Town suffered a 2-1 defeat to Bristol Rovers at The County Ground this evening after conceding twice in quick succession late on in the second-half.
The hosts got off to the perfect start thanks to Lloyd Jones’ first goal of the season in the first five minutes, although they were forced to turn in a resolute defensive display for the remainder of the first-half.
Town were more composed after the interval but were undone late in the second-half thanks to two Rovers’ goals in a minute.
Town Head Coach Luke Williams made three changes to his Starting XI, with two of those alterations enforced.
Jamie Sendles-White and Brad Barry both missed out through injury with Lloyd Jones and Darnell Furlong their replacements, whilst Lawrence Vigouroux returned after serving a one-game ban to replace Will Henry between the sticks.
As they did in the original fixture back in August, Town were on the front-foot from the word go and carved out an opening inside the opening minute as Jon Obika sliced wide from James Brophy’s cross.
They went closer moments later after another delicious cross from Brophy picked out Conor Thomas whose thunderous header was tipped over the bar by Rovers stopper, Kelle Roos.
But the home side’s early dominance paid off emphatically from the resulting corner, Lloyd Jones diverting home Sean Murray’s excellent corner to give the Robins a dream start.
It was Jones’ first goal in Swindon colours and Murray’s fourth assist in just three games for his new club.
Rovers did respond well to going a goal down and tried their luck in front of goal twice in quick succession, Chris Lines’ free-kick being touched onto the bar by Vigouroux before Lee Brown blazed high and wide.
However, Town would soon begin to flex their attacking muscles again and could have doubled their lead through the impressive Brophy, who beat his man with ease before warming the palms of Roos.
Vigouroux then did well to stop and then hold Rory Gaffney’s low drive at the other end, before the visitors continued to press the issue with a string of corners.
But Town did well to soak up the pressure and peppered the Rovers goal with a number of efforts at the end of the first-half, with Nathan Delfouneso firing straight at Roos, Kasim curling wide and Raphael Rossi-Branco sending a header past the post.
Rovers were inches away from hauling themselves level straight after the restart but could only shake their heads in frustration with Vigouroux somehow clawing away Taylor’s shot.
Town then made their second substitution in quick succession with John Goddard replacing Sean Murray, after Brophy had made way for Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill at half-time.
Kasim then hammered a free-kick over the bar with the hosts looking to double their advantage and put a halt to Rovers’ fightback.
Following a brief lull in action, proceedings sparked into life at both ends of the pitch after Obika’s looping header was well kept out by Roos, before Ollie Clarke rattled the post at the other end and Gaffney could only stab wide into the side-netting from the follow up.
The game became scrappier as time ticked away with both sides unable to grab the match by the scruff of the neck.
However, Town did have a glorious chance to wrap up the three points with 15 minutes left after the ball fell at the feet of second-half sub Luke Norris, but the striker’s effort was blocked by Roos.
Norris’ clever free-kick was then headed into the hands of Roos by Furlong, before the visitors turned the game upside down within a minute.
Rovers won a penalty which was converted by Matty Taylor, before Jermaine Easter’s cross was turned into the back of his own net by Branco, which proved to be the difference between the two sides.
TEAMS AND STATS:
SWINDON TOWN - Vigouroux; Rossi-Branco, Thompson (C), Jones; Furlong, Kasim, Thomas, Murray (John Goddard 49), Brophy (Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill 45); Obika, Delfouneso (Luke Norris 73).
Subs Not Used - Henry, Rodgers, Smith, Hylton.
BRISTOL ROVERS - Roos; Leadbitter, Lockyer, J Clarke, Brown; Sinclair (Charlie Colkett 61), O Clarke, Lines; Bodin (Jermaine Easter 61), Gaffney (Ellis Harrison 61), Taylor.
Subs Not Used - Mildenhall, Hartley, Boateng, Moore.
REFEREE - Oliver Langford
TOWN – Yaser Kasim, Darnell Furlong, Conor Thomas.
BRISTOL ROVERS - Stuart Sinclair, Rory Gaffney, Tom Lockyer.
ATTENDANCE – 6,760 (414 Away Fans).