SWINDON Town suffered a disappointing defeat away at Accrington Stanley on Saturday after going down 2-1 to the Lancastrian outfit.

Following a disappointing result against Sunderland on Tuesday, John Sheridan’s men emerged second best in another tough encounter, largely down to a thrilling first 45 at the Wham Stadium.

Dion Charles headed Stanley in front early on before Brett Pitman’s equaliser after half an hour. But as Town tried to escape into half-time unscathed, Colby Bishop – who scored against Town in the reverse fixture – headed in the second from a corner.

Defeat left Town in 20th – one place above the dotted line – following a thumping win for Northampton over Portsmouth.

Town made four changes to the side that fell 1-0 at Sunderland on Tuesday night. Ellis Iandolo made a rare start, while Akin Odimayo and Hallam Hope also came into the starting XI - Jordan Lyden returned after a spell out through injury.

Jordon Garrick and Rob Hunt dropped to the bench while Matty Palmer and Dom Thompson missed out on the match day 18 altogether.

For Accrington, first-choice stopper Nathan Baxter was out through a shoulder injury, and he was replaced by Toby Savin in goal. Sean McConville started on his 32nd birthday while captain Seamus Conneely took his place in the starting XI after seeing his red card against Ipswich Town overturned.

It was the hosts who had the better of the opening 10 minutes at the Wham Stadium, with Charles and Matt Butcher shooting off target early on.

John Coleman’s men did not have to wait for much longer for their first goal either. A slick move from Stanley started with McConville breaking down the left and crossing towards Bishop who headed back into the centre for Charles to nod in from point-blank range.

Moments later, Bishop was next to try his luck after another long ball over the top allowed the striker time and space to shoot – though his effort did not test Connal Trueman.

Up the other end, Twine almost added to his list of goal-of-the-season contenders using fantastic technique. After Iandolo's cross was headed away, Twine volleyed at goal on the full from 25 yards out, and the ball dipped just wide of Toby Savin's goal.

With Accrington still seeing most of the ball, Swindon equalised out of nowhere. A direct ball forward from Odimayo was latched onto by Pitman, and the striker simply lobbed Savin from outside the box after the goalkeeper was caught in no man’s land.

Straight from kick-off, Town almost took the lead. Payne was brought down 25 yards out, and Twine whipped a textbook free-kick off the bar that hit the back of Savin, went straight down and somehow bounced out for a corner.

Sheridan’s men had their hosts rattled by this, but it was Stanley’s right-back, Michael Nottingham who was next to go close. After a long throw wasn't cleared properly by Town, Nottingham leathered a right-footed effort straight down the throat of Trueman.

Five minutes before the break, Charles skinned Conroy inside the box, and only a fantastic block from Broadbent stopped Stanley taking the lead again.

However, on the stroke of half-time, Accrington did score again. An out-swinging corner from McConville was headed goalwards by Bishop and after Trueman was blocked, the ball somehow bounced tamely into the net.

Twine saw another late free-kick kept out by Savin as the hosts took their lead into half-time.

Following a series of substitutions for both sides, the opening 15 minutes of the second half largely passed without incident – only a decent cross from Jordon Garrick that Hope could not direct on target filled an uneventful period.

Midway through the second half, Accrington missed a golden chance to extend their lead to two goals. Conroy initially did well to dispossess Charles before seeing his clearance bounce against him.

The goalscorer pulled the ball back to his teammate Russell eight yards out, but the Chelsea loanee clipped his left-footed shot over the bar.

Inside the final 15 minutes, Missilou was dispossessed inside his own half by Charles, and the striker charged in on goal. He had Russell to his right, but the 25-year-old had no intention of passing and sliced an effort well off target from just outside the box.

As time ticked on, Accrington had yet another chance to kill the game when substitute Adam Phillips combined with Russell before blasting a shot narrowly over the bar.

And inside the final five minutes, Town almost snatched an equaliser after Conroy kept the ball alive and flicked a cross into the middle. Pitman laid the ball off for Twine to strike left footed, but Savin did just enough to keep it out.

Accrington hit the bar with a thumping effort in added time, but there were no further chances as the hosts saw the game out with ease.

ASFC starting XI: Savin, Nottingham, Hughes, Burgess, Butcher, Smyth, McConville, Barclay, Bishop, Conneely, Charles.

SUBS: Isherwood, Russell, Maguire, Rodgers, Scully, Phillips, Morgan.

STFC starting XI: Trueman, Conroy, Grounds, Pitman, Twine, Iandolo, Odimayo, Payne, Lyden, Broadbent, Hope.

SUBS: Matthews, Caddis, Garrick, Curran, Missilou, Hunt, Omotoye.