A MARKED improvement in Swindon Town Academy’s performance levels following David Farrell’s half-time team talk earned them an opening day victory against Bristol Rovers in the Youth Alliance South-West division.

Though Town’s youngsters led at half-time through an own goal, boss Farrell underlined his side’s tepid approach to the opening half of the season.

His words of advice clearly worked, as striker Harry Parsons netted Town’s second goal of the game to earn a confidence-boosting three points against their west country rivals.

Exeter, Plymouth and Portsmouth also won their opening fixture of the season, while Newport, Oxford and Yeovil slumped to defeats – Bournemouth, Cheltenham and Forest Green Rovers are yet to play.

Putting the win aside, Farrell was pleased most by his first-year players’ ability to mix it with the more experienced second-years.

He said: “We were quite tepid in the first half, we allowed Bristol Rovers to play albeit we still created the better chances.

“We turned things around in the second half and got on the front foot more – we probably should’ve scored more goals.

“All things considered, we’ll take the win and it’s a decent start to the season. But there are lots and lots of things to work on.”

Town’s academy are next in action on Friday when making the trip west to face Newport County.

Despite County’s 4-1 loss to Exeter on Saturday, Farrell is taking little for granted and has called for a professional approach from his players ahead of kick-off.

He added: “There’s been a good level of consistency from all the players so far.

“It’s a different time and place to play, that’s part of their learning.

“Newport will be challenging – every game is like that.”