Swindon were beaten 4-1 by relegation rivals Wimbledon in a disappointing outing in the capital.
Despite having their fair share of chances, it was the Dons who were the more incisive in the first-half, ultimately putting the game to bed before the break.
The home side’s top goalscorer, Joe Pigott got two in an excellent display for the home side with Will Nightingale and Ayoub Assal rounding off the scoring for the south west London outfit.
Tyler Smith was on the scoresheet for Swindon late on but his goal came much too late to even hint at a fightback.
The opening five minutes of this vital clash were action-packed, with both sides acutely aware of the importance of a good start.
Swindon went close within a minute – a neat pass inside from Tyler Smith, who had beaten the offside trap, found Scott Twine who advanced past the penalty spot but his low left-footed drive was blocked.
Wimbledon quickly created the space for a chance of their own. Ayoub Assal, who started on the right of midfield, found himself one on one with Jonathan Grounds. He gained an inch of wriggle-room and worked a cross-shot which Lee Camp forced behind.
Up the other end again, Paul Caddis crossed from the right, Brett Pitman nodded down to Jack Payne who struck powerfully from six yards out. Nik Tzanev, in the Wimbledon goal, rushed off his line to block but his save looped up to Tyler Smith – he could only crane his neck enough to head onto the top of the crossbar.
On 18 minutes, the home side got their noses in front. Ollie Palmer found himself in behind – he cut back to Jack Rudoni who was fouled by a cluster of Town defenders. Pigott stepped up and rolled a cool penalty down to Camp’s right, his seventeenth goal of the season.
Seven minutes later, Wimbledon doubled their lead. Rudoni’s free-kick from the left was met powerfully by Will Nightingale and Camp was left helplessly clawing at the defender’s header as it sailed past him.
The Dons were in a really strong mood and Pigott was at the heart of it. His free-kick from 25 yards bounced off the top of the crossbar moments before he got in-behind down Town’s left. His decision to pass rather than shoot was arguably the wrong one as Anthony Grant got across to clear.
The Dons’ forward played Assal in three minutes after as the Londoners broke away – and Camp’s crossbar got another clattering as the winger’s effort rose too high after he’d rounded the Town goalkeeper.
With three minutes to play, Scott Twine had his first long-range sighter. From 35 yards, his now trademark technique stung the palms of Tzanev. The rebound fell to Garrick who forced an incredible follow-up save with his header.
And that stop proved pivotal. Instead of the deficit halved, a minute later it was increased to three. Palmer turned and shot low inside the box - Assal blocked his own team-mate’s effort but it fell into his path and, with Camp already on the way down, he had the whole goal to aim at from point-blank range.
If the first five minutes of the game were action-packed, the opening five of the second were relatively stale. On the 50-minute mark, Pigott looked to square to Assal but Dominic Thompson, on at half-time, did very well to keep the score at three.
Assal went mighty close two minutes later. Luke O’Neill’s deep cross whipped to the penalty spot was met by the tricky winger but his volley hit the bar for the fourth time in the game.
Wimbledon sealed the win on 53 minutes. Palmer did well down the right, finding Assal who squared to Pigott who made no mistake with the finish, making it 4-0.
After 20 minutes of relative inactivity in-front of goal, Swindon got a consolation. Scott Twine unleashed a dipping effort from 25 yards. It gave the crossbar another rattling before falling to Tyler Smith who finished with his left foot. However, Wimbledon kept Town at arm’s length for the remainder of a disappointing afternoon.