Football: Scott stoops

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The Independent Online
Swindon Town. . . . . . . . .2

Bodin 12, Scott 66

Southampton . . . . . . . . .1

Le Tissier 38

Attendance: 13,284

AS RELEGATION battles go, this was hardly a collector's item, but it was one that Swindon will treasure. Their second Premiership win of the season puts them level on points with Southampton, yesterday's vanquished rivals; they remain bottom, but they are up and running. Southampton, however, are stumbling and at this rate they will fall.

Yet after a fifth successive defeat, Ian Branfoot, the Southampton manager, still managed a brave face. His side's first goal in seven hours of football will have been scant consolation, yet he joked about having no money to spend, cheerfully mentioned the 18 people on his injured list and only got serious when questioned about Swindon's playing style. 'They're not playing the diamond and they're not playing pretty football,' he said, adding that this was no criticism.

Swindon's football was nevertheless the prettier. If they have sold some of their soul, there is still plenty of it left, as two interested spectators - Glenn Hoddle, whose Chelsea side visit the County Ground on New Year's Day, and Frank Worthington, the former England striker who joined the Swindon coaching staff last week - will have noticed.

Paul Bodin was the kingpin of Swindon's machinery, undermining Southampton's defence with assured distribution from the left wing. He was not bad with the ball at his feet either, certainly too good for Jeff Kenna and the leaden-footed Ken Monkou, whom he cruised past on his way to tucking home the 11th-minute opener.

The equaliser was stylishly simple, the sort of thing you would expect Swindon to construct rather than sit back and admire. It stemmed right from the back and passed through Francis Benali and Simon Charlton before Tommy Widdrington put Matt Le Tissier through to score.

Swindon were back on top in the second half, a sustained period of supremacy that was rewarded in the 65th minute when Keith Scott's excellent stooping header hit the back of the net. The goal, Scott's fourth in seven appearances since arriving from Wycombe Wanderers, proved to be the winner. Swindon, though, might have finished with a hatful.