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MATCH REPORT: Swindon Town 3-0 Harrogate Town

Hepburn-Murphy brace and Tomlinson debut goal sees Robins make it back to back league wins…

25 February 2023

Swindon Town netted three times without reply to earn a second successive league win and record a comfortable 3-0 victory over Harrogate Town at the County Ground.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy scored twice to give Town a 2-0 lead at the break, before substitute Joe Tomlinson marked his SN1 return with a goal of his own, with the only negative of the day an injury to centre-back Ciaran Brennan in first-half stoppage time.

Looking to build some momentum after getting back to winning ways last weekend at Salford City, Jody Morris made two changes to the side that ended a run of three straight defeats against The Ammies for The Robins latest test.

Jonny Williams returned from a spell out with concussion to spearhead the midfield, with Rushian Hepburn-Murphy taking his place on the left wing following some time out after his red card at Newport.

The injured Frazer Blake-Tracy and suspended Saidou Khan made way.

With Morris calling on his charges to start games brighter and stamp their authority early on, his players responded perfectly with just eight minutes of the game gone.

A lofted ball forward from George McEachran caused confusion in the Harrogate backline, leaving Remeao Hutton free to cross for Hepburn-Murphy to head home into the bottom right hand corner of the net, and Swindon were a goal to the good.


Then a minute later they almost doubled their advantage, as another clever clipped pass from McEachran into the box for Ellis Iandolo saw him volley the ball across the face of goal at pace, but it was just too high for the onrushing Jacob Wakeling to make contact.

Two early bookings for Sulphurites duo Josh Falkingham and Jack Muldoon followed soon after as we reached the 20-minute mark, and four minutes later the visitors created their first effort on goal.

Muldoon was sent clear on the left flank, and his clever switch of play inside to Southampton loanee Kazeem Olaigbe sent him into the box to try his luck on goal, but his shot was caught well by Sol Brynn.

Swindon Town then carved out another good opportunity to extend the scoreline, as Remeao Hutton was sent through with a defence-splitting pass from Jake Cain to cut it back for Jacob Wakeling, but under pressure, the forward was forced to switch feet and shoot with his right, sending his effort over the bar.

Then, with half-time fast approaching, Swindon found the tonic to extend their lead, as Hepburn-Murphy grabbed his second of the afternoon on 40-minutes.

Ellis Iandolo slotted Jacob Wakeling in with a disguised pass on the left, and the attacker cut the ball back across goal to the winger, who did well to avoid fellow strike partner Charlie Austin and guide the ball past Mark Oxley in the Harrogate goal.


The game then saw a lengthy delay as we reached the end of three minutes of first-half stoppage time, as Town defender Ciaran Brennan was stretchered off with what looked like a serious injury following a sliding tackle and was replaced by Dylan Kadji.

The added minutes gave Town another chance to add to their goal tally though, as George McEachran set Hepburn-Murphy clear out wide, enabling him to cut it back to Wakeling to drive into the area, but his low shot, off-balance, was well saved by Mark Oxley with Charlie Austin unable to convert the rebound.

The first period ended with Swindon two goals to the good and in the ascendency.

Into the second half, and Harrogate kicked things off with an early substitution to freshen the pack, as Levi Sutton made way from Daniel Grant, but it was the hosts who started brightly once again.

Just four minutes into the restart, the impressive Hepburn-Murphy wriggled clear on the left to slot the ball back to Charlie Austin inside the area, but his first touch just enabled Oxley to come out and block his shot, with Hutton’s follow up repelled by two Harrogate defenders.

Shortly after, on 51-minutes, the visitors created a good chance of their own but missed the opportunity to halve the arrears, as Grant was slotted through on the left side and drove into the area, only to see his left-footed shot from an angle skim the right hand post and sail wide.

Three minutes later and Grant was presented with another chance to try his luck, but as he steadied himself with just Tom Clayton to beat, his shot didn’t have enough on it to trouble Sol Brynn despite sliding through his markers legs.

Simon Weaver’s side were then almost gifted a way back into the tie on 62-minutes, as an unfortunate slip from Ellis Iandolo at the back set Luke Armstrong free, but as he descended on Brynn’s goal, his attempt to bend it round the Town stopper failed and the Boro loanee was able to pluck the ball out the sky.

On 72-minutes we saw the introduction of Joe Tomlinson, with the Peterborough United loanee brought on for his first start since rejoining The Robins, and what a return it proved to be, as on 78-minutes he netted to send the Town End into raptures, and it was all his own work.

Harrogate failed to clear their lines enabling the substitute to regain possession, beat his marker and shoot low at goal, forcing a good save from Oxley, but as the ball rebounded back up in his favour, he was able to nod it over the helpless stopper and into the net to all but seal the points.


A triple change followed from Jody Morris which saw Tomi Adeloye, Tyrese Shade and Ronan Darcy entered the action, and it was the latter that almost marked his introduction with a goal, as he weaved some magic to create some space for himself in the Suplhurites box and shoot low at goal, but Mark Oxley made an impressive save to deny him.

That was the last action of the tie with Town claiming another much needed victory to further enhance their play-off credentials, with just three points now separating them from eighth.


Swindon Town Line-up: 4-2-3-1

1. Sol Brynn (GK) – 3. Ellis Iandolo, 4. Tom Clayton, 34. Ciaran Brennan (21. Dylan Kadji 45+7mins), 2. Remeao Hutton, 16. Jake Cain, 5. George McEachran, 8. Jonathan Williams (28. Tyrese Shade 85mins), 19. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (10. Ronan Darcy 85mins), 24. Jacob Wakeling (7. Joe Tomlinson 74mins), 11. Charlie Austin © (9. Tomi Adeloye 84mins).

Subs not used: 41. Jack Copland (GK) – 15. Luke Jephcott.

Scorers: Hepburn-Murphy 8,40, Tomlinson 78

Yellow Cards: 24. Wakeling 58mins

Red Cards: None

Harrogate Town Line-up: 4-3-3

1. Mark Oxley (GK) – 15. Anthony O’Connor, 34. Tom Eastman, 14. Toby Sims (7. George Thomson 78mins), 33. Matthew Foulds, 4. Josh Falkingham ©, 16. Alex Pattison, 17. Levi Sutton (9. Daniel Grant 45mins), 10. Kazeem Olaigbe, 29. Luke Armstrong (8. Dior Angus 82mins), 18. Jack Muldoon (28. Matty Daly 77mins).

Subs not used: 31. Harvey Giles (GK) – 23. Rory McArdle, 6. Warren Burrell.

Scorers: None

Yellow Cards: 4. Falkingham 13mins, 18. Muldoon 21mins, 34. Eastman 27mins.

Red Cards: None

HT: 2-0

Referee: Oliver Langford

Assistant Referees: George Byrne & Carl Fitch-Jackson

Fourth Official: Alan Young

Attendance: 8,756 (73 away fans)

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