MASSIMO Giamattei’s injury time volley fired Swindon Town Under 18s to the top of the Merit League this afternoon, as they beat Yeovil 1-0 at Stanley Park.

David Farrell’s youngsters pressed hard in the second half after a below-par performance in the opening 45, and they were rewarded for their efforts when a cleared corner was struck into the Glovers’ bottom right corner deep into second half injury time.

The win has lifted Town level on points with Southend and Oxford – all three teams have 17 points from their nine games with a goal difference of plus three. This afternoon’s game proved a typical case of ‘winning ugly’ for Farrell, who conceded Yeovil were unlucky not to leave Stanley Park with a point.

Farrell said: “The changes we made definitely helped. The likes of Max (Whitfield) and Will (King), who came on early for Ralph (Graham) who was struggling with his hamstring, helped.

“They’re young and a bit innocent, but I tell them to go on and enjoy playing their football.

“Without all the talk of them having to win this game to win the league, I just gave them that freedom to play – and the under 16s came on and did that.

“I wouldn’t say they completely changed the game, but they added impetus to our attack – and the last 15 minutes of the game was when we were at our best.

“The 75 minutes prior to that were forgettable.

“But sometimes you have to win ugly, and play opened up well for us in the concluding minutes.

“It was a great finish from Massimo (Giamattei). I wouldn’t say it was an undeserved goal, because we looked the stronger side in the last half hour, but a 0-0 would have been a fair result.”

Following a turbulent Youth Alliance campaign, Town’s youngsters have turned a corner since the start of the Merit League and a title challenge is now very much in their hands.

Improved levels of resilience is what has changed most in the opinion of Farrell, who will next face his former club – Peterborough – before a trip to Oxford rounds off the season.

He said: “We didn’t have this resilience at the start of the season, but now we have.

“There’s an understanding that they respect when they step over that white line. We had a lot of play, but didn’t look like scoring.

“But you don’t always get what you deserve, and we got away with it today with a win.”