Swindon were undone by three late second-half goals as Colchester United came from behind to win 3-1 at the Jobserve Community Stadium.
It was another cold and frustrating night in Essex for the Robins who could not build on Diallang Jaiyesimi’s early second-half opener.
Town had many opportunities to build on their lead and put the game beyond United. However, Colchester United goalkeeper and Man of the Match Dean Gerken was a thorn in the Robins’ side all night, keeping them at bay time and time again.
Gerken’s efforts were crucial as Town were punished by a brace from Theo Robinson and a diving header from Luke Norris, who all scored within the last fifteen minutes of the game.
The hosts looked dangerous on the counter-attack in the first half, and came closest to drawing first blood.
Theo Robinson got in behind the Town defence, but his first time half-volley landed on the roof of the net.
Captain Mathieu Baudry was in right place at the right time, heading Luke Gambin’s crisp goal-bound volley away five minutes later.
Town warmed into the freezing cold contest, Hallam Hope, who scored on his debut against Port Vale, was first to react to a loose ball and stung the palms of goalkeeper Dean Gerken with a powerful drive from 20 yards.
Gerken’s fingertips were needed to keep the game level, after Kaiyne Woolery beat the offside trap and forced a powerful save from the experienced goalkeeper from close range.
Town were energised in the second half and only needed two minutes to take the lead.
Diallang Jaiyesimi finished clinically after Michael Doughty took out the whole Colchester defence with an exquisite, disguised pass and Jaiyesimi made no mistake in front of goal.
Doughty almost went from provider to goal-scorer two minutes later, driving past two players and firing low, but he was denied by the feet of Gerken as Town looked to build on their lead.
Swindon did not take their foot of the accelerator, and if it was not for Gerken the game would have been finished by the hour mark.
Hope rose highest in the box and directed a powerful header low in the bottom right corner, but Gerken clawed the ball out from point blank range.
Colchester began to claw their way back into the contest and eventually had their equaliser.
Luke Norris headed in a knock was first to react when the ball was nodded back across the face of goal, diving low and glancing into the bottom corner.
The U’s looked confident after the equaliser, and came very close to taking the lead.
Substitute Courtney Senior struck low across the face of goal, but past the far post.
Colchester were a threat from set pieces throughout the second-half and their second goal came from a corner. Theo Robinson scrambled in from close range.
Town pushed for an equaliser but were caught on the break in the 88th minute.
Benda was unfortunate to tip a cross onto Norris, and the ball fell kindly to Robinson who passed the ball in from close range.
Rob Hunt came close to halving the deficit with a driven shot across goal that went through several legs, but Gerken was again there to keep the ball out.
Overall, a frustrating night for the Robins, who face second placed Exeter City in a crucial clash at the County Ground this Saturday.