SWINDON Town’s younger players can take heart and encouragement from Saturday’s 1-0 win against a physical Port Vale side, according to manager Richie Wellens.

Players in their early 20s and teenage years were tested by an ‘ugly’Port Vale team that scrapped and battled hard for an equalising goal in the second half after Elijah Adebayo bagged what turned out to be the game’s only goal with 10 minutes played.

Sid Nelson, Luke Woolfenden, Scott Twine and Steven Alzate were all on the receiving end of praise from boss Wellens, who admits his side had to play with their heads throughout the second half as the hosts opted to turn the game into a physical dogfight.

Wellens said: “The likes of Luke (Woolfenden) and Sid (Nelson) will take a lot from Saturday’s game.

“Saturday’s game was more of a physical battle than perhaps what they have ever faced before.

“Players like Scott Twine and Steven Alzate are in the middle of the pitch, so they aren’t getting bombarded with balls, but I thought our two younger centre-halves were excellent.

“You have to be sensible when a game is physical like on Saturday.

“I like Scott Twine, I really like him. I’m going to do loads of work with him to make him a better footballer.

“The same applies to Steven Alzate. Saturday’s game wasn’t their kind of game in the second half.

“Michael Doughty’s composure made a difference when he came on.

“Physically, Scott isn’t where he wants to be at the moment because he’s just a young boy.”

The physical nature of the second half prompted several delays, which resulted in 10 minutes of stoppage time to round off the game.

With Vale firmly on the front foot throughout the second half, limiting Town to few sights on goal, Wellens opted to block any potential way into the box for the hosts by introducing Olly Lancashire into the heart of a back five.

Despite Wellens wanting a second goal, the Town boss accepted his side are not quite at the level required to damage teams just yet – adding a ruthless edge will only come with time.

He said: “When the fourth official indicated 10 minutes of added time, I understood that we had our chances to slow the game down and we had an opportunity to get a second goal on the counter attack.

“That second goal didn’t happen, so I put Olly Lancashire on just to ensure we secured that win.

“I wanted the second goal, and in weeks to come – when we improve and get a winning streak about us – then we can win games like this better.

“For talking sake, if we were second, third or fourth in the league, then we would be winning the game more comfortably.

“But where we’ve been – we won one in nine before Saturday in terms of League Two games – means we dropped back a bit deeper to make sure we can win.

“That might have had an impact on the way we played.”