SUBSTITUTE Michael Doughty’s penalty deep in the second half gave Swindon Town’s Checkatrade Trophy campaign a shot in the arm in a narrow win at home to Newport County this evening.

Swindon were the better of the two sides in what was an overall lacklustre contest at the Energy Check County Ground, with Doughty’s spot-kick enough to decide matters with a quarter-of-an-hour to go just five minutes after the midfielder had come off the bench.

The win gets Phil Brown’s side off and running in the competition following a thumping 4-0 defeat at home to Chelsea U21s in their first group game in the opening week of the season, and they now round off their pool programme away at Plymouth Argyle on October 9, hunting another victory and likely progression to the knockout stages.

Town’s triumph also had the added bonus of yielding consecutive wins for the first time this season after Saturday’s 1-0 success at Morecambe in League Two, and extends their unbeaten run to six games in all competitions.

Town boss Brown made five changes to the side that had narrowly beaten the Shrimps, welcoming both James Dunne and Toumani Diagouraga back into the heart of midfield following the conclusion of the pair’s respective three-match suspensions.

Jermaine McGlashan and Ellis Iandolo were handed places in the wide positions of a more advanced midfield three, with Joe Romanski the final change as he came into the side at left-back.

After a cagey opening in which a couple of free-kicks from the home side were most notable actions, a defensive mistake looked to have led to the game’s first chance nine minutes in.

Town striker Elijah Adebayo robbed a dithering Dan Butler midway inside the County half to race in on goalkeeper Nick Townsend, but the Exiles captain got back well to recover and deny a clear shooting opportunity.

A better opening came Swindon’s way a quarter-of-an-hour in when a quick interchange of passes between Ellis Iandolo and Jermaine McGlashan on halfway sent Keshi Anderson into space on left. However, after darting into the County box, he snatched at his shot and sent it tamely into the side-netting.

That rallied Newport into life and they went straight up the other end and manufactured a couple of chances in quick succession.

First, Keanu Marsh-Brown saw a powerful low shot blocked by Diagouraga, before Romanski got in a strong challenge to deny the same player on the follow-up.

The smattering of visiting fans’ eyes would have then lit up as Cameron Pring gathered the ball in space on the left, but he shot well wide after racing in on Swindon stopper Luke McCormick.

After a few breathless minutes, the contest then stagnated again and there was little in terms of quality from then until the break.

Just after the half-hour mark, Iandolo gathered on the left-hand side of the County box and cut the ball back to the unlikely figure of Town left-back Romanski, who had continued a surge forward into the box, but he was squeezed out by the visiting defence just as he attempted to shoot.

Town continued to have the better of the exchanges, but chances remained at a premium, with Iandolo seeing a shot blocked on the edge of the Newport box in the last meaningful action of a goalless first half.

Swindon remained the more creative of the sides after the interval, but clear sights at goal were still few and far between.

James Dunne saw a nicely-positioned free-kick cannon off the Exiles wall, while a strong foray up the right from Kyle Knoyle ended with a good low cross that narrowly eluded a team-mate.

Dunne then had another sight of goal midway through the second half when he pounced on the scraps of an Iandolo free-kick, but he could not quite control the dropping ball and lashed well over the top.

The Exiles went straight up the end and worried the hosts for the first time in the half when Antoine Semenyo attempted to spin and shoot in the box, but the Town defence crowded him out to nullify the chance.

Brown rolled the dice with just under 20 minutes to play, sending Scott Twine and Doughty on in place of Anderson and Iandolo and it had an instant impact as Town broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.

Doughty threaded Adebayo into the box and he was sent tumbling by a scurrying Scot Bennett, leaving referee Antony Coggins with little choice but to point to the spot, and Doughty duly slotted the ensuing penalty home past keeper Townsend.

That was Adebayo’s last contribution as Brown sent Steven Alzate on in his place in his final substitution of the night.

Once again, the match drifted back into a meandering pace, and Town had little trouble in stifling the Exiles’ limited threats and seeing out the concluding minutes to keep up their strong recent run.

SWINDON TOWN (4-2-3-1): McCormick (c); Knoyle, Nelson, Woolfenden, Romanski; Dunne, Diagouraga; McGlashan, Anderson (Twine 71), Iandolo (Doughty 71); Adebayo (Alzate 79). Subs not used: Henry, Smith, Pryce, Taylor.

NEWPORT COUNTY (5-3-2): Townsend; Forbes, O’Brien, Bennett, Butler (c), Pring; Cooper, Marsh-Brown, Willmott (Bakinson 69); Semenyo, Matt (Sheehan 69). Subs not used: Day, Pipe, Dolan, Amond, Demetriou.

Referee: Antony Coggins

Attendance: 1,301