SWINDON returned to winning ways at Portsmouth, beating the home side 2-1 at Fratton Park.
Matt Ritchie scored the first before Andy Williams opened his Town account. A late goal from Lubomir Michalik set up a grandstand finish but Swindon held on to record a richly deserved three points.
The manager made four changes from the side that earned a point at Brunton Park on Saturday. In came Nathan Thompson, Alan Navarro, Gary Roberts and James Collins for Joe Devera, Simon Ferry, Adam Rooney and Paul Benson.
Town flew out of the starting blocks early on with Williams heading over and Matt Ritchie stinging the palms of goalkeeper Mikkel Andersen. Jay McEveley also forced a fine save from the goalkeeper with a thumping, 30-yard volley.
Williams did have the ball in the back of the net but was flagged offside as Town continued to press. Collins had his shot well saved as did Williams before Andersen pulled of two wonderful saves to somehow keep the scoreline level. He tipped away Collin’s point-blank header and parried Alan Navarro’s follow-up behind for a corner.
Right on half time, Swindon took what was arguably a deserved lead. Matt Ritchie set his sights from the right hand angle of the area and drilled a shot low past Andersen at his near post to send the Town in a goal to the good at the break.
The second period began in a similar fashion with Swindon doubling their lead. Andy Williams managed to wriggle free on the left flank and brought the ball through on goal on the angle. Timing his moment to perfection, the striker cut back onto his right foot and lashed the ball into the far corner beyond the goalkeeper.
The two-goal cushion allowed the visitors to play with a sense of freedom and a swagger, playing a free-flowing passing game and creating chances at will. This was typified by one move in particular: Williams was played in down the right hand side and his cross came all the way through to Gary Roberts on the edge of the area. He laid the ball off for the oncoming Ritchie who blazed his first-time effort high over the crossbar.
With time running out, Town allowed their opponents back into the game and they had Wes Foderingham to thank for keeping the scoreline intact. After doing well to smother a one-on-one opportunity, he pulled off a wonderful save to push away Ashley Harris’ curling effort.
In injury time, a rare defensive lapse gifted the home side a glimmer of hope. Michalik was given far too much space to nod home past Foderingham. Roared on by the home support, Portsmouth rallied in the final moments but could not manage to find the crucial breakthrough.
The victory sees Town halt a run of win-less games ahead of Saturday’s clash with Bournemouth at The County Ground.
Swindon Town - 2 (Ritchie '45, Williams '55)
Portsmouth - 1 (Michalik '90)
Town: Wes Foderingham; Nathan Thompson, Alan McCormack (Capt), Darren Ward, Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie, Alan Navarro, Tommy Miller, Gary Roberts; Andy Williams, James Collins
Substitutes: Joe Devera, Giles Coke, Troy Archibald-Henville, Paul Benson, Adam Rooney, John Bostock, Federico Bessone
Portsmouth: Andersen, Dumbuya, Harley, Williamson, Howard (Capt), McLeod, Compton, Obita, Gyepes, Russell, Michalik
Substitutes: Eastwood, Thompson, Walker, Rodgers, Ertl, Harris, Webster