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MATCH REPORT: Swindon Town (3) v (0) Port Vale
SWINDON TOWN returned to winning ways as they brushed aside Port Vale and ran out 3-0 winners thanks to a debut goal from Hallam Hope alongside an own-goal and a free-kick from Michael Doughty. Total Sport Swindon's Rajan Hothi gives his report from SN1.
Hallam Hope was given his debut, after signing during the week, as Kaiyne Woolery started up top in the absence of Jerry Yates.
Swindon were keen to avenge the defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture where they failed to get going against a physical Vale side, but both sides struggled to impose themselves on the game in the opening exchanges.
Swindon failed to play their natural game in the opening 20 minutes with a lot of long-balls going astray as Vale set-out to frustrate the league leaders.
However, the game sprung into life after 25 minutes. Good work from Diallang Jaiyesimi saw him shrug off his man and force a smart stop from Scott Brown. The ball came back into the box from Hope, and Edmonds-Green saw his looping effort hit the top of the bar as Town looked to get their noses in front.
Swindon were starting to find their rhythm and Woolery almost pounced on a defensive mix-up, but he only managed to hit the side netting from the edge of the box.
Vale looked vulnerable to Swindon's press and a well-worked move saw Edmonds-Green tee up Woolery, though the latter saw his effort saved by Brown at his near post.
The visitors were lucky to have 11 men following a strong challenge by Will Atkinson after 33 minutes. Atkinson went in two-footed on Anthony Grant, but referee Craig Hicks let the midfielder off with a booking.
However Town didn't let this frustrate them, and Swindon took a deserved lead after 40 minutes. A loose ball fell into the path of Jaiyesimi in the box who saw his shot deflected off Vale skipper Leon Legge to put the hosts in front.
Town extended their lead just four minutes later courtesy of a debut goal for Hallam Hope. A fantastic pass from Doughty cut open Vale's defence to slip through Rob Hunt, and the full-backs inviting cross was tucked home by Hope at the back-post.
Swindon weren't at their best in the first-half but went into the half-time interval deservedly 2-0 ahead with John Askey's side struggling to carve open many chances.
The Valiants had to put in a better shift in the second-half if they were to grab anything from the game, and they could've pulled one back early in the second-half. Mark Cullen had all the time in the world in the box, but the former Blackpool striker hit his chance over the bar.
Down the other end, Jaiyesimi was causing Vale all sorts of problems and had another effort well saved by Brown.
Hope was the next Swindon man to test Vale's keeper as he saw his header saved at the back-post by Brown with the visitors hanging on by a thread.
Swindon's relentless pressure in the second-half eventually paid off. Doughty wrapped up the three points with a beautifully curled free-kick from 25-yards that left Brown with no chance, and put Town 3-0 up just after the hour-mark.
Askey's outfit were really struggling to contain Swindon, and Woolery was inches away from adding a fourth as he saw his close-range effort crash off the post.
Jaiyesimi was putting in one of his best performances to date in a Swindon shirt, and skipped past the challenges of Shaun Brisley and Legge, but could only hit wide as Town went in search of a fourth.
Swindon couldn't find a fourth, but ran out comfortable winners in a much-improved performance to the one they put in at Newport last week. Town next face Colchester away on Tuesday night as Swindon look to beat another promotion challenging side.