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League One

Cooper a party pooper

18 October 2013

Swindon manager Mark Cooper could not hide his frustration despite seeing his side move into the League One play-offs with a 2-0 win at home to Notts County.

Two goals in the space of 17 first-half minutes from Nile Ranger and Dany N'Guessan were enough to earn Cooper's high-fliers a fourth successive win.

But the home side missed a host of chances to make the win even more emphatic, with Nathan Byrne twice striking the post.

Swindon were almost made to pay for those wasted opportunities when they conceded a late penalty only for County striker Danny Haynes to blaze his spot-kick over the bar.

Cooper said: "We played really well and passed the ball with focus and dealt with them well, although it's frustrating we didn't kill it off properly.

"For the possession we had we should have been more in control because if they had scored the penalty it would have been game on.

"It's natural when it's 2-0 that it becomes tense, but we saw it out.

"They were all good and Nathan Byrne could have had two or three goals himself, but we don't pick individuals out and we focus on the team.

"We have more security at the back, not whereas if we made a mistake at the back they might be in one-on-one, but with that extra defender we've been able to sure it up and still maintain our attacking threat."

Former Newcastle striker Ranger opened the scoring after only 11 minutes by climbing to head home an Alex Pritchard corner.

N'Guessan doubled the home side's lead from the penalty spot 17 minutes before half-time after Byrne was bundled over by Mustapha Dumbuya.

The luckless Haynes thought he had reduced the deficit soon after the break but his effort was ruled out for offside.

Swindon were denied a third goal early in the second half when Byrne fired against a post after following up Pritchard's free-kick.

County threatened to set up a nervy finish when Yaser Kasim tripped Callum McGregor in the box but Haynes could not cash in.

The win would have been more emphatic but for a string of impressive saves from County's former Southampton goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Byrne was denied by the woodwork for a second time in the closing stages.

The defeat leaves County rooted in the bottom three and manager Chris Kiwomya said: "It was a disappointing night because we have been on a good run.

"Swindon have proved they are a very capable side and it was always going to be a tough game.

"We need to dust ourselves down, get ready for the next game and string together another winning sequence.-

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