Rob Jones was denied his inaugural managerial win, against a Swindon side low on confidence after three successive losses, but a much-improved Rovers still gave reasons to feel positive.
A scrappy first half was notable only for Jones’s gamble on his own fitness proving premature; Aaron Taylor-Sinclair forced to stand in at centre half after 35 minutes. Loanees James Horsfield and Keshi Anderson both impressed, but Rovers lacked a final product, resorting to long balls far too frequently.
Within seconds of the restart, defensive naivety handed Swindon the lead, Nicky Ajose breaking clear and lobbing Thorsten Stuckmann, and almost adding a second moments later after beating the offside trap. Dany N’Guessan was introduced and immediately Rovers seemed more threatening – Swindon content sitting on the lead, playing for time.
Rovers continued to press, before man of the match Anderson made the breakthrough on 73 minutes with a gloriously placed shot from the edge of the area. Swindon became panicked and Rovers pounded them with sustained pressure, before James Coppinger was felled in the area on 78 minutes, leaving Swindon old-boy Andy Williams to despatch the penalty for a deserved lead.
Swindon’s earlier timewasting worked in their favour with five minutes of stoppage time announced, although only one was needed before John Obika rose all too easily to head Swindon’s equaliser from a corner.
Deflated, Rovers were unable to find a winner in the remaining time. Nonetheless, evidence of growing confidence within the squad bodes well, although defensive frailties are worrying.