MATT Taylor’s first match in charge of Swindon Town ended in a crushing home defeat as they were humbled by West Country rivals Cheltenham Town this afternoon.

Taylor was handed the reins at the Energy Check County Ground on an interim basis in the wake of David Flitcroft’s shock resignation on March 1 to take up the vacant post at League Two play-off rivals Mansfield Town.

On their first return to the pitch since that drama, the Swindon players responded with their most lacklustre display in some time as their five-match winning home run was ended in spectacular fashion.

Jake Andrews gave Cheltenham the lead four minutes before the break with an excellent curling free-kick from the edge of the box and Mohamed Eisa pounced on some slack Swindon defending to double the advantage five minutes into the second period.

Eisa then sealed the home side’s fate with his second goal 18 minutes from time after Swindon were again carved open too easily by a powerful forward drive from Oluwasanmi Odelusi.

Taylor stuck with the preferred 3-5-2 formation of predecessor Flitcroft but made a bold selection in goal by handing a surprise debut to Stuart Moore and dropping Reice Charles-Cook to the bench.

Swindon looked to get on the front foot early on and put pressure on the Cheltenham goal with a couple of corners in quick succession, the last of which saw visiting keeper Scott Flinders claiming a looped effort from Luke Norris underneath his own crossbar.

Cheltenham saw their first sight of goal after 10 minutes when the ball was flicked into the Swindon box following a long throw but Kevin Dawson failed to react in time and Moore was able to gather in the home goal.

The hosts promptly launched a rapid counter attack and Norris saw a powerful low effort blocked in the box by a flurry of Cheltenham bodies before the same player sent the follow-up high over the bar.

Swindon were opened up by some quick Cheltenham passing after 15 minutes and were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Taylor Moore went down in the box under pressure from Taylor’s challenge as referee Tom Nield waved away the visitors’ vocal appeals.

The game then stagnated for a while as Cheltenham enjoyed a prolonged spell of dominance in the Town half without ever creating a telling chance.

The most notable moment came just after the half-hour mark when Swindon midfielder James Dunne was briefly shown a red card for a foul on Joe Morrell just outside the box, with Neild instantly correcting his decision and downgrading it to a booking.

With a poor first half seemingly destined to end goalless, the visitors suddenly got their noses in front four minutes before the break.

Chris Robertson knocked Mohamed Eisa over on edge of box and Andrews curled a fine free-kick around the wall and into top left corner with home keeper Moore stranded.

Having failed to create a genuine chance throughout the opening 45 minutes, Swindon’s best effort came in first-half stoppage time as a Timi Elsnik snap-shot deflected onto bar after a Taylor corner but the opportunity was snuffed out when Rollin Menayese bundled over Flinders attempting to pounce on the loose ball.

Cheltenham were the first to threaten after the restart as home keeper Moore came for a deep Andrews free-kick but did not claim with it, with the ball pinging around the Swindon box before eventually ricocheting over the top.

The visitors did have a second goal just five minutes into the second period when William Boyle sent a long ball up field and Eisa pounced, brushing off the attentions of Ben Purkiss too easily before lifting the ball over the advancing Moore.

Cheltenham were now well on top and Carl Winchester stung the palms of Moore with a rasping drive from distance.

Eisa’s eyes lit up at the thought of a second goal just before the hour mark as he latched onto another ball into the home box but this time Moore was equal to the effort to push it away.

Swindon finally called Flinders back into action after 65 minutes but the visiting keeper was hardly troubled in comfortably gathering a tame Marc Richards effort.

However, momentum promptly swung back Cheltenham’s way and they made it 3-0 after 72 minutes after more sloppy play from the hosts.

Substitute Odelusi pounced on a loose pass midway inside the visitors’ half and promptly carried the ball 70 metres into the Swindon box, cutting side Menayese in the process, before teeing up Eisa to finish from close range.

A flurry of late substitutions disrupted the play as the game headed towards its climax and the hosts limped towards the finish line without offering even the slightest hope of a least a consolation goal for their suffering supporter to take some solace from.

SWINDON TOWN (3-5-2): Moore; Purkiss, Robertson, Menayese; Knoyle (Gordon 56), Dunne, Elsnik, Anderson (Mullin 80), Taylor; Richards (capt), Norris (Woolery 68). Subs not used: Charles-Cook, Hussey, Iandolo, Twine.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-5-1): Flinders; Moore, Boyle, Grimes, Chatzitheodoridis (Cranston 85); Andrews (Odelusi 69), Winchester (capt), Atangana, Morrell, Dawson (Lloyd 81); Eisa. Subs not used: Wright, Graham, Lovett, Rodon.

Referee: Tom Nield

Attendance: 6,658