Alfie Howlett writes a report of Saturday's Swindon Town football match.
Swindon fell to just their second league defeat, of the season, on Saturday after being edged out by a physical Port Vale side.
The Robins were looking to extend their unbeaten stretch to 6 games whereas Port Vale were coming off the back of 2 consecutive defeats. Swindon were also looking to give chairman Clem Morfuni one last hurrah before he returned to Australia.
Port Vale stamped their authority on the game early on with a string of corners. Already in the opening stages you could tell Vale would be direct, physical and attempt to restrict Swindon's fluent game plan. 7 minutes in Jojo Wollacott produced a good save down low to deny Devante Rodney. 7 minutes later Wollacott was on hand again to save a header from Jamie Proctor.
With Swindon struggling to hit their straps Port Vale took the lead half way through the first half. Ben Garrity played David Worrall through into acres of space on the right flank. Worrall then picked out Garrity making his way into the box.
The Vale number 8 then produced an excellent first time volley into the Swindon goal from just around the penalty spot. Perhaps you could argue that Worrall had far too much time to pick his ball. But at the same time 9 times out of 10 the attacker would volley that opportunity well over the bar.
It's at the half an hour mark that I thought that the Port Vale formation and tactics were spot on. The 3-5-2 was crowding the middle of the park not allowing Gladwin and Reed to dictate the play and also giving Jack Payne very few pockets of space.
This was the reason why Swindon just weren't fluent going forward. Vale could've found themselves 2 up in the 35th minute had it not been for a slice of luck. Devante Rodney took the ball past Jojo Wollacott only for the Port Vale centre forward to lose his footing allowing Swindon to recover and clear the danger. That concluded the first half in which the visitors went in one goal to the good.
Unlike the first Swindon flew out of the blocks in the second half. They were rewarded 4 minutes in with the perfect team goal. After a string of passes Gladwin from deep played Gilbert into the box. The young Brentford loanee put the ball across the face of goal leaving Tyreece Simpson with a simple close range finish.
It was the first real clear cut chance for Town and it was a perfect example of just how this team can play under Ben Garner. Minutes later Gilbert nearly turned goalscorer. The youngster found himself outside the penalty area on the left with 2 defenders in his way. He then produced a sublime piece of skill to put the ball between the defenders to find himself in the box. He then fired a shot at the keeper from a tight angle.
Just on the hour mark Wollacott produced another fine save this time from a Jamie Proctor shot following a corner. On the 67th minute Gladwin from deep played a pin point ball to Gilbert inside the box however his first time shot went just wide. Minutes later Swindon came within inches of taking the lead. Tyreece Simpson with not much on tried his luck from around 20 yards out. The strikers left footed shot looped over Lucas Couocan only for his effort to cannon off the crossbar.
With 85 on the clock Port Vale came away with all 3 points. James Gibbons hit the post with a curling effort from outside the box. The ball fell to Garrity who was on hand to smash home his and Vales second. Despite 1 or 2 half chances Swindon couldn't find their way back a second time. Which completed a disappointing afternoon for Garner and his team. I'd just say it was one of those days. One of those days where you come up against a well organised opposition and just can't get your own game going.