Swindon head coach Ben Garner admitted that the Robins deserved nothing from the 2-1 defeat to Port Vale at the County Ground.
Ben Garrity gave Vale the lead in the 22nd minute when he volleyed in a cross from the right by David Worrall into the bottom left corner, leaving Jojo Wollacott in the Swindon goal clutching thin air.
Tyreece Simpson equalised four minutes after the restart with a well-worked tap-in but Garrity struck again in the 81st minute by powering in a rebound after substitute James Gibbons hit the post.
Honest Garner said: “I can’t be too critical but we didn’t have our usual zip and we were not as bright as we have been and we haven’t competed as much as we have been.
“It’s a fair score line if I’m being honest, they did what they do very well and we knew what was coming.
“We didn’t compete enough in certain situations and it’s cost us the game, there are quick lessons to be learnt going forward.”
Swindon had their opportunities themselves, most notably when Brentford loanee Alex Gilbert waltzed his way past two Port Vale defenders before seeing his strike from inside the box saved.
Simpson also had a piledriver from outside the box cannon back off the crossbar, with both chances coming with the score at 1-1.
Once the Valiants got their lead though, they never really looked like losing it, even after five minutes were added on for stoppages, with Lucas Covolan only having to grab a deflected shot by sub Jayden Mitchell-Lawson in the final 10 minutes.
Port Vale manager Darrell Clarke was delighted to get the win after they went down 3-2 at home to Rochdale last week.
“It was a really good performance. In the first half we were dominant,” Clarke said.
“They got the early goal in the second half which was disappointing. If you are looking for character and mentality – that’s what we talked about last week – we responded with a winner.
“We all had a disappointing week last week – the fans, the players, the staff.
“This week it is about responding – you could see the commitment and the desire.”
Despite his acceptance that Vale deserved their win, Swindon boss Garner did take issue with the way referee Neil Hair officiated the contest at the County Ground.
Vale were efficient at frustrating Swindon with gamesmanship and niggly fouls that interrupted the flow of Swindon’s game, with Garner being fine with the approach but frustrated at how it was managed.
He said: “My only criticism is the management of it – the time wasting, the amount of time for goal kicks, the throw-ins, for people going down. It’s fine for the opposition to do it.
“It’s part of the game, but it’s the referee’s job to manage that and keep track of it and if teams are doing that, just add the time on and keep the flow.
“There’s one challenge in the first half I’m not happy with. Rom Crichlow has been caught in the face when the ball’s gone 20 yards down the pitch. It’s not on, not on at all.”