Town were unable to take the spoils on Derby Day after falling to a 2-0 defeat away at Oxford United this afternoon.
Chris Maguire converted from the spot to hand the home side a slender lead heading into the interval, and the forward bagged his second of the afternoon just past the hour mark to hand the U’s all three points.
Town Head Coach Luke Williams made two changes to the side that claimed a point away at Peterborough United last time out, with Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill and Luke Norris coming in for James Brophy and Nathan Delfouneso respectively.
The latter pair dropped to the bench while Raphael Rossi-Branco, Yaser Kasim and Jon Obika all recovered from knocks to take their place in the matchday squad.
John Goddard – who impressed in his last outing – once again lined up in a number 10 role just behind lone striker Norris.
After a cagey opening period, it was the hosts who carved out the first opening of the game as Chris Maguire blazed a shot well over Lawrence Vigouroux’s goal.
Oxford Captain John Lundstram then saw his audacious effort sail well wide, before Vigouroux did well to hold Liam Sercombe’s low drive.
After being forced to do their fair share of defending, Town started to settle into a rhythm and carved out an attack but Norris could only nod wide under pressure from Anton Rodger’s deep cross.
United then went back on the attack and came close to an opener as Maguire let fly from distance, but Vigouroux produced a fine save to tip the attacker’s venomous effort over the bar.
Lundstram then once again was off-target before Nathan Thompson nodded over from Rodgers’ free-kick at the other end.
However, it would be the home side who would take the lead after Thompson was adjudged to have tripped Sercombe inside the box.
Maguire stepped up to hammer home from the spot just before half-time with that strike proving the difference between the two sides at the break.
Town started brightly after the interval and came close to hauling themselves level as Goddard found himself one-on-one with Simon Eastwood, but the Oxford stopper did well to block the initial effort before Ormonde-Ottewill could only scoop a shot over the bar.
That only encouraged United to pour forward and, despite Vigouroux producing another fine stop to deny Joe Rothwell, they doubled their advantage just past the hour mark.
Attempting to clear the ball, Vigouroux was closed down well by Maguire and the ball bounced off the striker's back and into the back of the net for his second goal of the afternoon.
Town’s day then took a turn for the worse after Lloyd Jones was dismissed for picking up two bookable offences.
However, the visitors refused to be beaten and kept on trying to breach the Oxford defence, but they just lacked a cutting edge as Darnell Furlong scooped over from close-range.
Proceedings became scrappy as the game entered it’s closing stages, but the hosts came closing to adding a third as Marvin Johnson found himself one-on-one with Vigouroux, only to plant his effort into the side-netting.
Vigouroux then did superbly to somehow keep out Alex MacDonald’s subtle chip, before both Norris and Nathan Delfouneso tested Eastwood at the other end.
But there was to be more drama before the game was over after Lawrence Vigouroux was shown a straight red card following a late coming together between the two sets of players.
HOW THE TEAMS LINED-UP:
OXFORD UNITED – Eastwood; Edwards, Raglan, Dunkley, Skarz; Rothwell (Alex MacDonald 74), Sercombe (Ryan Ledson 77); Lundstram, Johnson, Maguire; Thomas (Ryan Taylor 67).
Buchel, Crowley, Ruffels, Hemmings. Subs Not Used –
Vigouroux; Furlong, N Thompson (C), Jones; Barry, Rodgers (Yaser Kasim 54), Thomas (Nathan Delfouneso 64), Doughty, Ormonde-Ottewill; Goddard (Jon Obika 54); Norris. SWINDON TOWN –
Subs Not Used – Henry, Rossi-Branco, Brophy, Murray.