Football: Hard for Harford

West Brom 1 Hunt pen 71 Swindon Town 2 Allison 42, Smith 76 At tendance: 16,219
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The Independent Online
Ray Harford's welcome to The Hawthorns could have been warmer but at least the new manager can be under no illusion about the magnitude of the task he faces. He joined his old employers Blackburn when they were hovering half-way down the old First Division, but now he has neither Jack Walker's millions nor Kenny Dalglish's perception to lean on.

Should Albion be restored to their former glory it will have been all his own work - and there's plenty to do. Swindon controlled the game for long spells, mainly via the midfield manoeuvring of Alex Smith, and Fraser Digby went 50 minutes before being called upon to make anything approaching a save - and then it was only to snatch a corner off Bob Taylor's head.

Wayne Allison had rattled the Albion crossbar with a header in the 24th minute and 10 minutes later Mark Walters toe-poked a shot against Paul Crichton's left-hand post. So it was no surprise when, in the 42nd minute, Allison got his head to another of Mark Robinson's accurate crosses to glance Swindon into the lead.

When Paul Peschisolido replaced Taylor eight minutes into the second half it prompted the Baggies' best spell, culminating in the equaliser in the 73rd minute. Frederic Darras was adjudged to have pushed Kevin Donovan and Andy Hunt sent Digby the wrong way to sink the penalty.

The relief, however, was shortlived. Two minutes later Swindon took the lead again. Robinson, foraging down the left, found an unmarked Allison on the far post who, in turn, found the unmarked Smith in the Albion six- yard box for a simple tap-in.

Albion poured down on their visitors in an attempt to find another equaliser. Richard Sneekes split the Swindon defence with the game's best pass only to see Digby dash from his goal-line to block Paul Raven's shot. The game ended with an almighty scramble under the Swindon crossbar before substitute Shaun Cunnington blasted his shot high over the Swindon bar.

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