AFTER a brief respite, the pressure is back on Phil Brown and his players following Swindon Town’s narrow 1-0 defeat to Colchester United at the weekend.

A battling comeback victory over Notts County a week earlier proved to be the perfect remedy to Swindon’s dismal previous defeat to Cambridge United, who prior to kick-off of that game on October 23, occupied a relegation place in League Two.

At the time, supporters were vocal in their disappointment, as they aimed jeers at Swindon skipper Olly Lancashire, prompting Brown to publicly state that the buck stops with him, and therefore any critique should land at his feet.

Saturday’s defeat to the U’s meant Town’s search for back-to-back wins continues for at least another week as they slip further down the table to 16th.

To some, it may appear alarming to see the Energy Check County Ground side languishing towards the bottom of the English Football League.

After all, this is the longest the club have ever spent in the fourth tier.

Sammie Szsmodics got the only goal of the game for Colchester in a game that Swindon could have won on a different day.

Brown made one change from the team who were victorious at Meadow Lane seven days ago, as midfielder Michael Doughty missed out with a foot injury.

Defender Joe Romanski came into the team on the left of defence, while player-coach Matt Taylor moved further up the field in a tactical tweak.

Brown was forced into making another slight adjustment after Marc Richards pulled up with a thigh injury during the warm-up, which saw Elijah Adebayo take his place in the side as Scott Twine moved onto the bench.

Chances were few and far between in the first 45 minutes at the Colchester Community Stadium as neither side were able to assert their style of play onto the game.

Most of the pre-match chat had been surrounding Colchester's former Swindon striker Luke Norris as he came up against his former employers for the first time since he was sold in the summer.

Despite their being a lack of chances, there was a goal before the break as Szmodics put Colchester ahead on the stroke of half-time after Swindon were caught napping during injury time at the end of the first half.

Frank Nouble, who also had a previous brief stint at the County Ground, used his size well to hold off the advances of the Swindon defence before picking out Szmodics in the penalty area, leaving him to slot home right-footed.

The goal came after a considerable break when Norris required treatment after an innocuous fall, which saw him eventually stretchered off and taken to hospital with an ankle injury.

In the second half, skipper Lancashire added to Town’s woes when he was forced to be replaced by Dion Conroy after taking a knock at the near post from a corner in the 56th minute, a problem that left him without feeling in his right leg.

Brown then replaced Jak McCourt with Steven Alzate in a bid to reinvigorate the game for the away side.

In the 63rd minute, Brown made his final change of the game as defender Romanski came off for Keshi Anderson, seeing Swindon revert to a 4-3-3 formation.

And the substitutions looked to be paying off as Alzate and Anderson were causing all manner of problems for the hosts.

Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux hadn’t been given too much to do, but was called into action and had to parry Ryan Jackson’s well-hit shot clear as Swindon searched for an equaliser.

With 15 minutes to play, Swindon had their best chance of the game when Martin Smith was slipped in on goal, only for him to hit the home keeper.

Anderson was the next player to get a shot at Rene Gilmartin and in truth, he should have done better as his lashed Alzate’s cross wide of the far post after a sweeping move from Town involving Kyle Knoyle and Jermaine McGlashan.

Late on, McGlashan was handed a yellow card for simulation as he looked to trick the referee into giving Town a spot-kick as Swindon’s attempts to get back into contention began to feel desperate.

Five minutes of injury time wasn’t enough for Town as they slumped to a 1-0 defeat, a sobering reminder that Swindon run the risk of being left to deal with life in League Two for the foreseeable.

It has been well-documented that Town’s fall from relative grace has been slow and upsetting for the club’s supporters, who yearn for life to be breathed back into their team.

While it is easy to suggest a change in manager, a new formation or an influx of new players, the reality is that the club have tried all of the above in recent years and none of the solutions have worked.

Naturally, attendances, quality of football and ultimately interest in the club are waning as their downward spiral continues.

Brown has assembled a group of hard-working players, who have shown character several times already this season despite many being unfamiliar with each other, and the Town boss believes his players are on the cusp of a well-timed run of results.

Claiming back-to-back league wins for the first time this season would have been a great start, but the odds are stacked against them as Swindon have only won three games in a row once in the last 788 days, spanning all the way back to the start of the 2016/17 season.

The 59-year-old will have to wait for the chance to reverse that as the FA Cup takes centre stage next Saturday, with York City visiting the County Ground.