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MATCH REPORT: Swindon Town 1-2 Port Vale
Two brilliant strikes from Ben Garrity were enough for Port Vale to claim all three points at the County Ground as Tyreece Simpson’s second goal of the season failed to make a difference with Vale securing a 1-2 away win in Wiltshire. Total Sport Swindon’s Ryan Walker gives his match report from SN1.
Nervous defending combined with poor passing play from the home side presented Port Vale with early goalscoring opportunities as Devante Rodney called Jojo Wollacott into making a save with his shot straight at the Swindon keeper in the 6th minute of play.
Vale’s Nathan Smith almost handed Alex Gilbert the easiest goal of his career after passing straight to the Swindon man inside his box, but eventually got the ball back and kick-started a counter-attack that saw Rodney get the better of Crichlow as the visitors earned their third corner inside the opening ten minutes.
Attacking play at either end called both sets of keepers into action with Wollacott denying Ben Garrity with a header from close-range as Jack Payne was then denied by Lucas Covolan following a bright passage of attacking play.
Producing more clear-cut chances, Darrell Clarke’s side broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute as Ben Garrity, found by David Worrall’s cross from the right-wing, smashed a first-time volley past Wollacott inside the Swindon six-yard area to give the visitors the lead.
Nathan Williams was shown a yellow card minutes after the restart for stopping Swindon from taking a free-kick early as the game descended into stop-start passages of play with time-wasting and fouls from both sides restricting the flow of the game.
Port Vale’s set-piece tactics continued to put the Robins defence under pressure as throw-ins and an accumulation of corners saw Wollacott involved more than the keeper would have liked to have been, with his opposite number going relatively untested.
Rodney should have doubled Vale’s lead in the 35th minute after a through ball split Swindon’s defensive pairing of Conroy and Crichlow, before rounding Wollacott. But with an open goal to aim at he forced himself wide with a heavy touch allowing Swindon to re-organise with the eventual attack ending with a corner that came to nothing.
Gilbert rounded off Swindon’s most positive period of play just before half-time with his 20-yard shot requiring two saves from Covolan as he spilt the initial shot before eventually gathering the ball under no pressure.
Tyreece Simpson was shown a yellow card on the stroke of half-time after nicking the ball off the feet of Covolan as the goalkeeper attempted to take a goal-kick.
Port Vale left for half-time with their lead intact and deservedly so with Swindon below-par and struggling to establish themselves in the game.
Having been Swindon’s most dangerous player throughout the first-half, Gilbert was immediately involved from the restart as his cross along the face of the Vale goal was tapped into the net by Simpson at the back-post for his second goal of the season.
More brilliant play from the assist-maker saw Gilbert nearly grab his first goal for the club as he breezed past his opposite number to get into the Vale box and shooting hard towards the near-post with Covolan up to the task as he parried the effort behind for a corner.
A host of changes for both teams saw the game spark into life again after a period of little attacking play with Gladwin’s diagonal ball to the Vale back-post in the 67th minute put back across goal by Gilbert when a shot would’ve been the better option.
Simpson clattered the crossbar with a long-range effort in the 72nd minute as a host of changes from both sides kick-started a frantic end to proceedings.
Having failed to produce any notable chances in the second-half, Vale capitalised on a moment confusion amongst the Swindon defence as Conroy and Crichlow failed to clear, Gibbons smashed a close-range effort off the post with Garrity following up with another powerful strike to put the visitors back in the lead with just ten minutes left.
Swindon’s desperation to get back into the game saw the home players produce a host of individual errors as the clock ticked on with Vale’s defensive organisation giving Swindon no clear-cut chances in front of goal.
Despite five minutes of added time, Swindon could do very little to ruffle the Port Vale defence as The Valiants claimed all three points at the County Ground for the first time since 2005.
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