MARK Cooper revealed a few stern half-time words helped his Swindon Town side to their 2-1 victory at Tranmere Rovers last night.

Town recorded successive League One wins for the first time since November 16 thanks to Alex Smith’s thunderbolt opener in the 11th minute and Miles Storey’s somewhat fortunate goal midway through the second period at Prenton Park.

Tranmere hit the frame of the goal twice, through Ryan Lowe and Max Power, and controlled the match around its halfway point but Cooper gave his players a thorough talking to at the interval and it seemed to do the trick, as they secured the win which lifted them to within four points of the play-offs.

The Robins boss said afterwards: “Desire, energy and no small matter of good football – if you put those three together then you’ve got a good chance of winning games.

“We didn’t play particularly well in the first half and had a few choice words at half-time and, apart from the first couple of minutes of the second half, I thought we played okay.

“They just needed to be a little bit better with the ball. I said ‘stop trying to do your best to give Tranmere any encouragement’ which we did numerous times. In the second half, apart from the opening minute when they hit the crossbar, I thought we controlled possession.”

Storey’s winner was a dainty, right-footed effort from the right wing which on first glance appeared to be a cross.

Cooper said of the goal: “He told me he meant it. Didn’t he? I thought we were due one of them. We’ve not had a lot of luck and when you work as hard as Miles did tonight you deserve a bit of luck.”

Meanwhile, Lee Cox was given half an hour off the bench, his first appearance for Town since the 2-1 win over Plymouth Argyle in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy on October 8, and his manager was delighted with the 23-year-old’s efforts.

“Coxy was outstanding when he came on,” he said. “The midfield boys in the first half were a little bit casual with the ball.

“He is (out of contract) but whether he’s with us or with someone else, if he plays like that then he’s going to be fine.”