Conlon who shot wide shortly afterwards. He hurried his shot opting for power rather than accuracy. I think his presence was causing a bit of anxiety but nothing untoward.
Goal Number Two:
With Town back on the ball, Evans fed a low pass to Monkhouse on the left. The former Rotherham player surged forward and skipped a challenge. YES, you heard that right - Andy Monkhouse took on someone and beat him. But hold on, Monkhouse wasn`t finished. He lofted the ball towards the back sticks where Peacock, under pressure from two defenders who were trying to mate with him, rose majestically and headed back across goal. The ball eluded one Darlo defender and found it`s way to Roberts who, 6 yards out, controlled and smacked into the net!! Bosh. 2-0. Textbook.
I think that`s how it happened - There might even have been a bit more build-up but the all important fact was Darlington 0, Swindon 2.
A shell-shocked Darlo faced further danger when straight from kick-off the ball found Evans who instinctively let fly from the halfway line. The keeper was beaten but the effort was just a bit overhit and slightly wide.
This was the start of a purple patch for Town. Darlington were being stretched and were struggling to gain a foothold. I must mention Weston who was running all