HEAD coach Ben Garner admitted a poor start cost his team against Port Vale as Ben Garrity’s double ended Swindon Town’s five-game unbeaten run on Saturday.

Following three wins and two draws that helped Garner land a nomination for League Two’s August manager of the month award, Town’s encouraging run of form hit a sudden halt at the weekend as Vale were dominant from the first whistle and Town walked off to boos at the break.

Port Vale midfielder Garrity won the game for his side after blasting in two sweet volleys either side of half-time – the second one coming in the 81st minute – to hand Darrell Clarke’s men a first win at the County Ground since 2005.

Reacting to a first loss since falling to Carlisle United by the same scoreline almost a month ago, Garner said he did not see the performance coming in training and was disappointed his players were not mentally sharp straight away.

He said: “I wasn’t happy with the start we made, I think we gave momentum to Port Vale pretty much straight from kick-off. Not even from them, but through us.

“It was our decisions, our sharpness of mind, and our execution of what we wanted to do not being right that allowed the pressure to build.

“It was no surprise to us of what they were going to do. It wasn’t as if something was sprung on us that we hadn’t prepared for in the week.

“That was more to do with our mentality and our sharpness that allowed them to build momentum. That’s something we do need to address in future games.”

Despite the general frustration that Garner exuded post-match, the Town boss stressed to fans that just because one loss occurred it does not mean all of the club’s good work has been undone in one foul swoop.

Garner asked people to return for the Colchester United game on September 25 and promised his players will show something much better against Northampton Town next Saturday as well.

Reflecting on the first seven league games of the season, Garner said: “Overall, it’s been a good start.

“We’re disappointed with Saturday because we were five unbeaten, but we didn’t perform the way we want to perform.

“There is no one more disappointed than us inside that dressing room, and obviously the supporters will be disappointed as well.

“But we’ll stick together, we’ll go again next week, and we’ll look to bounce back as quickly as we possibly can.”