Carlisle United's prodigal son Gary Madine played a hero's role on his return to Brunton Park, scoring the goal which kept his side's survival hopes alive.

Madine has rejoined his former club on loan from Sheffield Wednesday in a bid to re-ignite a career which was temporarily halted by an 18-month jail sentence for assault charges.

Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper was in no doubt about the significant role taken by Madine, who was a constant threat to the Robins' back line.

"Their centre-forward was the difference. If Madine played for us we would have won the game comfortably," said Cooper.

"We didn't threaten their goal enough.

"In the second half we had a lot of possession and should have had something out of the game.

"We had really good chances but they need to go in if you are to win the game.

"I was pleased with most parts of the game. We totally dominated possession, but you are only as good as your front men and we didn't finish it off."

Cooper added: "The transfer window is shut and no-one will be coming in, but we have got to make sure it is right for next year.

"If you ask the Carlisle players they have done a lot of chasing the ball, but you have got to put the ball in the net and it's frustrating.

"The only problem for me is at the front end of the pitch. At half-time I felt we needed more drive and made two early substitutions which worked and we dominated the second half.

"Carlisle are fighting for their lives and you could see that at the end."

Cooper was left to lament two missed chances which fell to Michael Smith and Alex Pritchard straight after half-time.

Both times Swindon had players through on goal only to fire shots straight at goalkeeper Jordan Pitchford. The Sunderland loanee also proved his alertness to turn away a fierce 25-yard free-kick from Alex Smith.

Madine was outstanding for Carlisle and drilled home the 38th-minute winner with a quick turn after Brad Potts' driving run and low cut back had created the opportunity.

But for a brilliant Wes Foderingham save Madine would have doubled his tally,

Carlisle manager Graham Kavanagh agreed with his opposite number that Madine's contribution had been decisive.

He said: "There were some excellent performances, especially from Gary.

"He told me he was going to score and he did. It's a massive three points for us.

"Gary understands the role he needs to play for us and has the pace and energy to do it. He is a real threat."

Carlisle ended a run of eight games without a win and Kavanagh added: "I thought we were the better team and created the better chances.

"We should have had a penalty and their keeper made a great save from Gary.

"The win was a long time coming. That's three clean sheets in the bounce and we managed to get a goal.

"We are clearly doing something right in defence and the way we set out gave us the option of playing two up top."