MARK Cooper lapped up the “fantastic scenes” at the County Ground on Saturday, as two products of the Swindon Town youth system helped earn his side a third consecutive victory in League One.
Miles Storey put Town in front in the 18th minute before Louis Thompson came off the bench to score the winner in the dying stages after Michael Doyle had levelled for Sheffield United.
Thompson’s brother Nathan, substituted in the 67th minute, darted 80 yards from the dug-outs to the far corner flag in front of the Town End to celebrate Louis’s first professional goal, and Cooper, like the rest of those of a Robins persuasion inside the stadium, fully enjoyed the moment.
“It was fantastic to see a boy who’s come through the academy, a local boy, get the winning goal and then see his brother sprint round the back of the goal to celebrate with him. That’s what it’s all about for me. They were fantastic scenes at the end,” he said. “In the second half we were under the cosh, we didn’t secure the ball up front, the ball kept coming back and when we do that as a team it’s very difficult to get out.
“They played one up front and the one tried to press our three defenders so we were able to keep the ball off them and draw them out of midfield and play round them, and we scored a fantastic goal.
“I thought we totally dominated the first half possession wise and deserved to be in front. The second half was totally different. We didn’t have that security up front and we conceded too much possession.”
Cooper handed a first Town start in more than two years to Lee Cox and the midfielder impressed his manager.
“I thought Lee did well in the first half, in the second half obviously he tired,” he said. “Ben (Gladwin) tired as well. It’s his first season, he’s come from Marlow and Coxy’s not really played for six or seven months. They’re not fit, fit and that’s why we put Louis on.”
Town now sit a point off the League One play-offs with six games to play and, while the possibility of a top-six finish remains out of their hands, Cooper feels his team have exceeded realistic expectations.
“I think you saw with the celebrations at the end – they show that they are together and I think they have been all season. I think they’ve taken a bit of unjustified criticism at times, if I’m honest, because of how young they are and what they’re trying to do,” he said.
“They are trying to change a style of play and they’ve done well.”