SWINDON Town earned progress in a cup competition for the second time in four days with victory at League One side Bristol Rovers in the Checkatrade Trophy this evening.

David Flitcroft’s side booked a spot in the second round of the FA Cup on Sunday with an emphatic win at non-league side Dartford and have now matched that achievement in the Trophy by claiming West Country bragging rights at the Memorial Stadium.

With Swindon and Rovers having both beaten Wycombe Wanderers and lost to West Ham United U21s in their first two matches in the competition, the permutations of this final group game were straightforward as the victors would earn safe passage out of Southern Group C.

John Goddard’s early penalty for Town was cancelled out by a Ryan Sweeney header but goals either side of half-time from Paul Mullin and Kellan Gordon seemingly had the contest wrapped up for the visitors.

However, when Donal McDermott limped from the field with 20 minutes to go after all three substitutions had been made, Rovers gained the impetus and cut the gap to a single goal through Liam Sercombe.

Swindon dug deep, though, and after a brave defensive effort, were able to finally kill off the Gas through a sensational solo goal from Kaiyne Woolery two minutes from time.

Town boss Flitcroft made seven changes to the side that triumphed at Dartford at the weekend, although it was still a strong-looking visiting side that took to the field at the Memorial Stadium.

Three of those switches were at the back, as full-backs Kyle Knoyle and Ellis Iandolo replaced Ben Purkiss and Matt Taylor, while Chris’ Robertson’s inclusion in the middle gave Matt Preston a night off.

Goddard and Gordon replaced James Dunne and Amine Linganzi in a three-man midfield, while Woolery and Keshi Anderson were named in a three-man attack at the expense of McDermott and Harry Smith.

Reice Charles-Cook was the first of the goalkeepers called into action, with the Swindon stopper making a scrambling save low down to his right to push away Sercombe’s strike from the edge of the box.

It took Town 14 minutes to muster up their first real attack but when it came, only the woodwork prevented them from breaking the deadlock as Goddard sent a rasping effort against the crossbar from 25 yards.

The visitors did get their noses in front just three minutes later, with Goddard the man to make the breakthrough from the penalty spot.

Mullin drove into the Rovers box up the right and was brought down from behind by Marc Bola. Premier League referee Andre Marriner had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Goddard beat Adam Smith from 12 yards.

Rovers rallied after the goal and Joe Partington cut in from the right and sent in a left-foot shot from 25 yards that flew just wide.

The home were level shortly afterwards when Sweeney powered home a header on 26 minutes after climbing highest to meet a Sercombe free-kick from the left at the back post.

Swindon soon wrestled back control of proceedings and retook the lead eight minutes before the break.

Woolery sent in a fierce strike from distance that Smith could only parry and Mullin was on hand to gobble up the rebound and send the visitors back into the changing rooms a goal to the good.

Rovers were first into the action after the restart as Dominic Telford blazed wide after the ball broke nicely to him in the box before Mullin sent a header straight at Smith from a Gordon cross at the other end.

Another good chance came Town’s way when Anderson threaded Gordon into acres of space but he lashed over the top after racing in on goal.

However, the Derby County loanee made up for that mistake within three minutes when he gave the visitors daylight with their third goal.

Gordon pounced on an error by Sweeney in the box and cracked an effort against the post, but the ball came straight back to him and he made no mistake with the second attempt.

With Swindon seemingly coasting, they suffered a big setback with 20 minutes to play when McDermott came off worse when lunging into a challenge on Olly Lines.

The wideman ended up limping from the field and with all three substitutions already made, Town were forced to play on with 10 men.

Rovers needed just three minutes to capitalise on their numerical advantage as Sercombe ghosted between the defence to divert home Tom Nichols’ cross and cut the gap to a single goal.

But Town produced a spirited backs-to-the wall defensive effort from there and finally sealed the win with two minutes to go through a sensational goal from Woolery as he collected the ball in his own half before racing 70 yards and calmly planting the ball beyond Smith.

BRISTOL ROVERS: Smith; Partington, Sweeney, Burn (Leadbitter 75), Bola; Sercombe, Lines, O Clarke; Harrison, Telford (Gaffney 55), Moore (Nichols 55). Subs not used: Slocombe, Menayese, Brown, Broom.

SWINDON TOWN: Charles-Cook; Knoyle, Lancashire (capt) (Preston 46), Robertson, Iandolo; Elsnik (Dunne 55), Goddard, Gordon; Woolery, Anderson (McDermott 62), Mullin. Subs not used: Henry, Romanski, Linganzi, H Smith.

Referee: Andre Marriner

Attendance: 1,657 (197)