A scintillating first half display from Graham Westley’s Preston North End had PNE three up before the interval.
The Lilywhites came out of the traps like a rocket, going two up inside ten minutes thanks to Akpo Sodje’s fifth minute half volley after Stuart Beavon’s superb knock down followed by Nicky Wroe’s fourth goal of the season, a wonderful flick from Scott Laird’s ball in from the left. And Beavon marked his debut with a goal, poking in from close range on 42 minutes after Bailey Wright had headed Laird’s cross back towards goal.
Raffaele De Vita pulled one back just before the hour mark with a low left footed effort but John Welsh fired home from outside the area for his first goal for the Club to put pay to any chance of a comeback from the Wiltshire side.
Starting off at pace has been a feature of North End’s recent performances and Graham Westley’s men came out fired up and Beavon, making his debut following his move in the last minutes of the transfer deadline, brilliantly closed down Wes Foderingham in the Swindon goal, the ball ricocheting out to Akpo Sodje who hit the ball on the half volley back past Foderingham into the bottom left hand corner – the front man celebrating in style by beating up the corner flag!
It was two-nil on ten minutes with some brilliant football from the home side. The play started out on the right, with Jeffrey Monakana feeding Keaith Keane. The man who started at right full back fed Beavon, who laid the ball out to Laird on the left, he held the ball long enough for Nicky Wroe to make a superbly timed run into the box and he flicked the ball past Foderingham into the bottom right.
Beavon was close to his first goal just after the quarter hour mark as a Paul Huntongton clearance saw Sodje put pressure on former North Ender Alan McCormack, the ball eventually falling to the new PNE No.29 who slashed a left foot volley just inches past the right hand post.
The visitors were stunned but had a good chance on 17 minutes as Luke Rooney crossed from the left and James Collins headed just over the bar.
Jeffrey Monakana was again showing all the skills on the right and his trickery almost brought a third as he outpaced two defenders, before firing the ball across and Wroe is inches away from getting a touch to make it five for the season for the stand in skipper.
A piece of pantomime took place on 21 minutes as Paolo Di Canio had had enough and chose to substitute his goalkeeper, replacing him with 18-year-old stopper Leigh Bedwell. Wes Foderingham was not happy though as he kicked a bottle back, that a cheeky North End member of staff later asked Di Canio if he wanted back!
North End had two chances for a penalty as the half wore on, firstly they were inches away as Sodje was brought down on the left hand corner of the box, Nicky Wroe’s resulting pile-driver blocked by James Collins.
And then some superb team play saw North End one touch pass the ball all the way down the right until Monakana broke into the box and was clearly felled, but the match official saw nothing.
However, the third goal came as half-time approached. Scott Laird swung over a corner from the right deep to the back post where Bailey Wright headed it goalwards and Beavon showed his poaching skills, poking home from close range.
The visitors made another change at the break brining on new signing John Bostock and they responded by starting the second half brightly, Thorsten Stuckmann making a good save from Raffaele De Vita driving in from the left. The same man then saw a cross deflect off Scott Laird onto the bar.
And it was the Italian who grabbed the Robins a lifeline just before the hour mark, firing home from the left hand corner of the box low into the bottom right hand corner.
On 65 minutes Sodje rose majestically to powerfully meet Laird's cross after another superb team move, but with Bedwell beaten the ball flew past the right hand post.
But North End had their three goal lead back ion tact exactly mid way through the second period. Another Laird corner was headed weakly out and it fell for John Welsh to hit a rasping drive from 25 yards that went through a crowd of players and into the bottom left hand corner for his first goal for the Club.
Andy Procter, a subsitute for Akpo Sodje almost scorer his first PNE goal with an excellent header from Wroe's right wing cross with ten minutes left on the clock.
Whilst David Amoo, who also came on in the closing stages, showed a clean pair of heels to the Swindon backline in the three minutes of injury time before being upended by former PNE loan man Jay McEveley, earning him a booking.
: Stuckmann, Keane, Wright, Huntington, Cansdell-Sherriff, Wroe, Welsh, Monakana (Amoo, 83), Laird, Beavon (Beardsley, 73), Sodje (Procter, 79). Subs not used: Simonsen, Buchanan, King, Hayhurst.PNE Line-up
: Foderingham (Bedwell, 21), McEveley, Flint, Devera, Navarro, Rooney (Bostock, 46), Collins, McCormack, Williams, Miller, De Vita. Subs not used: Ferry, Benson, Bessone, Ward, Rooney.Swindon Town Line-Up
: 10,372 (867 away fans)Attendance
: Mr R MadleyReferee