Match report posted by John_ (view the full thread on the forum )
Swindon's recent good form continued with a comfortable 2-0 victory at Port Vale yesterday. The man of the hour was Lukas Magera as Paolo Di Canio's decision to start the big Czech striker for the first time since the 2-0 defeat at Macclesfield was vindicated.
Magera played a hand in both Town goals. Firstly finishing a flowing move with low 20-yard drive into the corner of the net on 25 minutes -His first goal in English football. And secondly, he won a penalty after the Vale full-back Yates pushed him to the ground trying to win a header. Regarding the penalty, the highlights may seem to give the impression of a rather soft decision, but what you didn't see, from the fans perspective behind the goal, was a clear shove on Lukas. Arguably he went down a bit too easily for a man of his size, but make no mistake, it was a penalty. Half-time sub Mehdi Kerrouche confidently stroked it into the roof of the net.
For the remainder of the game, we had chances to increase our lead and if I've any complaint to make it's the fact we didn't kill off Port Vale once and for all. Matt Ritchie wasted our best chance firing narrowly over when a bit of calm and composure would've helped. It's hard to sum up Port Vale. In the final third they were terrible, their build up play was reasonable in the sense they could pass it around (sideways) but inevitably the final ball would be overhit or any promising move hit a brick wall called Aden Flint. In fact the only time in the entire game I thought they were going to score was inside the first 20 minutes when Jon Smith's terrible hashed clearance fell straight to a loitering Vale player who fired a shot goalbound. If it had been on target it would've gone in. The power and pace would have seen to that. Thankfully, it went inches wide of the post. It was a let off. Talking of Smith, aside from that mistake and a couple of lesser offences I thought he ran his socks off today. One of those unsung heroes, if you will, who you don't seem to notice but is always in the thick of the action.
Our best chance in the early stages was Gabilondo cutting inside his marker and firing a bullet shot that had home keeper Tomlinson diving to palm away. Of course I hadn't paid much attention to the line-ups at the start and was left thinking to myself that 'De Vita' is sure looking more energetic and speedy! Oops!
The game slowed down after that and we engaged Vale in some trench warfare in the middle of the park. The very vocal 500+ Town fans had basically turned this into a home game for us and we were certainly looking the more confident team. Nothing beats 3 quick passes amongst team-mates to leave the opposition confused and chasing shadows. Caddis and Ritchie were working well in unison. It was quite reminiscent of Amankwaah and JP McGovern overlapping/covering each other from days gone by. Liam Ridehalgh put in a good shift. I'd quite happily have him as a permanent addition, if finances and Huddersfield dictate. That'll be a no then!
Magera's opening strike was a result of quick-thinking from Gabilondo who, having received after Vale lost possession, played in Lukas who drove home from the edge of the 'D'. Up until half-time we were comfortable.
The second half began in the worst possible fashion for Vale as a high ball towards the back post, and Magera, saw Adam Yates foul the target man as I alluded to earlier. Kerrouche doing the needful. His 6th league goal of the season.
Straight after, Ritchie nearly got through again as the home side buckled. It took a good 10 minutes of Town dominance before Port Vale found some renewed energy themselves. The home support - apparently there were over 4000 of them - were restless. I was pretty sure I could here booing at various stages during the second half.
Although Vale probably won the battle of possession in the last half hour they seldom made any use of it. It could even be argued that Town were now content to sit back and see out time. Any pot shots Vale did have on goal were gobbled up by Wes Foderingham who was well on his way to making it 5 clean sheets out of 5! Top man! That's another player on my Christmas/January wish-list!
For the last 20 minutes various sections of the home crowd drifted towards the exits and of course that already age old chant of "Is there a fire drill" sprang into action. Alan Connell came on for another cameo. If there was one player desperate for us to get a third it was Alan. He had a few sniffs but to no avail.
To conclude, this was a comfortable win on the road for Town. We look confident, motivated and full of ideas and invention. This victory, against one of the supposed better teams, can only bode well and send a message to all our rivals.
I'll leave with the words of Port Vale manager Micky Adams who on the back page of Saturday's local Stoke paper - 'The Weekend Sentinel' quoted: "If you speak to Paolo, he'll tell you Swindon play the beautiful game. But the reports we've had about them don't quite match up to what he says".
Hee-haw Micky, Hee-Haw!