Port Vale fell to defeat on Saturday afternoon as Swindon Town prevailed at Vale Park, with Richie Wellens’ side running out as 1-0 winners courtesy of a first-half strike from Elijah Adebayo.
Swindon were dealt a blow prior to kick-off as former Vale man, Marc Richards, was forced to pull out of the starting line-up due to injury. Adebayo was the man selected to replace him, and he was at the heart of the Robins’ first attack, only for Nathan Smith to avert the danger.
It was the visitors who took the lead on 11 minutes, however, and it was Adebayo who provided the decisive touch from close range. Scott Brown did well to save Scott Twine’s initial backheeled volley, but the rebound fell to the striker who planted it into the back of the net to finish off a well-worked move.
Neil Aspin’s Valants did have a chance to find an equaliser on 23 minutes after Luke Hannant was fouled on the edge of the area, but Tom Conlon’s effort from the resulting free-kick was well gathered by Swindon goalkeeper, Lawrence Vigouroux.
With 27 minutes played, Keshi Anderson was handed an opportunity to double Swindon’s lead after Leon Legge lost possession just outside his own area. Fortunately for Vale, the winger was only able to drag his strike into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Ben Whitfield then saw a deflected effort drop the wrong side of the post on the half-hour mark following good combination with Tom Pope. Twine then spurned a chance up the other end just a minute later, heading straight into the hands of Brown, before Anderson flashed a powerful effort narrowly off target.
Vale’s best chance of the first half came with 38 minutes on the clock as Conlon sent in a pinpoint delivery from a corner. It was Pope who then peeled off his marker before making great contact with his head, but his effort fell just wide of the far post with Vigouroux transfixed.
The Valiants made two changes at the break as Theo Vassell and Louis Dodds were introduced, and the latter looked to make an immediate impact as he powered a strike just over from 25 yards just one minute into the second half. He then found Whitfield with a superb pass almost immediately afterwards, but the midfielder’s shot was blocked.
As Vale continued to look dangerous going forward, they were left appealing for a penalty when the ball looked to have struck a defender’s arm inside the area on 54 minutes, only for the referee to wave away the protests. Hannant then attempted an overhead kick shortly afterwards, but his strike cannoned off a defender before being cleared.
Vale’s next opening came with just 15 minutes left to play as Whitfield did well to hassle a defender into conceding a corner. Conlon’s delivery then found the head of Connell Rawlinson and he did well to direct the ball on target, but Steven Alzate was on hand to clear it off the line.
Scott Quigley was then thrown into the game as the hosts searched for a goal, and he had an opportunity to level proceedings on 82 minutes. Legge’s initial flick on found the striker inside the six-yard area, but he couldn’t generate enough power to trouble Vigouroux, and that proved to be the final meaningful action of the contest.
Port Vale: Scott Brown, Cristian Montano (Louis Dodds 45’), Luke Joyce (Scott Quigley 78’), Leon Legge, Tom Pope ©, Luke Hannant, Connell Rawlinson, Nathan Smith, Tom Conlon, Mitch Clark (Theo Vassell 45’), Ben Whitfield.
Unused Substitutes: Sam Hornby, Antony Kay, Lewis Hardcastle, Idris Kanu.
Swindon Town: Lawrence Vigouroux, Kyle Knoyle, Sid Nelson, Luke Woolfenden, Ellis Iandolo, Matt Taylor, Jak McCourt (Michael Doughty 62), Steven Alzate, Scott Twine (Olly Lancashire 90+4’), Keshi Anderson (Jermaine McGlashan 81’), Elijah Adebayo.
Unused Substitutes: Luke McCormick, Martin Smith, Marc Richards, Dion Conroy.
Attendance: 3,877 (302 away).