A SOLITARY goal was the defining moment between Swindon Town and Crewe Alexandra as Phil Brown’s side lost 1-0 at the Alexandra Stadium.

Brown made one change for the game, albeit a forced one as Joe Romanski came in for Matthew Taylor, following the latter’s sending off during Swindon’s 0-0 draw with Oldham Athletic on Saturday.

After such a frustrating display at home over the weekend, many had viewed Crewe as a perfect opportunity to kick-start another run of form.

However, Swindon were unable to gain any sense of control over the game and, as they did three days earlier at the Energy Check County Ground, they created very little.

Michael Doughty’s omission from the team with injury continues to be a cause for concern, not only because he is a key player, but because Town look somewhat lost without him.

The club’s top scorer has played a part in seven of Swindon’s 16 goals in League Two so far, scoring five and assisting two.

Marc Richards has been struggling with form after missing a large chunk of pre-season with a wrist injury, while Keshi Anderson and Elijah Adebayo have offered some solutions to Swindon’s offensive struggles with five goals between them, coming from wide areas.

From the outset it became clear that Swindon were in for an open game as there was plenty of space on the pitch.

Striker Anderson was the first man who looked to exploit it as he skipped inside from the right-hand side to shoot with his right foot.

The Town man saw his shot saved but after two corner kicks, the home side cleared and regrouped seven minutes into the contest.

Due to the expansive nature and pace of the game, three minutes later Swindon were left chasing at the back and Sid Nelson picked up a booking after charging into a sliding tackle.

For the hosts, Charlie Kirk was impressive and was causing Luke Woolfenden all sorts of trouble down the left.

Halfway through the first half Kirk managed to evade the Town loanee before picking out James Jones on the edge of the area, but the midfielder could only cushion the ball over the bar.

Swindon conceded their first goal in two games on the half-hour mark when Kirk broke the deadlock in unconventional style.

His strike found the back of the net in a roundabout way after hitting the glove of Luke McCormick, Romanski’s leg and finally the inside of the post before nestling in the net.

Brown’s troops had one last push to equalise before the end of the first half as a lofted ball found Richards onside.

However, the veteran couldn’t get the ball down and it was poked clear to Anderson, who took a heavy touch to bypass the Crewe defence before forcing another corner for the away side.

The second half was less than 10 minutes old when Brown opted to make a double substitution in a bid to inject some life into the game.

Woolfenden made way for Kyle Knoyle, the defender being available for selection after serving the three-game ban he picked up from being sent off against Morecambe.

Richards was the other man to make way, he was replaced by winger Jermaine McGlashan as Town switched from a 4-3-3 to a 4-4-2 formation.

Town’s frustration was clear to see, and they became guilty of giving silly fouls away, thus relieving Crewe of an pressure they may have been under.

In the 70th minute, Swindon did have the ball in the net but it was chalked off after Adebayo was guilty of handball before lashing it through goalkeeper Ben Garratt.

Ellis Iandolo was introduced into the game at the expense of James Dunne, as Brown threw his last roll of the dice to get Swindon back into contention.

Iandolo managed a produce a late surge into the box following a neat pass from McGlashan to put him on goal.

The midfielder kept hold of the ball well before a well-struck left-footed strike curled along the turf before pinging off the far post.

Time was running out and Swindon were still struggling to create. Alzate, who was awarded with the man of the match award, almost gave the game away for Town as a loose touch from a corner saw Kirk onto the ball with just Knoyle to beat.

Thankfully for Brown, Alzate was able to recover after Knoyle held up the Crewe goal scorer.

In the dying moments McGlashan earned Swindon a free-kick on the right. Iandolo delivered a swerving ball in towards the head of Diagouraga but the combative midfielder put the ball wide of the post.

Referee Ben Toner added four minutes on to the second half and despite a late sense of impetus, Town were unable to find a way back into the game.

Brown’s players have a quick turnaround before they are back in action again, they host Northampton Town at the County Ground on Saturday.

Team: McCormick, Woolfenden, Nelson, Lancashire, Romanski, Diagouraga, Dunne, Alzate, Anderson, Richards, Adebayo

Subs: Vigouroux, Knoyle (On for Woolfenden 56’), McCourt, McGlashan (on for Richards 56’) , Iandolo (on for Dunne 76’), Smith, Conroy

Referee: Ben Toner

Att: 2761 (218)