SWINDON Town lost for the third League One game in a row after falling to a 2-0 defeat at home to Sunderland on Saturday.

A first-half volley from Charlie Wyke set Sunderland on their way before Chris Maguire dispatched a penalty in the second period to give Sunderland all three points in the first league meeting between the two teams since 1999.

The absence of goals for Richie Wellens’ men was also the second game in a row in which they failed to score, following the 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon a week beforehand.

Wellens made three changes to the team that started last weekend’s disappointing 1-0 defeat to AFC Wimbledon while altering the usual formation too.

Tyler Smith came in for the injured Brett Pitman while Rob Hunt and Akin Odimayo played in a back five for Town as Jonny Smith and Jordan Stevens made way.

It was Sunderland who made the better start as Grounds headed a McLoughlin cross away that Scowen volleyed back towards goal.

It deflected off a Town defender and out for a corner, but could easily have squirmed in.

The Black Cats won a couple more early corners before Town started to create a few opportunities of their own.

Diallang Jaiyesimi almost created a shooting chance on the edge of the box before Dion Donohue’s cross was slightly overhit from the left.

Sunderland almost opened the scoring after 15 minutes however, as Chris Maguire intercepted a loose pass from Matej Kovar deep inside the Town half.

Luckily for the home team, Maguire’s cross was overhit and Hunt was able to come away with the ball.

Donohue then saw yellow for a strong challenge on Maguire in the 16th minute.

Leadbitter almost gave Sunderland the lead from the resulting free-kick though after he spotted Kovar wandering in the box and attempted a long-range chip.

Kovar just about scrambled back and tipped it wide, however.

But as Town looked to make it to half-time with no damage to the scoreline, Wyke volleyed home for Sunderland to take the lead.

Following Lynden Gooch’s cross from the left, the Black Cats’ target man was left all alone eight yards from goal to put Phil Parkinson’s side ahead with a side-foot finish.

Town did not respond in an attacking sense prior to the break as Luke O’Nien’s tame header was easily claimed by Kovar in the 43rd minute.

Wellens made two changes at half-time, with Jaiyesimi and Rob Hunt making way for Jonny Smith and Stevens.

Town switched to their preferred 4-2-3-1 as well in the search for an equalising goal.

The switch almost paid dividends shortly after kick-off as Town had huge claims for a penalty waved away.

Stevens exchanged passes with Payne down Swindon’s right before Payne pushed the ball past Luke O’Nien inside the box and went down, hoping for a penalty, but nothing was given – much to Town’s frustration.

The home side enjoyed a good 15-minute spell of pressure after the break, and threatened the Sunderland goal a couple of times when Tyler Smith blocked goalkeeper, Lee Burge’s clearance and Stevens saw a shot blocked.

But despite the good spell the hosts were enjoying, Sunderland doubled their lead just short of the hour when Jonathan Grounds fouled Maguire inside the box.

Maguire picked himself up to slam the penalty home down the middle and double the Black Cats’ lead.

The second goal resulted in Tyler Smith’s withdrawal, and Hallam Hope was sent on in his place to provide some much-needed physicality to the Town forward line.

Swindon were next to go close as Payne’s free-kick was flicked just wide by Grounds before Stevens saw his left-foot shot fly well, well wide of Burge’s goal from distance.

Sunderland continued to look dangerous though, and Josh Scowen forced Kovar into a smart stop to his left with 20 minutes to go.

Gooch cut in from the left and found his midfield teammate who steadied himself prior to blasting goalwards into the arms of Kovar.

Following that chance, Sunderland appeared content to sit on their lead and failed to create anything of meaning for the remainder of the game.

Matt Smith and Grounds both picked up yellow cards for dissent in the final 10 minutes, and there would only be one more good chance of note before the final whistle.

Matt Smith slid a pass through the heart of the Sunderland defence towards substitute Hope who saw his close-range shot smothered by Burge.

STFC line-up: Kovar, Hunt, Odimayo, Baudry, Grounds, Donohue, M Smith, A Grant, Jaiyesimi, Payne, T Smith.

SAFC line-up: Burge, McLaughlin, Willis, Wright, Power, Maguire, Wyke, Gooch, O'Nien, Scowen, Leadbitter.