BEN Garner enjoyed a wonderful return to his old club as Swindon Town came from behind to beat Bristol Rovers 3-1 at the Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

Harry Anderson had put Rovers ahead after a strong start by the hosts, but the following 70 minutes was all Swindon. Jack Payne equalised before Ben Gladwin dispatched a penalty and Harry McKirdy struck a late third.

The victory was no more than Swindon deserved, and three more points lifts Garner’s men up to fifth in League Two.

Garner named an unchanged starting XI from the 0-0 draw with Colchester United as the group was given another chance to try and find the net. Meanwhile, Jonny Williams had to make do with a spot on the bench, and there was no place in the squad for Anthony Grant.

For Rovers, Brett Pitman started up front and while fellow ex-Town alumni, Leon Clarke, was not in the squad as he is set to undergo surgery which will rule him out until the new year.

The first 15 minutes of action featured very few moments of quality as both sides struggled to get to grips with the slippery ball on a greasy surface.

When a moment of quality did arrive, it was Rovers who provided it in the build-up to their goal.

Just as Town were starting to build up a brief spell of momentum, Rovers worked it around in a triangle in midfield before an inch-perfect through ball split the Town defence down the right channel for Anderson to run onto. He took a touch and brilliantly fired his shot into the far corner past Jojo Wollacott.

Despite being under the cosh for most of the first 20 minutes, Town came out of their shell after the goal and began to press forward. Payne volleyed straight at James Belshaw five minutes after Town went behind.

Crosses from Kaine Kesler-Hayden and Ellis Iandolo went un-finished as the first half progressed, and Tyreece Simpson lashed a shot well off target from outside the box.

With 10 minutes to go until the break, Town had two golden chances to equalise. Iandolo slipped in Payne down the left and he flashed a cross-shot along the goal line, but Simpson was on his heels at the back post and watched on as it skipped on by.

Moments later, Alex Gilbert was played through one-on-one, but under pressure from a Rovers defender, Belshaw stood up well to deny him.

And just before the break, Town set up a superb chance yet again after a Payne corner missed everyone and Kesler-Hayden collected at the back post.

He found Conroy, who turned his man smartly and curled a ball across the face of goal. But yet again, no one was there to tap home.

The encouraging end to the first half continued into the second, and Swindon almost equalised via an unlikely source. Payne's corner from the right dropped at the feet of Iandolo who backheeled a shot straight at Belshaw. The Rovers stopper got his positioning spot as it just hit him on the line.

Town would not have to wait too much longer for an equaliser they richly deserved though.

Rovers gave it away inside their own half and substitute Harry McKirdy pounced before charging in down the left. His cross was cleared only as far as Payne who - after making a really intelligent run into the box - took a touch and blasted in at the near post with his left.

Kesler-Hayden and McKirdy then saw shots turned away by Belshaw and Kilgour, respectively, as the visitors aimed to find a second goal with the momentum they had created.

Rovers almost re-took the lead with 20 minutes to play after Anderson kept a deep free-kick alive and crossed towards substitute Luca Hoole in the middle. The defender headed powerfully, but straight at Wollacott.

With 10 minutes to go, Town almost took the lead themselves after Louis Reed’s superb corner delivery was flicked on at the near post by Romoney Crichlow and Gladwin forced Belshaw into a superb save at his near post to tip the ball away.

With five minutes to go, the game turned Swindon’s way in some style. After Gladwin and Kesler-Hayden both had goes at crossing into the middle, McKirdy’s volley was blocked on the line by the hand of Kilgour and Garner’s men were awarded a penalty while the Rovers man was sent off for a second yellow card.

Gladwin stepped up to slot the penalty home into the bottom left corner, sparking jubilant scenes in the away end. But it was about to get even better for Swindon as Kesler-Hayden’s vicious cross was spilled by Belshaw and McKirdy followed in for a third Town goal.

The visitors enjoyed the six minutes of added on time, and Garner enjoyed a wonderful return to his old club. BRFC starting XI: Belshaw, Kilgour, Finley, Coutts, Taylor, Anderson, Evans, Harries, Whelan, Brown, Pitman.

SUBS: Ward, Anderton, Collins, Hoole, Spence, Westbrooke, Saunders.

STFC starting XI: Wollacott, Odimayo, Iandolo, Conroy (c), Crichlow, Gladwin, Simpson, Payne, Gilbert, Kesler-Hayden, Reed.

SUBS: Ward, Baudry, McKirdy, Mitchell-Lawson, Williams, Hunt, East.