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The Report: Swindon Town 0 Blues 3

Posted: Wed 17 Jul 2013
Author: Andy Walker
Lee Novak

Lee Novak is congratulated after scoring his opener at the County Ground

Image by: Press Association

A Lee Novak double helped wrap up victory and a positive pre-season performance from Blues.

The summer signing struck in the 40th and 58th before birthday boy Andrew Shinnie sealed the win with a fine finish four minutes from the end.

Despite this being a pre-season fixture, it was a competitive affair with both sides pressing for the win. However, a thoroughly professional performance from Lee Clark's men was enough to secure a comfortable and well-deserved win against a Swindon Town side with ex-Blues midfielder Mark Cooper in temporary charge following the departure of Kevin MacDonald over the weekend.

Both goalkeepers were kept busy throughout but it was three excellently-worked goals that eventually carved open the Robins' backline and proved the difference.

Fresh from a tricky run into the Swindon box that had been stamped out by home skipper Darren Ward, the excellent Chris Burke tried his luck again five minutes before the break by twisting and turning his way through to set up Novak from six yards.

The ex-Huddersfield Town man's second was even more impressive. Koby Arthur found Andrew Shinnie whose perfect throughball fell into the path of Mitch Hancox's well-timed run and he teed up Novak to slide in from yards out.

Shinnie, celebrating his 24th birthday, had been knocking on the door all evening and eventually found a way through in the 86th minute. Substitute Ryan Higgins was the provider and Shinnie, just inside the box, coolly fired past Leigh Bedwell.

Bedwell's opposite number, Darren Randolph, deserves special mention having kept determined opposition at bay; in particular producing fine saves to deny powerfully-struck efforts from Andy Williams and Luke Rooney.

Swindon Town starting XI: Bedwell, Barthram, Ward (Agombar 76), Hall, (N.Thompson 64), Kasim (L.Thompson 65), Benson (Williams H/T), Collins, Rooney (Jackson 78), Storey (Waldon H/T), Francis (McEveley H/T), Byrne (Pritchard H/T) Unused sub: Luogno.

Blues starting XI: Randolph; Eardley (Higgins 78), Bartley (Burn 68), Robinson (Mullins 68), Hancox; Burke (McGurk 72), Lee, Elliott (Reilly 75); Shinnie, Novak, Arthur (Davis 72). Unused sub: Doyle.

Attendance: 1,433 (388 away)