DESPITE one of their better performances away from home this season, Swindon Town fell to a 2-1 defeat at Colchester United this afternoon.

David Mooney gave the hosts the advantage from the penalty spot after just seven minutes following an unfortunate handball from Andrew Frampton, and aside from Elliot Benyon’s long-range effort which was tipped onto the bar by Mark Cousins the remainder of the period was fairly uneventful.

But after the break Town came on strong, and Scott Cuthbert levelled six minutes after half time with a strong header after Cousins had turned away Andrew Frampton’s effort.

Cuthbert had two further chances to put Swindon ahead, spurning a free header from Jonathan Douglas’ cross before forcing Cousins into a superb save with a towering effort, and Benyon should have done better unmarked eight yards out.

And those misses would prove costly as Steven Gillespie popped up to fire the winner in added time in the second half.

Here are the key moments from today’s match:

Two mins: Town are within a fingertip of going in front as Elliot Benyon fires an audacious first-time volley from fully 30 yards, seeing Mark Cousins off his line.

The Colchester keeper backtracks and gets up just in time to extend a desperate arm to the ball, and the touch pushes the ball onto the crossbar. Oh so close for the visitors, and bright from Benyon.

Seven mins: (GOAL 1-0, Mooney pen) This moment just sums up the Robins luck since Christmas. A clipped ball over the top seems to have Andrew Frampton struggling to get back at first, but he does well to outmuscle Andy Bond as the pair reach the edge of the penalty area.

However, as the centre-back prepares to clear away from the danger zone, his momentum gets the better of him and his swinging arm makes contact with the ball. It’s not deliberate, but it probably is a penalty, and referee Graham Salisbury points to the spot.

David Mooney steps up and sends David Lucas the wrong way. Massive early blow for Town, some real character needed now.

17 mins: Not much by way of clear-cut chances for either side in this one. Lots of careless possession football in midfield, and Jonathan Obika is getting well and truly frozen out by the mountainous centre-back partnership of Pat Baldwin and Matt Heath for the hosts.

21 mins: With Mooney and Bond ready to pounce at the back post, Scott Cuthbert comes in with a timely interception to clear the ball out for a throw in. Top piece of defending that.

From the resulting restart Mooney finds himself in enough space to lash a fierce drive at goal from eight yards. Lucas pulls off a superb reflex save at the near post to keep the deficit to just the single goal.

23 mins: Almost a piece of pure comedy gold at the Weston Homes as Baldwin nods Paul Caddis’ cross towards his own goal, Cousins half saves the header but the ball trickles towards the goalline. However, the stopper gets back in time to prevent a moment of real embarrassment.

27 mins: Too much lump it long stuff from the visitors. When they get it down and pass it around, Town look to have their hosts in their back pocket. Baldwin and Heath will lap up aimless hoofball all day long.

37 mins: Another instance of ill-fortune for Town as Obika is played clean through by Jonathan Douglas, only for referee Salisbury to call the play back for a foul on Ritchie in midfield. Typical.

42 mins: A brief moment of excitement, but it really is only brief as Bond lashes wildly over from 25 yards out. This one is getting a bit tedious now, very little quality on display.

48 mins: Obika gets his first clear sight at goal since joining the Robins, and he comes very close to levelling for his new side. The 20-year-old hits a low 20-yard drive, which Cousins does well to get down to and paw to safety, and Ritchie is unable to capitalise on the rebound.

49 mins: Cousins gets himself into all sorts of trouble when he realises at the last minute he’s not allowed to pick up a pass back from Baldwin, and he slices an attempted clearance out of play for a corner.

50 mins: (GOAL 1-1, Cuthbert) The bizarre string of events concludes with Cuthbert equalising for the visitors . McGovern’s corner drifts to Frampton at the back post, the centre-back sends a fairly tame shot back into the box but it deflects off a defender and forces Cousins into an awkward save with his feet.

The ball loops up into the air and Cuthbert wins the 50-50 challenge to head into the back of the net. Game on. Colchester look to be in a complete shambles at the start of this second half.

53 mins: Important save from Lucas to stop the home side getting back ahead very quickly as he pounces on Joe Beevers’ header.

54 mins: Cuthbert should really be celebrating a brace, as Town squander two chances in quick succession to pull ahead. First, Benyon has time to spare as he lines up a shot from eight yards, but slices it horribly wide.

In fact it is so wide that it falls to Douglas on the right wing and his deft clipped centre with the outside of his right boot picks out Cuthbert perfectly. But the Scot sends his free header wide of the mark. Big opportunity missed.

67 mins: Obika is desperate for that first goal for Town, and he does well to hold off Baldwin before sending a delicate curling effort from 18 yards just wide of the post. In flashes this afternoon the Spurs man has really shown he can be a decent threat up top for Swindon.

73 mins: Cuthbert’s at it again, this time rising imperiously to meet Michael Timlin’s cross and his header looks destined for the top corner before Cousins’ right hand comes out of nowhere to push the ball out for a corner.

78 mins: Town can feel very hard done by that they have not been given a penalty of their own by referee Salisbury after a bouncing ball in the box strikes Beevers on the arm. It is very similar to the offence committed by Frampton that led to Colchester’s spot-kick, but the official keeps his whistle by his side.

80 mins: This game is getting really stretched. There’s a winner in here somewhere.

83 mins: Substitute Steven Gillespie’s looping header has Lucas concerned for a moment, but the big keeper happily gets back to pluck the ball from the air before Kayode Odejayi’s long-distance daisy-cutter poses no threat to the Town goal. Colchester coming on strong late in the game, and Swindon have yet to freshen up with a sub of their own.

90 mins: Bond should have stolen it at the death for Colchester but, unmarked at the back post, he can only strike at Lucas.

90 mins: (GOAL 2-1, Gillespie) The same old story once again. This has been one of Town’s best away performances of the season, but they look to be leaving with nothing.

Lucas gets a good punch to a corner, but when the ball drops on the edge of the box Gillespie fires a first-time effort that somehow creeps into the back of the net despite the desperate dive of Jonathan Douglas.

90 mins: On one final rally into Colchester territory, Thomas Dossevi shoots wide from the edge of the area.

SWINDON TOWN (4-4-2): David Lucas; Paul Caddis, Scott Cuthbert, Andy Frampton, Michael Rose; Jon-Paul McGovern, Michael Timlin, Jonathan Douglas, Matt Ritchie (David Prutton, 90); Elliot Benyon, Jonathan Obika (Thomas Dossevi, 89)

Subs not used: Phil Smith, Alan Sheehan, Kevin Amankwaah, Aden Flint, Simon Ferry

COLCHESTER UNITED (4-4-1-1): Mark Cousins, Lee Beevers, Pat Baldwin, Matt Heath, Ben Coker; Ashley Vincent (Steven Gillespie, 74), David Perkins (Lloyd James, 74), Kem Izzet (Kayode Odejayi, 62), Anthony Wordsworth; Andy Bond; David Mooney

Subs not used: Ben Williams, Matthias Vihjalmsson, John White, Ian Henderson

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