SWINDON Town’s late rally came up short at Chesterfield this afternoon as they were undone by an early goal in each half.

Chris O’Grady put the Spireites ahead inside two minutes at the Proact Stadium before Andy Kellett made it 2-0 six minutes into the second period.

Town’s hopes seemed to have faded altogether when Ollie Banks was shown a straight red card with 18 minutes to go but that only served to galvanise David Flitcroft’s side and they promptly gave themselves a lifeline through Chris Robertson's header.

The visitors continued to throw bodies forward in search of an equaliser in the closing stages but no clear-cut chance was forthcoming as they were unable to strengthen their hand in the League Two promotion push.

Town got off to the worst possible start and found themselves behind inside two minutes from the first meaningful attack of the match.

Drew Talbot swung in a teasing low ball from the left and Swindon goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook could only palm it down into a crowded six-yard box where O'Grady pounced to scramble it over the line.

The visitors were slow to get going and it took until almost the quarter-of-an-hour mark for them to see a genuine sight of goal, although it was agonisingly close to an equaliser.

Kellan Gordon was felled by Talbot just outside the box and Matt Taylor whipped in a superb free-kick that looked destined to nestle in the near corner of the net only for Chesterfield stopper Aaron Ramsdale to fling himself to his right and claw it away.

Moments of action were then few and far between for an extended spell as the play became congested in the middle of the park and both sides were forced into a reshuffle due to injury.

Just before the half-hour mark, Town skipper Olly Lancashire saw his ankle injury strike again and he hobbled off to be replaced by Robertson before the Spireites lost their own captain eight minutes later when Robbie Weir limped from the field.

After a lacklustre opening 40 minutes, Town suddenly burst into life and had three sights of goal in quick succession before the break.

First, Kyle Knoyle sent in a good cross from the right and although Paul Mullin twisted and turned to meet the ball, his header looped well wide.

Marc Richards then blazed over the top after Robertson had headed a Taylor corner back across goal before another Taylor set-piece caused panic in the Spireites box as Louis Dodds headed a whipped free-kick over his own bar.

After a strong spell, Town were almost undone in first-half stoppage time as Talbot climbed highest to meet an Kellett corner at the near post but sent his header across the face of goal and wide.

Town came out keen to press after the restart and much of the early play took place in the Spireites’ half. However, that them exposed on the counter and the home side took full advantage to double their lead six minutes into the second period.

Jak McCourt send Kellett into space in the Swindon half and he charged into the box before cutting back inside the backward run of Rollin Menayese and curling beyond Charles-Cook into the far corner of the net.

Swindon continued to press and Richards and Mullin got their foot on the ball in the box but were crowded out as they looked to shoot before Keshi Anderson saw a good first-time effort deflected wide after a Taylor free-kick was only half-cleared.

At the other end, McCourt headed wide after climbing to meet a Kellett free-kick and Town boss Flitcroft responded with a double substitution with half-an-hour to go, sending on Luke Norris and Kainye Woolery in place of Anderson and Gordon.

It almost had an instant impact and only the woodwork prevented Swindon from cutting the deficit as Banks crashed an effort against the crossbar before Taylor sent the follow-up wide.

Kellett then went down in the Town box under pressure from Robertson but referee waved away the appeals for a penalty and Swindon went straight up the other end where Richards headed wide from a cross from Woolery.

After a promising spell, Swindon suffered a setback with 18 minutes to go as they were reduced to 10 men when Banks was sent off after lunging in on Louis Reed on halfway.

However, any thoughts that they would then roll over were diminished just three minutes later when Robertson cut the deficit with a powerful header from a Taylor free-kick after Mullin had been fouled wide on the left.

Town began to press for an equaliser and Woolery fashioned a shooting chance for himself from the edge of the box but sent it narrowly wide.

Woolery had another sight of goal in the last of the regulation 90 minutes as he chased onto a through ball but Ramsdale was quick from his line to make the chance a difficult one and again the substitute shot wide as time soon ran out on Town.

CHESTERFIELD: Ramsdale; Barry, Whitmore, Nelson, Talbot (Binnom-Williams 80); Kellett (Rowley 86), Weir (McCourt 36), Reed, Hines; Dodds, O'Grady. Subs not used: Jones, Brown, Maguire, Dennis.

SWINDON TOWN: Charles-Cook; Purkiss, Lancashire (Robertson 28), Menayese; Knoyle, Gordon (Woolery 59), Banks, Anderson (Norris 59), Taylor; Mullin, Richards. Subs not used: Moore, Dunne, Iandolo.

Referee: John Brooks

Attendance: 4,668 (451)