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REACTION: Garner delighted with First-Leg win

Gaffer on Port Vale win in Playoff Semi-Final

15 May 2022


REACTION: Garner delighted with First-Leg win

Gaffer on Port Vale win in Playoff Semi-Final

15 May 2022

Swindon Town Head Coach Ben Garner was delighted with his team after they drew first blood in their 2021-22 EFL Sky Bet League Two Playoff Semi-Final by beating Port Vale 2-1 in the First-Leg at The County Ground on Sunday.

In what was a hard-fought contest at SN1, Harry McKirdy blew the roof off The County Ground by glancing home the opener in the first-half.

McKirdy scored his second goal of the afternoon after the break to put Town in the driving seat, but James Wilson pounced late on to pull one back for Vale with there now being all to play for in the Second-Leg at Vale Park on Thursday.

And, in the wake of the game, Town Head Coach Ben Garner sat down with the media to give his thoughts on the win, the performance and more...


"We won the game which is great and we're going to do the same on Thursday to try and win the Second-Leg as well.

"There will be no change to our approach in terms of how we've approached every away game this season.

"I thought good first-half, I thought we allowed it to become a little bit end-to-end, a little bit fight ball in the second-half for a spell of it, and I don't think the officiating helped the game if I'm being honest.

"There were five fouls in the first two minutes and I felt he (the referee) should have clamped down and if you set the tone, boom it allows the game to flow and I don't think that happened.

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"But we then got better control and I didn't see them scoring, if anything I thought we'd go on and get a third, but we're delighted with the win and we're looking forward to Thursday now.

"I thought we defended ever so well today from open play and set-pieces. I thought both centre-backs were brilliant today, absolutely brilliant and you know you've got to stand up to the direct balls, the second balls and I thought we really restricted them in the second-half. 

"Second-half I just felt we could have been a little bit better on the turnovers with the ball, I expect us to be better on Thursday on a pitch that suits us."

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"It is the second time this season Harry (McKirdy) has done that (score with a glancing header), actually.

"It is a great ball in and he timed his movement and a little flicked header, so really pleased with that because we work hard on set-pieces.

"It was a great second goal as well.

"I thought it was a brilliant move, really decisive, their keeper makes a great save from Payney (Jack Payne) and it was a really good finish from Harry because it wasn't easy, it was up and he got his knee up over the ball and controlled it beautifully in the corner.

"Really, really good finish."

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"There were some good opportunities. The one where we broke from their corner springs to mind straightaway, and one or two others. 

"I thought we were going to sit at 2-0 pretty comfortably and Harry was breaking, it looked like a foul, I haven't seen it back and then you get a drop-ball restart and it allows them to put one in our box, a couple of ricochets and we're unfortunate with where it dropped.

"As I said, delighted to win the game and we look ahead to the Second-Leg.

"We've won the first one, fantastic, we'll now go and try and win on Thursday.

"I expect us to go there and perform well on Thursday. We can play a lot better, I thought we were good but I know there's a lot more in the dressing room to raise that performance on Thursday."


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