SUBSTITUTE Harry Smith lashed home his first Swindon Town goal in the dying moments to finally settle hugely uninspiring contest with Cambridge United at the Energy Check County Ground.

Keshi Anderson’s second goal for Town had given the home side the lead shortly before the quarter-off-an-hour mark before Smith, on for the injured Luke Norris, blasted into the roof of the net on 88 minutes to wrap up the three points.

David Flitcroft made three changes to the XI beaten by Coventry City in midweek, with new signing Matt Preston earning a first start in place of Chris Robertson, who did not find a place in the squad.

Amine Linganzi came in for the missing Timi Elsnik, with Kaiyne Woolery starting in place of Mullin.

Midfielder James Dunne, red-carded during the Sky Blues defeat, started against his former club after Town were successful in their appeal against that sending-off, while John Goddard’s return from injury earned him a place on the bench.

Flitcroft had made mention of Town’s tendency to start slowly at home and the hosts were on the back foot within seconds as Jabo Ibehre made progress down the right and his cross was blocked out by Preston, referee Andy Woolmer unmoved by United’s claims that it had been with the use of the Town new boy’s hand.

Swindon were feeling their way delicately into the contest, but with little accuracy, not least when a free kick won when Gary Deegan saw yellow for a meaty challenge on Kellan Gordon, was hit straight out of play.

The visitors continued to enjoy success down Town’s left flank, Piero Mingola crossing for Uche Ikpeazu to climb but misdirect a header over from 10 yards yet, against the early pattern of the game, Town took the lead on 13 minutes.

Gordon outsmarted Harrison Dunk on the right flank and advanced before the ball inside found Linganzi. He let fly from 25 yards with a swerving effort that keeper David Forde messily shovelled away.

Anderson picked up the bits and pieces and found Woolery, who crossed and after a Luke Norris effort was blocked, Anderson swept home the loose ball from eight yards.

United were still enjoying the bulk of possession and went close on the half-hour when Ikpeazu’s turn and shot was deflected just wide of Vigouroux’s left post. From the corner, the goalkeeper got down to smother a strong header from visiting captain Leon Legge.

At the other end, Anderson won a flag kick that Linganzi headed tamely wide at the back post before Woolery carelessly gave away the ball in the centre of the park and Cambridge advanced but Ikpeazu fired a weak shot at Vigouroux.

The best chance of a second goal arrived as Linganzi intelligently played Woolery in down the left channel and Anderson met the low cross with a decent drive that Legge threw himself in front of to block. Gordon’s follow-up skewed away.

The pace picked up and as Cambridge launched another sortie down the left, a strong header clear by Lancashire was met fiercely by George Maris, but Vigouroux was there to gather.

Anderson enjoyed a third decent chance of the half immediately at the other end as an attempted volley from Norris fell at his feet, but the effort deflected wide.

In terms of quality, the early second-half fare hardly outshone the first, Town being the first to show as Norris worked the right channel and found the advancing Ben Purkiss, whose shot headed off in the vague direction of Old Town.

If Town were largely off-key, then Cambridge were arguably worse, to the evident frustration of boss Shaun Derry, whose frantic arm-waving failed to inspire anything more worthwhile from his troops than another misguided header over the top from Ikpeazu  just prior to the hour mark.

Shortly after it, Norris departed, apparently having aggravated the shoulder he had dislocated at Carlisle on the opening day of the season, with Harry Smith sent on.

But there was still little in the way of excitement, Cambridge starting a potentially dangerous breakout that resulted in sub Jevani Brown firing wastefully over from 25 yards.

Town introduced Goddard from the bench for his first appearance since the opening day of the campaign but then came perilously close to conceding as Brad Halliday broke well down the right and his cross caused consternation in the box, before Ikpeazu’s header from close range came back off the bar to be clutched gratefully by Vigouroux.

Harrison Dunk then fired wide after a header clear from a free kick had landed at his feet on the edge of the box as one or two home nerves started to fray.

Gordon could have eased concerns as he ran through on to Anderson’s pass from halfway, but with Forde exposed, he found only the keeper’s legs and was replaced by Paul Mullin shortly afterwards.

Goddard then found space on the left-side of the box, but saw a goalbound effort blocked before Anderson was similarly denied after Forde was left stranded in no-man’s land in his area.

With the match seemingly petering out, Town settled it as Anderson threaded a pass through to substitute Smith, who finished emphatically high into the net from 15 yards.

There was still time for another heart-stopping moment at the back as Ikpeazu and Ibehre were somehow denied on the line by Lancashire but Town saw out time with relative ease.

SWINDON (4-2-3-1): Lawrence Vigouroux, Ben Purkiss, Matt Preston, Olly Lancashire, Matt Taylor, Amine Linganzi, James Dunne, Kaiyne Woolery (John Goddard 69), Kellan Gordon (Paul Mullin 81(, Keshi Anderson, Luke Norris (Harry Smith 62).

Subs not used: Donal McDermott, Ellis Iandolo, Reice Charles-Cook, Kyle Knoyle

CAMBRIDGE (4-4-2): David Forde, Vrad Halliday, Gary Deegan (Emmanuel Osadebe 73), Leon Legge, Piero Mingola (Jevani Brown 65), Uche Ikpeazu,, Harrison Dunk, George Taft, Jabo Ibehre, George Maris, Med Elito (Jake Carroll 65).

Subs not used: Dimitar Mitov, Liam O’Neil, Matthew Foy, Kyle Hawkins.

Referee: Andy Woolmer

Attendance: 5,847 (326)