Crawley Town suffered their first defeat of the season with a 3-0 loss at Swindon Town tonight.
After Saturday’s superb win against Scunthorpe, the Reds were brought back down to earth with a bump at the County Ground as goals from Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller and Raffaele De Vita gave Richie Barker’s men their first taste of defeat in League One.
The Robins started brightly, and Miller had the first pop at goal in the second minute although his effort on the volley from the edge of the area was easily saved by Paul Jones in the Crawley goal.
Moments later, Claude Davis almost diverted De Vita’s cross from the left past his own goalkeeper but the ball spun out for a corner.
Swindon had shot out of the blocks, Joe Devera should have nodded the hosts in front after 11 minutes when he found himself unmarked at the back post from De Vita’s left-wing corner, but the right-back contrived to head the ball into the ground and over the top of Jones’ crossbar.
Crawley struggled to get a stranglehold on proceedings early on, and in a rare sortie into Swindon territory Hope Akpan curled an over over from 15 yards.
When Swindon took the lead, they did so in fortunate fashion, Ritchie, a constant menace to Reds left back Mat Sadler, swung in a cross which drifted beyond Jones and nestled neatly in the bottom corner.
Stung, Crawley finally found their feet and a sustained spell of pressure ended with Kyle McFadzean nodding Mark Connolly’s teasing left-wing cross narrowly over from close range.
But Swindon always looked dangerous going forwards, particularly down the right, where Ritchie fed Williams who somehow turned his marker inside the box before firing into the side-netting.
Barker’s men attempted a mini comeback towards the end of the half, but Wes Foderingham was equal to Billy Clarke’s drive from 15 yards and Crawley’s delivery from wide areas was lacking.
And moments before half-time Swindon gave themselves a welcome cushion on which to sit at the break, as Miller fired them further in front.
Ritchie was again involved, chipping to the back post where De Vita nodded goalwards.
The ball was stabbed half-clear by the Crawley defence but Miller was quickest to react and planted the ball confidently past Jones.
After the interval, the Robins quickly found themselves in Crawley territory once more, with James Collins teeing up Ritchie who fired straight at Jones.
A third goal was coming, and it arrived eight minutes into the second half, Ritchie, dinked the ball across from the right, where De Vita was unmarked at the back post, and the wide man controlled well with his first touch before crashing home his second.
A fingertip Jones save prevented Andy Williams from finding the top corner after he galloped clear of the Crawley defence, while at the other end Foderingham dealt comfortably with Nicky Adams’ shot.
Swindon thought they had netted for a fourth time when Aden Flint nodded beyond Jones at the back post from Ritchie’s free-kick – but the County Ground’s celebrations were cut short by the linesman’s flag.
Jones was called into action once more, to deny James Collins as he ensured no further damage was done.