Returning from a three game suspension, Hepburn-Murphy seemed keen to make up for lost time and scored his first and second league goals for the club in the first half.

After a nasty-looking injury to Sheffield Wednesday loan Ciaran Brennan before half-time seems to rule out the centre-back for some time, Joe Tomlinson scored on his second Swindon debut to equalize Harrogate’s winning margin in the reverse fixture . .

Back-to-back wins under Jody Morris lifted Swindon to tenth place ahead of the next weekend’s trip to League Two leaders Leyton Orient.

Morris made two changes to the squad that started last Saturday’s 2-1 win at Salford City. Saidou Khan, following his post-match red card, has been suspended for the first of five games, while Frazer Blake-Tracy will be sidelined for five to six weeks with a knee problem.

Hepburn-Murphy returned after his three-game suspension, and Jonny Williams returned after a concussion.

Tomlinson was fit enough to take a place on the bench in his first appearance for the team since signing on January deadline day.

There was a distinct lack of action in the first eight minutes, so the vast majority of the County Ground were overjoyed to see Hepburn-Murphy spice up the game with a goal.

The first time Swindon attempted a long, sought-after ball forward, from Ellis Iandolo’s boot, it ended up in the net. Hepburn-Murphy headed in a deep cross from Remeao Hutton, and slid inside the right post as Mark Oxley was left flat-footed.

A very poor Harrogate side offered little in the way of attacking moments apart from a Kazeem Olaigbe shot from the edge of the box which Sol Brynn caught over his head midway through the first half.

Jacob Wakeling should have done better with another low cross from Hutton around the half-hour mark, but after cutting to his right, the effort was clumsily bested.

The Robins practically ended the game shortly before halftime with the Hepburn-Murphy second.

Moments after the majority of the home crowd booed Brennan for keeping the ball with no obvious option to pass to, Swindon moved over the defense and to the left, where Wakeling collected the ball.

His low cross up the middle opened up nicely for Hepburn-Murphy, and the winger deflected his left-footed shot wide into the bottom right corner.

A serious injury to Brennan’s arm forced the Sheffield Wednesday transferee to be stretchered off before half time, with Dylan Kadji playing makeshift centre-back for the remainder of the match.

A natural defensive midfielder, Kadji was struggling in the back line and Harrogate enjoyed more of the early chances of the second half as the visitors looked to exploit his inexperience.

Halftime substitute Danny Grant fired wide of the box and then directly at Brynn from the edge of the box, while Luke Armstrong nearly recovered a goal after an Iandolo mistake.

He tried to play Brynn the first time, but missed his effort and placed Armstrong. Iandolo made up enough ground to put pressure on the Harrogate striker, and the final shot went straight to Brynn.

With 20 minutes to play, Tomlinson was sent off to the left flank by Wakeling. Though not quite as quality as his first debut goal against Exeter City, the Chiseldon-born player managed a second debut goal with 12 minutes remaining.

Tomlinson recovered the ball inside the Harrogate penalty area and fired a shot towards goal that was blocked. The rebound fell his way, and after he headed it towards goal rather meekly, Tom Eastman clumsily clipped the shot on goal into the side netting anyway.

Substitute Ronan Darcy forced Oxley into a decent low save late on, while Harrogate’s Olaigbe could have gone back with the final kick, but Swindon survived to secure back-to-back wins.

STFC Starting XI: Brynn, Hutton, Brennan, Clayton, Iandolo, Cain, McEachran, Williams, Wakeling, Austin, Hepburn-Murphy.

STFC Substitutes: Copland, Tomlinson, Adeloye, Darcy, Jephcott, Kadji, Shade.

HTFC Starting XI: Oxley, Falkingham, Olaigbe, Sims, O’Connor, Pattison, Sutton, Muldoon, Armstrong, Foulds, Eastman.

SUBSTITUTES: Giles, Burrell, Thomson, Angus, Grant, McArdle, Daly.

Referee: Oliver Langford

Attendance: 8,756 (73)


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