Swindon’s 2-0 defeat by Forest Green Rovers was disappointing but not altogether surprising. Rovers were well organised, full of running and seemed to frustrate any game plan that the Town might have had. Both of their goals were the result of Swindon’s consistent failure to close them down effectively.

Mark Cooper’s game plan worked a treat and he must have savoured this return to the County Ground. Unfortunately results elsewhere meant that Swindon lost their top position, albeit on goal difference, and things are getting mighty tight, with the top three now separated by a single point.

Town found themselves on the back foot from as early as the fifth minute. Paul Caddis, distracted into making an infield tackle, allowed Elliot Frear acres of room to put over a pin point cross that was put away clinically by Matt Stevens. Five minutes into the second half, Swindon’s failure to press the Rovers defence allowed them all the time they needed to move the ball up the right-wing channel. Chris Stokes crossed to the penalty spot, and Ebou Adams towered over Caddis to head home an upward header over Steven Benda.

There were too many Town players not quite on their game, and the team lacked the tempo we have been used to. Rovers defended in numbers and gave away few opportunities. Swindon’s single glaring weakness this season has been their difficulty in overcoming teams playing deep.

On the stroke of half time, Keshi Anderson almost scored an equaliser when a superb 25-yard strike bounced back off the bar, and later Jerry Yates saw a shot come back off the post.

Swindon made three attacking substitutions in the last half hour but I don’t think they would have scored if they had stayed there until midnight.

Michael Doughty’s body language showed his frustration at nothing going Swindon’s way, and it seemed to imply that everyone was to blame but himself.

One question Town supporters might be asking is why, after keeping a clean sheet on Tuesday, did the manager change the defence? Zeki Fryers seems much more effective at left wing back but he was moved back into central defence to ensure a speedy return for Rob Hunt.

Once more we were treated to some truly awful officiating. I understand that linesmen – as we used to call them – are acting in a purely “advisory” capacity, but I could give the gentleman with the chequered flag some choice words of advice! His appalling performance could only be partly explained if this happened to be his first ever game.

However, inconsistent bookings and a blatant second half penalty ignored, were merely part of a generally bad afternoon for Swindon.

Tempers became frayed as Rovers began running down the clock. Nathan McGinley deliberately missed a ball returned to him by a ball boy and then, when Anthony Grant personally delivered it into his hands, he acted as if he had been the victim of a violent assault!

After the game Richie Wellens said he was encouraged by his team’s commitment and that it was simply one of those days. I think his perspective is right, in not making too much of Swindon’s first home league defeat in thirteen games. This was a blip that was always coming along sometime soon – it’s just a shame it had to be against our local rivals. The next two games are both away against Oldham and Stevenage, and I feel confident that at least four points can be gained.