Rotherham United slipped to their second league defeat of the season as Swindon Town withstood an early barrage from the Millers to cruise to victory.
Mark Cooper’s men claimed their first win of the road this season thanks to first-half strikes from Alex Pritchard and Massimo Luongo before Nicky Ajose and sub Dany N’Guessan rubbed salt into home wounds with further strikes in the second half.
Following their hard-fought victory over Brentford last weekend, Steve Evans made five changes for their comfortable JPT victory over York City in midweek but despite the fringe players’ staking a claim for a first-team spot, the Millers gaffer reverted to type with just two changes from their win at Griffin Park.
Pablo Mills was recalled at the heart of the Rotherham defence at the expense of Kari Arnason, who was on World Cup duty with Iceland while top-scorer Daniel Nardiello was paired upfront with Alex Revell as Bournemouth loanee Matt Tubbs had to settle for a place on the substitutes bench.
The Millers were quick out of the blocks and fine interplay involving Joe Skarz and Ben Pringle saw the former float a first-time cross which saw last-man Jay McEveley blast the ball behind to safety.
Minutes later, Kieran Agard threaded a ball into the channel paving the way for Nardiello to tease and torment Grant Hall down the byline before firing a left-footed cross into the path of an unmarked Revell, who could only spoon the ball over the bar despite having the goal at his mercy.
The home side came within a whisker of the breakthrough when Skarz’s arrowed ball was flicked on by Revell into the advancing run of Pringle, who burst past into his marker to advance menacingly into the box.
With just Foderingham to beat, the ex-Derby midfielder cleverly chipped the ball over him but to his frustration, the ball rolled tantalisingly wide of the upright.
The home side were bossing the proceedings and Revell’s slide-rule ball saw Pringle blaze a fierce drive over the bar before McEveley was on-hand to snuff out a dangerous Nardiello cross in the next phase of play.
Minutes later, Pringle floated an outswinging corner which saw Mills tower above his marker before powering a bullet header which Wes Foderingham appeared to parry onto the bar and the ball rebounded to the ex-Crawley defender, who agonisingly failed to bundle the ball home from point-blank range.
In Swindon’s first attack of note, Pritchard fired an inviting free-kick which saw McEveley nip infront of his marker at the back post to head goalwards but Scott Shearer showed great reflexes to parry the ball to safety.
Just shy of the half hour mark, Yaser Kasim saw yellow for kicking the ball away before Lee Frecklington was yellow carded for bundling over Pritchard in full flight just outside the home box.
From the resultant free-kick, Swindon punished the home side to the full when Pritchard picked himself up to curl a delightful free-kick over the home wall and despite Shearer getting a soft hand to it, the ball arrowed into the far corner of the goal.
With half-time approaching, Agard fizzed an effort from distance narrowly over before Pritchard again ran at the heart of the Millers’ rearguard with a direct run from deep and Rob Milsom was the next to see yellow for chopping him down narrowly outside the box.
Pritchard failed to repeat his trick though as he failed to trouble Shearer from the resultant free-kick as he blazed his shot over.
However, the home side suffered a hammer blow in first half stoppage time when following an incisive attack involving Nathan Bryne, Frecklington was unable to clear the danger and Luongo worked a yard of space before firing a goalbound effort which took a wicked deflection seemingly off Freckington and the ball agonisingly looped over the head of Shearer before nestling into the far corner of the goal.
Half-time:- Rotherham United 0 Swindon Town 2
Following the restart, Mills had to be on-hand to snuff out a dangerous Bryne centre with Nile Ranger lurking menacingly before the lively Pritchard tried his luck with a swerving strike from distance which Shearer watched over the bar.
Tubbs and Michael Tidser were introduced by Evans either side of the hour mark in an attempt to spark the Millers to life and Luongo cynically halted Frecklington as he looked to burst clear from midfield, an offence which saw the Tottenham summer signing become the fourth addition to the referee’s book.
However, Swindon effectively sealed the points on 65 minutes when following a quick counter-attack, Rotherham were backtracking to the edge of their own box and the ball was worked to Pritchard, who calmly stroked a slide-rule pass across the face of the home goal and with Shearer in no man’s land, Ajose tapped the ball into the unguarded goal from close range.
The visitors were sniffing blood and after a flurry of away passes had the home side on the run, Ranger’s clever back-heel saw Pritchard advance to the edge of the box and after spurning colleagues either side of him, he dragged a low effort narrowly wide of the upright.
Rotherham’s frustration boiled over when Mark Bradley hacked down Ajose near the corner flag before McEveley became the sixth booking of the afternoon when he hauled down Agard just outside the box.
With full-time approaching, Pringle saw yellow for a late tackle on Luongo and the home midfielder’s afternoon went from bad to worse when he dallied in possession as he ran towards his own goal and sub Dany N’Guessan took advantage to weigh up his options before calmly sliding the ball past Shearer into the bottom corner of the goal.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 0 Swindon Town 4
Rotherham- Shearer, Bradley, Morgan, Mills, Skarz, Agard, Frecklington, Milsom (Tidser 62) Pringle, Revell, Nardiello (Tubbs 56). Unused:- Collin, Brindley, O’Connor, Hylton, Rowe.
Swindon- Foderingham, N Thompson, Byrne, Luongo, Hall, Ranger (L Thompson 87), Pritchard, McEveley, Kasim, Ward, Ajose (N’Guessan 76). Unused:- Barthram, Belford, Branco, Cox, El Gabas
Referee:- A Haines
Attendance:- 8103 (540).