FOR two such high-scoring teams it was inevitable this table-top League One clash would be decided one goal, fortunately for Swindon Town it came from their specialist impact substitute Andy Williams.

The Robins had pushed hard in search of goal to break the deadlock but they had not had a lot of joy in creating a clear opening as Preston seemed happy to leave Wiltshire with a point.

Michael Smith had gone close with Town’s best chance 10 minutes into the second half, but just when it seemed the night was going to end goalless Williams popped up to nod home from Ben Gladwin’s deflected cross and give Town all three points.

Williams showed once again why he thinks he should be in the starting XI, this goal though is undoubtedly the most important he has scored this season and it would be real surprise if he was not given a shot against Cheltenham on Saturday.

It was no more than Town had deserved. They had put in the most complete performance since their romping win against League One’s other giant, Sheffield United. As ever they had dominated possession but it came with a measure of control as Preston and their dangerous frontline were kept at arm’s length.

Nathan Byrne picked up an injury prior to the game and Gladwin’s inclusion in his place was one of two changes. Harry Toffolo came in for Amari’i Bell, who has looked devoid of confidence in recent weeks.

Preston had the two best chances early on. Joe Garner, certainly the man capable of causing the most danger to Town’s defence, had one and made the other.

Chris Humphrey exploited some space between Toffolo and Jordan Turnbull and delivered a good flat cross, Garner met it well but aimed his effort straight at Wes Foderingham, who produced a fine save.

Preston’s next chance came from an innocuous looking long ball that Nathan Thompson misjudged. Garner rolled the Town skipper and played in Paul Gallagher, his effort stung the palms of Foderingham, who couldn’t hold it and Turnbull had to complete the clearance.

Preston were content to play on the break and let Town pass the ball around. The home side were not offering a real cutting edge despite at times pushing all but Nathan Thompson into the North End half.

Louis Thompson looked lively in the opening half an hour and it was he created the first moment of danger for the visitors back line. The young midfielder and Toffolo worked an opening down the left, allowing Thompson to put a ball in across the box, no one could get on to it, however, it was only half cleared. Obika seized upon the ball and turned smartly but his shot was gratefully saved by Jamie Jones.

Next Louis Thompson looked to have forced an opening, swapping passes with Luongo, he had space to get a shot off but snatched at it and Jones saved easily. Town were growing into the game go though and were playing as well they have since they played Sheffield United back in September.

Preston were looking to exploit Town on the break and with a player like Garner they know they have the firepower to be a constant threat and so it proved. Gallagher evaded Gladwin and fed Garner who skipped down the byline and fired a shot which Nathan Thompson had to be quick to block.

It stayed scoreless into the break but Swindon certainly had the best of the first half, without creating a gilt-edged opportunity.

It took until 10 minutes into the second half for one to materialise. Luongo releasing Smith who wriggled free of Tom Clarke and fired at goal. Jones was at full length in order to tip it wide.

Toffolo, who had been quietly impressive on left side, was the next to test Jones’ glovework. Kasim flicked him a delightful back heel and the wing-back let fly from distance and Jones got everything behind it and to gather.

The Preston keeper was certainly busier than his Town counterpart. Another Louis Thompson burst presented Smith with a chance to shoot, he did driving low and Jones reacted to stop with his feet.

Town continued to press forward and looked the more likely to score but Preston’s resolute backline were restricting Swindon to shots from distance. Williams was introduced to provide a more direct threat with his running.

The game continued to meander, whilst still providing enough entertainment to keep the fans with their eyes on the pitch.

For those familiar with Town so far this season there was little surprise when Williams rose to meet Gladwin’s deflected ball in and give Town all three points. Wheeling away the striker will no doubt have had a little glint in his eye as he again issued a reminder to Mark Cooper of what he can do.

Without the goal it was an 80 per cent performance, with it that the dial moved towards full gauge, becoming almost complete. The ease, especially in the second half with which Swindon kept their visitors at bay was impressive.

Swindon’s first home win since September was hard earned and sends a message out to their League One rivals they are resilient and despite their age cannot be bullied.