“IF you want to be at the top of the league come May, those are the sort of games you have to find a way to win – we did that.”

Swindon Town head coach Ben Garner felt his side showed their promotion credentials during a 2-1 win away at Newport County on Saturday.

With an eventful game poised at 1-1 heading into the final five minutes – thanks to a Finn Azaz own-goal and a Dom Telford equaliser 60 seconds later – Jack Payne stepped up to blast home an 88th-minute winner and propel Town up to fourth in League Two.

A combination of a sluggish start from Swindon and an impressive Newport display saw many predicting a home success at half-time, however, Garner’s men rallied and showed the spirit that has served them so well this campaign.

Asked if that was the sort of game that promoted teams win, Garner said: “I think so. I think you’ve got to show that character. We weren’t at our best, relative to other performances this season. Part of that was down to how well they played, and part of that was our own doing.

“But to win it late on and take that three points – you’re not going to play brilliantly every game and you’re not going to be clicked into gear where everything is smooth.

“If you want to be up at the top of the league at the end of the season, those ones are the sort of games you have to find a way to win – I think we did that.”

The visitors began slowly at Rodney Parade and regularly made uncharacteristic mistakes as the home crowd roared County on.

But after surviving a few periods of white-hot Exiles pressure, Town emerged from the battle with win number eight.

Garner said: “I was a little bit frustrated at the start of the first half because I didn’t see that in training this week. I thought we looked sharp, and the intensity was good, but (on Saturday) we were making errors that we wouldn’t normally make.

“And not even forced errors through good pressure, it was just a little bit of carelessness and a lack of concentration. That frustrates me because we pride ourselves on taking care and concentrating.

“Maybe it was a case of getting back into the swing of things after not playing for a bit, but after that first period I thought we got going and passed the ball far better.”