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MATCH REPORT: Walsall 0-3 Swindon Town

Reds secure a Playoff berth

7 May 2022

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Swindon Town secured a place in the 2021-22 EFL Sky Bet League Two Playoffs after beating Walsall 3-0 on the final day of the season at The Bank's Stadium.

Harry McKirdy's stunning effort gave the Reds an early, early lead and another excellent strike from Jack Payne padded the cushion a little bit more.

Payne made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time after converting from the penalty spot, and the first-half damage was enough to secure a place in the Playoffs for Town. 

Town Head Coach Ben Garner opted for just the one change with Ellis Iandolo returning from suspension to replace Akin Odimayo in the Starting XI, with the latter dropping to the bench.

Knowing a win would secure their place in the Playoffs, the Reds looked to get off to a dream start and they did just that thanks to Harry McKirdy who smashed home a superb strike from distance to send the 3,500 travelling fans into raptures.

Huge credit had to go to Mandela Egbo in the build-up who burst into the box and saw his shot blocked, leading to McKirdy scoring the opening goal of the game.

Lewis Ward then produced a fine save to somehow keep out George Miller's header, although it wouldn't have counted with the offside flag already up.

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Walsall responded well to going a goal down and they went close to restoring parity just shy of the 15-minute mark as Brendan Kiernan fired inches wide of the post.

Josh Davison had a chance but his shot was well blocked by Donervon Daniels, before he was played in nicely but he could only fire a shot straight at Carl Rushworth from a tight angle. 

Town would extend their lead with 24-minutes played, though, as Jack Payne charged into space before smashing home an unstoppable strike from 20-yards out.

Walsall went back on the offensive in order to try and find a way back into the game as Tyrese Shade drilled wide, before Miller sent an overhead kick just over the bar after the hosts had won a succession of corners.

With the first-half in stoppage time, Town were able to add a third with McKirdy brought down after charging towards goal, leading to Payne stepping up and converting from the penalty spot.

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HALF-TIME: WALSALL 0-3 SWINDON TOWN 

After a quiet start to the second-half, Town made their first change of the game with Jonny Williams being replaced by Ben Gladwin.

Emmanuel Osadebe dragged a shot wide for the hosts with Town very much in cruise control, while Osadebe also thumped a free-kick just past the post as the game entered its closing stages.

Swindon then made another change as Akin Odimayo replaced Mandela Egbo, before they made their third and final sub of the day with Mathieu Baudry making way for Jake O'Brien.

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Kiernan had forced Ward into an easy save just before that last change, but Town were able to see the rest of the game out with ease to ensure the season was extended for at least a little bit longer.

FINAL-SCORE: WALSALL 0-3 SWINDON TOWN

TEAMS & STATS

WALSALL STARTING XI - Rushworth; White (C), Daniels, Monthe (Mat Sadler 88), Kiernan, Kinsella, Osadebe, Miller, Earing (Jack Shaw 87), Shade, Devine (Sam Perry 62). 

SUBS NOT USED - Rose, Leak, Rodney, Menayese.

BOOKED - Manny Monthe.

SWINDON TOWN STARTING XI - Ward; Iandolo, Conroy (C), Baudry (Jake O'Brien 77), Davison, Payne, McKirdy, Egbo (Akin Odimayo 73), Barry, Williams (Ben Gladwin 57), Reed.

SUBS NOT USED - Wollacott, Mitchell-Lawson, Aguiar, Parsons. 

SCORERS - Harry McKirdy (03), Jack Payne (24, 45).

BOOKED - Jonny Williams, Louis Reed.

Referee - Samuel Barrott.

Attendance - 9,089 (3,590 Away Fans). 


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