To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Swindon Town's 1969 League Cup triumph, all week Adver Sport will be publishing a series of stories to mark the momentous occasion.

WELSH right-back Rod Thomas says Swindon Town’s 1969 League Cup win was the highlight of his career, even though the club’s record international appearance holder reached a half-century of caps for his national team and went on to be a First Division champion with Derby County.

At 22, Thomas was the youngest member of Town’s squad on that memorable Wembley day and was well on his way to 150 appearances for Swindon by the time Don Rogers struck twice to secure a 3-1 extra-time victory.

Part of a stubborn defence that kept First Division opponents Arsenal at bay for over 85 minutes, Thomas felt the Town back-line could handle anything and stated that goalkeeper Peter Downsborough would have been high up on the list for potential man of the match candidates.

Thomas said: “I played for Wales 50 times and I won the First Division with Derby, but winning the League Cup with Swindon was still the highlight of my career.

“That win at Wembley against the Arsenal was the biggest thrill I had in football.

“As a defence, we did feel like we could handle anything, and we were all confident in ourselves.

“We’d all played together – the only change was John Trollope coming back in because he was fit again.

“The two central defenders – Stan Harland and Frank Burrows – were very good and Peter Downsborough had a great game too.

“When you’re playing against a side like Arsenal, the defence had to be on their game, and they were.

“But when the equaliser comes that late, you automatically think: ‘Are things going to go our way or is it not to be our day?’ As it turned out, we kept going and it did turn out very well.”

Victories against the likes of Coventry City, Burnley and Derby County in the run to the final had stood Town in good stead for what they could expect from Arsenal, while the well-documented poor state of the pitch was another factor that played into Town’s hands.

Thomas, now 72, heralded his side’s strength of character to battle on through the pain barrier, insisting their fitness played a considerable part in the extra-time success.

“We had some tremendous games in the build-up, so we were used to that sort of pressure,” said Thomas.

“Everybody was talking about how bad the pitch was at Wembley, but we were fairly used to it playing at the County Ground.

“That might have helped in a way, but we were a fairly young and fit side too with players that were ever-present throughout the season.

“Unlike today, we used to play on through the injury because if you weren’t performing on the pitch, you wouldn’t get the top pay.”