The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Ben Fisher

SWIN­DON boss Mark Cooper lauded Nathan Byrne for tear­ing apart Brad­ford with a 16-minute hat-trick but in­sists he was not sur­prised by the winger’s dis­play.

The Robins started the game slug­gishly and fell be­hind af­ter just five min­utes when new Ban­tam’s sign­ing Josh Mor­ris smashed home past Liver­pool loan stop­per Lawrence Vig­or­oux.

Brad­ford could have dou­bled their lead on 19 min­utes but Billy Clarke saw his spot-kick com­fort­ably saved by Vig­or­oux.

And the Town keeper was al­most left red-faced ten min­utes later when Clarke tried to re­deem him­self with an au­da­cious lob 45-yards from goal, only for his ef­fort to fall nar­rowly wide of the gap­ing goal.

But Cooper’s side were a dif­fer­ent beast af­ter the break and Byrne bagged a smart hat-trick be­fore Jon Obika sealed the rout – all in­side an elec­tric 18 min­utes for the Robins.

Cooper said:“They have ab­so­lutely torn what I think is a real res­o­lute Brad­ford team apart.

“I never ex­pected it to be as em­phatic as that in the sec­ond-half. But I know that they have that in them. The penalty save for me changed the game, where the goal­keeper has made a bril­liant save.

“Nathan is all about con­fi­dence, you just have to put your arm around him and tell him how good he is.

“You just have to ask him to be pos­i­tive and that is what you get some­times.

“We have got that youth­ful ex­u­ber- ance, we can be ex­pan­sive and we can hurt teams.”

The Robins may need to rely on the goals of Byrne more of­ten too, with Cooper con­firm­ing post-match that last sea­son’s top scorer Michael Smith looks set to join League One ri­vals Barns­ley.

He said: “If it is the right bid, it is go­ing to be ac­cepted be­cause that is the way we have to work. He is a bril­liant pro­fes­sional and a bril­liant kid. I would love to keep him but money talks.”

Brad­ford failed to con­tain Byrne in the sec­ond pe­riod and boss Phil Parkin­son could not help but praise the winger.

Byrne lev­elled the scor­ing on 52 min­utes when he man­aged to find the net with a bending shot that evaded Ban­tams stop­per Ben Wil­liams.

Kevin Stewart then slid through the winger on the left flank, who man­aged to poke the ball low past Wil­liams, be­fore com­plet­ing his hat-trick on 68 min­utes.

Town striker Obika fin­ished the rout when he slot­ted home the fourth.

Parkin­son said: “Teams al­ways have key play­ers and you have to be able to deal with those play­ers. In fair­ness to Nathan Byrne, it was a one-man show at times. “We didn’t start right in the sec­ond­half and we be­came ragged all over the pitch. He had a 20minute pe­riod which was prob­a­bly as good as any­one this sea­son.”

PIC­TURES: Terry Parker

HAVE THAT: Jonathan Obika scores

TOP STUFF: Nathan Burne cel­e­brates his goal

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