Match report: Swindon Town 3 - 0 Harrogate Town

By Alfie Howlett - 27 February 2023


A match report from Swindon Link's STFC correspondent Alfie Howlett.

In the reverse meeting of the opening day of the season, Swindon secured a reverse scoreline to dispatch Harrogate Town by three goals to nil.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy notched his first league goal for the club as part of his emphatic brace, and Joe Tomlinson scored on his second debut for Swindon to hand Town all three points in a mixed performance.

After gaining his first win as Town gaffer, Jody Morris made two changes to the starting eleven which conquered Salford City 2-1.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy came into the side after completing his suspension for the suspended Saidou Khan, and Jonny Williams replaced the injured Frazer Blake-Tracey. Swindon, who sat tenth, welcomed a Harrogate Town side who found themselves hanging precariously close to the drop zone.

The game got underway with neither side able to initially stamp their authority on preceedings. However, the first chance of the game brought Swindon's first goal after eight minutes. Remeao Hutton capitalised on a miss placed Harrogate header as he swung a delivery towards the back post. There Rushian Hepburn-Murphy rose the highest to precisely head the ball back to where it came from leaving Oxley helpless in the Harrogate goal.

Despite Harrogate offering little threat, Swindon never really looked assured of their lead. On 25 minutes Kazeem Olaigbe had Harrogate’s first attempt of the afternoon when he cut on to his right foot and fired a powerful effort towards the frame of Brynn.

Past the half hour mark Remeao Hutton almost created Town's second of the game when he cut the ball back to Jacob Wakeling inside the box. However, the youngster selected the wrong option as his heavy touch narrowed the angle forcing him to lash over from close range.

Swindon did however, extend their advantage prior to half time with Hepburn-Murphy's second of the afternoon. Some nice build up play down the left flank resulted in Ellis Iandolo slipping Jacob Wakeling into the box. Wakeling's cross into the box then took a wicked deflection taking the ball into the path of Hepburn-Murphy who slashed home leaving Oxley stranded as the ball trickled past him.

Swindon nearly wrapped up the contest just five minutes into the second half. After playing a one two with Hepburn-Murphy, Jacob Wakeling burst into the box where he found Charlie Austin on the penalty spot.

However, Austin's heavy touch allowed the on rushing Oxley to smother his effort. The opening exchanges of the second half also saw Harrogate demonstrate much more intent. On 54 minutes they offered Town a warning sign as Daniel Grant found room outside the box to test Brynn with a low effort.

Then, minutes later with a helping hand from a loose Ellis Iandolo back pass, Luke Armstrong stole in only to fire a shot straight down Brynn's throat.

But with 12 minutes to go substitute Joe Tomlinson wrapped up all three points for The Robins. The Peterborough loanee showcased his endeavour as he won the ball inside the box and then struck an effort on goal.

Despite Anthony O’Connor blocking the shot, Tomlinson climbed highest to head home a goal completely of his own making. Prior to the conclusion Ellis Iandolo found Ronan Darcy inside the box where the substitute stung the finger tips of Oxley with a goal bound effort. Then, after an additional four minutes of added on time the whistle went to signal Jody Morris' first home victory.

Despite a comfortable outing Swindon's performance was anything but convincing. However, The Robins can be happy with their clinical nature and another clean sheet for Sol Brynn.

The only blot on the landscape comes in the form of the nasty injury centre half Ciaran Brennan suffered in the first half, which leaves Town with just one fully fit centre back at the club. It's a problem which could be potentially exploited as they travel to Richie Wellens table topping Leyton Orient next weekend. 

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