SQUAD rotation played a key part in Swindon Town’s dramatic 2-1 victory over League Two strugglers Macclesfield Town on Saturday, according to manager Richie Wellens.

The Swindon boss praised the impact that his three substitutes made, particularly James Dunne, as Jak McCourt struck in injury time at Moss Rose to keep the visitors' play-off frame deficit at seven points.

Wellens made four changes for Saturday’s game, with Michael Doughty and Matt Taylor absentees from the team alongside Elijah Adebayo and Sid Nelson, who have returned to their parent clubs from loan spells.

Doughty and Taylor were both dropped for the same reason as Dunne was on New Year’s Day, as fatigue and tiredness starts to assert itself on the players following a busy Christmas schedule.

And Wellens insists that the rest worked wonders for Dunne, who was described by the Town boss as his best player in Saturday’s concluding half-an-hour.

Wellens said: “Michael Doughty and Matt Taylor have looked a bit leggy lately – and Doughty has played every week after a bit of time out.

“Our best player for the last half-an-hour was James Dunne. He was outstanding, he got to every second ball and made the right decisions.

“That was because he looked leggy and we took him out for a week or so and now he has a spring in his step.”

The result has lifted Swindon into the top half of the table, now sitting 12th with 36 points from 27 games.

But Wellens was most pleased by his side’s first goal as striker Marc Richards headed McCourt’s accurate free-kick to level the game with eight minutes remaining in the first half.

Richards’ header was Town’s first goal from a set-piece – excluding Taylor’s free-kicks – since Scott Twine reacted quickest to a rebound to put Swindon two goals up against Stevenage in late November.

Not relying on their positive counter-attack movement – which ultimately won Saturday’s tie at Moss Rose – is key for Wellens if his side are to launch a play-off bid.

He added: “We hit the winner, but we could have scored three or four – we could’ve scored a dozen goals in the last four or five games through our counter-attacking.

“That is a pleasing aspect of our game, but we’re not going to score every week on the counter attack.

“So to score from a set play was a hallelujah moment, purely because of the amount of corners and free kicks that we have had.

“Marc Richards is an experienced striker who can get into positions and score from set plays. There are a lot of positives to take, and scoring from a set play is one of them.”