Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Harry McKirdy brace boosts Swindon prospects in play-off showdown with Port Vale

Harry McKirdy starred for Swindon (David Davies/PA)
Harry McKirdy starred for Swindon (David Davies/PA)

Harry McKirdy’s brace was enough for Swindon to secure an important 2-1 victory over Port Vale in the first leg of their Sky Bet League Two play-off semi-final – but James Wilson’s late goal handed the Valiants a lifeline.

End-to-end action early on matched the emotional expectations of a bumper home crowd, with Vale’s Harry Charsley and Ryan Edmondson both having their shots blocked inside the hosts’ box while Jack Payne finished off a Swindon counter-attack with a shot that sailed over the bar.

Intermittent chances were broken up by fouls that disrupted any attempts by either side to build momentum, however the deadlock was broken by McKirdy in the 26th minute as he scored his 21st goal of the season to give Swindon the lead.

Louie Barry pressured defender Nathan Smith into accidentally conceding a corner and it was a perfectly weighted cross to the near post that allowed McKirdy to glance his header past Aidan Stone.

Edmondson’s shot on target in the 37th minute momentarily had home fans worrying but the attacker could not place his shot either side of Lewis Ward, who saved comfortably.

Wales international Jonny Williams went closest to doubling Swindon’s lead with a 30-yard strike that appeared to be dipping just under the bar before Stone managed to get a hand to it and tip the ball out of play.

Wilson almost handed the Valiants the perfect second-half start as the former Manchester United striker escaped under pressure from Louis Reed before pulling a shot wide from outside the area.

Jamie Proctor marked his introduction with a strike from range that stung the palms of Ward, but Vale would rue missed chances in front of goal as McKirdy grabbed his brace with a volleyed finish in the 68th minute.

Payne burst into the box before shooting right-footed and having his effort well saved by Stone. The goalkeeper, however, could only navigate the ball into more danger as it fell perfectly for McKirdy to finish powerfully.

Striker Josh Davison should have added another goal almost immediately after the restart as the on-loan Charlton striker was played through for a one-v-one only to watch on as his eventual chipped effort nestled on top of the net.

Wilson pulled one back for the visitors with less than 10 minutes remaining by reacting quickest inside a crowded box to score a tap-in and give the travelling Vale supporters hope heading into the return leg.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]