Port Vale welcomed the visit of Swindon Town in this afternoon’s home fixture at Vale Park. The Robins travelled to Burslem in good away form after having not lost in five of their seven away games this season. Vale were looking to extend their winning run to four games after leaving Exeter triumphant last Saturday.
In a half that was not rich in goal-scoring chances from either side, both teams came out of the blocks quickly despite what the stats say.
With heavy challenges flying-in and bursts of impressive inter-play on both left wings, clear-cut chances were few and far between.
Vale began the first half as they meant to go on, delivering balls into the box to Pope as and when they could.
Good play between Montano and Harness on the left was the pick of the action, releasing Harness to pull the ball back to Pope, but the ball was nicked away at the last. This prompted the fans to get into fine voice and urge their team forward.
Equally, Swindon’s left win was just as impressive in their build-up play, but not their final ball. Good play between Keshi Anderson and Donal McDermott put the Vale defence on the back foot, but the back four stood tall and dealt with the questions, none more so than James Gibbons.
The Robins did have the ball in the back of the net briefly but was soon ruled out by the referee for a foul. It was Matt Preston who rose to head Taylor’s freekick in off the post.
A minute before the half-time whistle, Reice Charles-Cook should be counting himself lucky as he dropped a cross and was nearly caught out by David Worrall. Luckily for himself, Charles-Cook reacted quick enough to his initial mistake.
The teams went in level at the break after a hard-fought first half at Vale Park.
HALF-TIME: Port Vale 0 - 0 Swindon Town
It took only six minutes for the deadlock to be broken after the second half got underway, and it went the visitors’ way.
Matt Taylor it was who handed the Robins the lead with a trademark freekick that flew into the top corner from 25-yards.
Vale immediately fought back and were only inches from drawing level after Tom Anderson rose to meet Worrall’s corner, but his header bounced wide.
Vale were building the pressure getting forward at every moment and Swindon could not quell their attacks. Harness’ effort was the pick of the bunch after unleashing a 30-yard curling effort that had ‘keeper Charles-Cook scrambling backwards, but he was on hand to pluck the ball out of the air, despite a little fumble.
With 20 minutes left on the clock, Swindon doubled their lead through Paul Mullin after hesitation from debutant ‘keeper Dimitar Evtimov allowed the Robins man to nod into a half-open net.
Vale tried to mount a fight back, but as a result of pushing more men forward, were left vulnerable at the back.
Timi Elsnik played Harry Smith in down the right, who had Kellan Gordon up with him for support. The big striker laid the ball off to the substitute who tapped into an open net with his first touch.
Vale did have a chance for a consolation. The ball fell to Pope in the middle of the box, but his turning effort was deflected just past the post and out for a corner.
FULL-TIME: Port Vale 0 – 3 Swindon Town
Port Vale: Evtimov, Gibbons, Anderson, Smith, Gunning, Kay (72), Pugh, Montano (57), Worrall, Harness, Pope.
SUBS: Boot, Davis, Denton, Tonge, Stobbs (72), Turner, Barnett (57)
Swindon Town: Charles-Cook, Purkiss, Preston, Lancashire ©, Taylor, Dunne, Goddard (61), Linganzi, McDermott (69), Anderson (80), Smith
SUBS: Henry, Roberston, Mullin (69), Elsnik (61), Gordon (80), Woolery, Knoyle