SWINDON Town manager Richie Wellens felt his side were “by far” the better team for the majority of their 2-1 defeat to Northampton Town on Tuesday night.

Swindon were a goal down inside 10 minutes at the PTS Academy Stadium after Christian Missilou tucked home a header, and things got worse for Wellens’ men after half an hour when Danny Rose rolled home the hosts’ second.

An underwhelming first half continued as Swindon dealt with the barrage of long balls that Northampton were sending into the visitors’ box.

Wellens was left unhappy at both his team’s start, and with the way his defenders dealt with Northampton’s game plan in the early stages of Tuesday night’s defeat.

He said: “Take away the first 15 minutes where I thought we were lethargic and slow, we didn’t compete, and we gave away too many free-kicks.

“The amount of times in the last 48 hours where I said: “don’t give cheap free-kicks away”, and we just continued to do it.

“Then they can disrupt your game and put it back into your box.

“But after that, I thought we were by far the better team – by far.

“But they defended the box really well, we missed chances, and then every time they booted the ball forward we let the ball bounce in our box.”

Swindon emerged a different team in the second half, however, and appeared destined to pull a goal back even earlier than they eventually did.

Substitute Tyler Smith was sent on with plenty of time to spare, and with 20 minutes to go, the Sheffield United striker won a penalty after being fouled from behind.

After dispatching the spot-kick, Swindon piled on the pressure in search of a leveller, but after Joel Grant’s late goal was ruled out for a foul on the goalkeeper in the build up, the Wiltshire side were cruelly denied what their manager deemed a deserved point.

Wellens said: “In the second half, there was only one team in it.

“I told you guys before that I’m not going to speak about referees, but wait until you see this one, guys!

“Jonny Smith has a shot, the goalkeeper fumbles it, we put in the rebound and the referee gives a free-kick.

“We should have taken a point away with that, but we should have scored seven or eight today.

“We don’t hit the target, we miss one-on-ones, we hit it straight at the ‘keeper – we should’ve scored six or seven tonight, I really believe that.”