Two quick fire first half goals earned Swindon Town the three points against ten man Rochdale on Saturday.
Despite a spirited and dominant second half display by Dale at the County Ground, they could only half the deficit.
The Robins opened up a two goal advantage in as many minutes through an excellent strike by Fabien Robert and a deflected effort from Ben Gladwin.
Rochdale, who had been reduced to ten men just twelve minutes into the game, pulled a goal back on the hour mark after Olly Lancashire bundled a Michael Rose corner ball over the line.
Manager Keith Hill had initially made two changes to the side that lined-up against Bury for last weekend’s FA Cup tie. Matty Lund returned from injury to go straight into the starting eleven, replacing James Hooper, while Peter Vincenti replaced Calvin Andrew. Both Hooper and Andrew were named as substitutes.
Hill was forced into a late change, however, after Scott Tanser, who had originally been down to start, was injured in the warm-up. Michael Rose took his place at left-back, making way for Brian Barry-Murphy to be named on the bench.
And Dale, whose pre-match preparations were hampered by the late switch, also had a red card to contend with early in the game.
John O’Sullivan, who is on-loan at Rochdale from Blackburn Rovers, was shown a straight red card in the twelfth minute for a late challenge.
But despite the hosts’ numerical advantage, it was Dale who dominated for a spell after the sending off.
Rochdale had a penalty appeal turned down, despite Vincenti being shoved to ground as he attacked a dangerous delivery into the six-yard box by Ian Henderson.
Six minutes later Vincenti had Dale’s best chance of the half but he could only hit wide of the target from close range while under pressure.
After the opportunity, the home side built momentum. Dale defended resolutely while under increasing pressure, before the Robins struck twice in two minutes to open up a two goal advantage.
Robert opened the scoring with a brilliant powerful strike from the edge of the area.
Gladwin netted Swindon’s second goal a couple of minutes later, his effort taking a huge deflection beyond Castro Pereira.
Dale’s first substitution of the game followed in the 40th minute as the injured Donal McDermott was replaced by Barry-Murphy.
The introduction of the experienced midfielder added a calming presence to the side after the series of early disruptions and Dale saw the game out until half-time.
HT: Swindon Town 2-0 Rochdale
Rochdale started the second half on the front foot and put the Robins under pressure with excellent pressing football.
Hill further added to his side’s attacking prowess, making a double substitution in the 53rd minute. Vincenti and Callum Camps were replaced by Mendez-Laing and Andrew.
Dale’s play was causing problems for the home side and on the hour mark Keith Hill’s side deservedly halved the deficit through Olly Lancashire, who netted from a Rose corner ball.
Goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux thought he had kept the centre half out after getting a hand to his effort, but Lancashire had done enough to bundle the ball over the line.
Swindon Town’s best chance of the second half came eight minutes later.
The goal scorer Gladwin powered his way into the area, before sending an effort across the face of goal and inches wide of the post.
In the 77th minute, great goalkeeping by Casto Pereira kept out Jonathan Obika at his post.
But it was the spirited and dominant Dale who finished the match on top as they went search of the equaliser.
Rose saw a free-kick from 30-yards sent round the upright, before Andrew had Dale’s best chance to net the leveller.
Andrew drove forward into the area but could only blaze a shot over.
FT: Swindon Town 2-1 Rochdale