Town went down 2-1 at Preston North End, conceding twice before making a spirited effort to get back into the game in the second half.
Mark Cooper made two changes to the side that lost to Chelsea in midweek. Nile Ranger missed out through injury so was replaced by Nathan Byrne. Nicky Ajose dropped to the bench and Louis Thompson filled the vacant slot in the centre of Town’s midfield.
After a slow start, the home side went in front after ten minutes. The home side worked their way into the box and Wes Foderingham did well to get down and keep out the initial effort. As the bouncing ball looped goalwards, Iain Hume leapt highest to nod it into the empty net.
Kevin Davies was almost in again before the half was out while Keith Keane and Stuart Beavon both volleyed over.
Swindon’s only real chance of note came courtesy of Yaser Kasim who worked a shooting opportunity for himself before firing wide. Alex Pritchard also drove into the side-netting in stoppage time.
Within minutes of the restart, the home side had doubled their lead. A cross from the Preston left came all the way through to Jay McEveley who played the ball back towards Foderingham. Clearly expecting the goalkeeper to have been closer to his own goal, the ball bobbled beyond Foderingham and over the line despite the Town stopper’s best efforts.
On a busy afternoon for the Swindon number one, he was on hand to deny another white shirt after the visitors had played themselves into trouble before McEveley hacked the loose ball to safety.
Town’s first effort of the second half was a shot from Ajose that had plenty of power behind it but very little direction and the ball sailed wide of goal.
After withstanding a period of sustained pressure, Swindon managed to carve out their most clear-cut opportunity of the game. Kasim’s neat turn in the centre of midfield allowed him a run at the Preston back line. His slide-rule pass picked out Ajose on the left-hand edge of the box and, taking his effort first-time, the forward watched as Declan Rudd stretched to his left to turn the ball around the upright.
With minutes remaining, Town gave themselves a lifeline thanks to Dany N’Guessan. A cross from the Swindon right almost picked out Grant Hall who had launched himself into an overhead kick. The ball came to N’Guessan who shifted the ball onto his right foot before curling an effort beyond Declan Rudd.
In the dying seconds, Rudd was on hand to deny Kasim a certain equaliser, getting up to tip his fizzing effort over the crossbar.
Swindon Town: Wes Foderingham, Nathan Thompson, Grant Hall, Darren Ward (C), Jay McEveley, Yaser Kasim, Massimo Luongo, Louis Thompson, Nathan Byrne, Dany N'Guessan, Alex Pritchard
Substitutes: Tyrrell Belford, Raphael Branco, Jack Barthram, Lee Cox, Nicky Ajose, Miles Storey, Mohammed Elgabas