WHILE it may be frustrating to watch David Flitcroft’s Swindon Town float between accomplished away performances and too-often indifferent displays at the Energy Check County Ground, it’s important to retain some sense of perspective.

Rightly or wrongly, many people compare Town’s current crop to the last time the club were in the Football League’s bottom tier, back in 2011.

On face value, the comparison may seem a relatively easy one to draw. Two new managers, a whole host of new players and a sole aim to get promoted come the end of the year are the common denominators.

There are however obvious differences in other areas, such as style of play, which were highlighted at the end of Town’s 1-0 defeat to Newport County, as a chorus of boos met the full-time whistle.

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Iandolo was reintroduced to Town's starting XI

Admittedly, Flitcroft and Paolo Di Canio have vastly different styles of football, but the latter had far greater resources available to him.

Rewind to the beginning of this season, the overall feeling around the club was that promotion would be all that mattered at the end of the season.

Going into the Newport game, Flitcroft’s side had an unfamiliar feel about it as the manager was forced to make changes due to injury.

As a result, loan duo Tom Smith and James Brophy were both recalled from Bath City and Leyton Orient respectively, in a bid to soothe the injury concerns.

In terms of the starting XI, there were only two changes from the side who were beaten 3-2 by Grimsby Town, as Ellis Iandolo was reintroduced at left-back, pushing Matthew Taylor into a midfield berth.

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John Goddard struggled at times in a physical enounter

Paul Mullin was the only player to recover from injury, as the forward overcame a groin strain to start on the right of midfield.

Top scorer Luke Norris failed to recover from an ankle injury he gained in the warm-up against Grimsby on Tuesday night, as did Lawrence Vigouroux, while Amine Linganzi and Timi Elsnik were both out, hampered by hamstring problems.

Town started the stronger of the two teams and had an early glimpse of goal when Mullin broke free down the right-hand side, before cutting it back to Keshi Anderson.

Sadly, the ball was a bit behind the Crystal Palace man, who could only direct his effort wide of the mark.

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Town try to regroup after falling behind

Swindon were well in control throughout the opening 20 minutes of the half, but were handed a reminder of the danger possessed by their opponents as Matt Dolan’s 12th-minute corner only needed a nudge at the back post to give the visitors the lead.

This led into a spell of pressure for County, who pumped to ball into the Town penalty area on numerous occasions.

Newport skipper Joss Labadie latched onto Olly Lancashire’s headed clearance before sending a looping volley over Reice Charles-Cook’s goal.

The game was being played at a frantic pace, and fluid build-up play by Town again led to Mullin having a shot on goal. The former Morecambe man worked it onto his left side well, before lashing over the bar.

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Keshi Anderson ponders Town's defeat after the final whistle

Exiles boss Michael Flynn was then required to make an early substitution in the 34th minute as the injured Scot Bennett was replaced by Sean Rigg as an entertaining first half ended 0-0.

The second instalment started as the first had ended.

Both teams continued to work hard but failed to carve out any real chances to get in front.

Anderson was shown a yellow card five minutes after the restart for hauling down Labadie just outside the area, but with the resulting free-kick, County were unable to beat the wall.

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Former Swindon man Ben Tozer celebrates his winning goal. 

Just short of the hour mark, Harry Smith had the perfect chance to round off a sweeping Swindon move by sliding the ball into either Mullin or Anderson.

However, the on-loan Millwall striker failed to do either as Town turned over possession.

Three minutes later, County had another shot on goal when Labadie let rip from distance, only for his effort to whistle wide via a deflection.

At the other end, Mullin and Ben Purkiss linked up well to fire a ball into Smith, who was unable to get any convincing contact on the cross.

The game was quickly slipping away from both sides with 20 minutes to play at a bitterly cold County Ground.

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James Brophy was brought on late on to rescue the game for Town. 

Newport’s David Pipe did well on the right to poke the ball through to Shaun McClousky but along came skipper Lancashire to snuff out any danger in the 74th minute.

A minute later the breakthrough came as former Town man Ben Tozer leapt the highest to nod past Charles-Cook from Dolan’s corner.

Flitcroft immediately reacted, by sending on striker Kaiyne Woolery in the place of John Goddard.

That soon became a double change as Kellan Gordon was introduced at the expense of Iandolo in the 79th minute.

The Town boss then threw his last roll of the dice in the 89th minute as he thrust Brophy into the action for Mullin.

From here, the hosts piled on the pressure and almost levelled when Matt Preston’s header crashed against the bar.

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Newport County boast their 1-0 win at the County Ground

Unsurprisingly, boos rung around the County Ground at the end of the game after another frustrating defeat at home in what was Town’s 20th league game of the season, but time to recap on that perspective. Di Canio is held in such high regard because of his brand of football, and ultimately his delivery of the League Two title.

Yet at the same point in their season, the firebrand Italian boss had a record of 10 wins, four draws and six defeats, totalling 34 points.

Flitcroft’s record after 20 games? 10 wins, two draws and eight defeats, totalling 32 points.

With the top three of Notts County, Luton Town and Accrington Stanley all to play in December, promotion is still very much a realistic ambition.