DAVID Flitcroft conceded Swindon Town’s players completely ‘capitulated’ in the second half of their 5-0 drubbing at the hands of League Two leaders Luton Town as they were humiliated on home turf on Boxing Day.

Swindon had gone toe-to-toe with the high-flying Hatters during a goalless first half at the Energy Check County Ground but the spirit seemed to sap from the hosts when ex-Town man James Collins broke the deadlock with a superb strike just three minutes after the restart.

Danny Hylton made it 2-0 five minutes later and a Matt Taylor own goal and further strikes from Luton substitutes Harry Cornick and Elliott Lee completed the rout.

The defeat was Town’s ninth in 15 games at home in all competitions this season and Flitcroft admitted there was simply no fight in his players after falling behind.

“In the first half, we more than matched them. We had a good structure to the team, we were on the front foot and I was happy going in at half-time with a clean sheet,” said Flitcroft.

“The first goal seemed to completely take away the confidence and fight from the team. At 1-0 down you are not out of the fight so make sure you regroup for five minutes but we didn’t.

“Suddenly you are two goals down and then the third one was a complete mess. Certainly after the second goal, you could see the heads completely drop.

“At 1-0 down, there has to be a fight, there has got to be a mental switch-on and there wasn’t. That’s the most disappointing aspect.

“Collins has bent a worldie in for the first goal but what shouldn’t follow after that is a capitulation from a group of men. They absolutely schooled us in the second half and we gave up the fight.”

Boos rang out around the County Ground upon the final whistle and Flitcroft was fully understanding of the Swindon supporters’ frustrations at what they saw.

When asked if fight was the minimum expectation from fans of their team, Flitcroft said: “Without a doubt. That is the hardest thing on the back of a 5-0 defeat at home.

“The fans have probably spent a lot over Christmas and then been asked to come out today and spend more money and they have had to endure that in the second half.

“It should be a given that there should be a real togetherness and fight on a football pitch but the first goal really drew away the players’ fight.”

Flitcroft also confirmed that striker Harry Smith had played his final game for the club, with his loan from Championship club Millwall not being extended in the new year.

"Harry will go back to Millwall," he said.

"He's not been too pleased with the game time he's had or not had around this period. 

"I wanted everyone on my page, on the same page and everyone looking forward to the second-half of the season.

"Harry has gone back and we'll make that official."