SWINDON Town’s League One survival hopes were dealt a crushing blow on Tuesday night after a 2-1 defeat away at bottom side, Rochdale.

Jimmy Keohane opened the scoring in the first half with a delightful curling effort before Conor Grant doubled Dale’s advantage midway through the second half.

Substitute Jordon Garrick bundled home a late consolation for Town, but it was too little, too late as Rochdale took all three points.

Victories for Wigan Athletic over Sunderland, and AFC Wimbledon over Ipswich Town, meant Swindon fell to four points from safety with five games to play.

Sheridan made two changes to the side that lost 3-0 at home to Peterborough United on Saturday. Dom Thompson and Jordon Garrick dropped out and were replaced by Paul Caddis and Brett Pitman.

Taylor Curran started two games in a row for the first time in his professional career while Tom Broadbent featured on the bench once again.

For Rochdale, 35-year-old Paul McShane started at the back while talented youngster Kwadwo Baah had to make do with a spot on the bench.

Hallam Hope had the game's first chance after Twine flicked on Caddis' cross-field ball. The winger cut back onto his right on the corner of the box and curled an effort across Jay Lynch that just clipped the roof of the net on its way over.

Rochdale almost cut through Town down their right three minutes later after Rathbone dropped a shoulder and burst past Grounds. His pull back only found Missilou, otherwise that would have been a simple tap-in.

But in the 15th minute, disaster would strike for Town as Rochdale opened the scoring in fine fashion. A cross came in from the right, and after Grant headed away, an unmarked Keohane took a touch down with his chest before opening up his body and curling into the top corner off the post.

Town tried to get something of a response going through Jack Payne, but his shot after a quick counter-attack was tame and easy for Jay Lynch.

Though it was the home side who were seeing most of the ball, the next big chance of the game was presented to Sheridan’s men. A home defender was caught messing around at the back and Payne picked his pocket on the edge of the box. But as the ball broke loose, it gave Lynch time to come out and smother Payne's shot from the penalty spot.

In the 36th minute, Rochdale almost made it two after Lynch's long clearance downfield was missed in the air by Grant and then Curran close behind. Ollie Rathbone was in one on one, but Camp's left leg denied him.

Town’s chances on goal had begun to dry up, with the next presentable opportunity coming in the form of a long-range Scott Twine free-kick. The effort was a pretty good one from Twine, and Lynch palmed it back out towards the on-rushing crowd, but Gabriel Osho managed to head out for a corner.

And deep into added time, Town just about managed to limit the damage to one after Rochdale broke through Conor Grant, who cut inside Curran and cracked an effort goalwards. Luckily for Swindon, Camp made another important save.

Early into the second half, and Town’s number one was asked to be at his best once again. Stephen Dooley picked the ball up in space outside the box and shot, but Camp sprung away to his right to turn the ball away. Rathbone headed into an empty net, but the linesman’s flag was raised to deny Dale a second.

But shortly after the hour, Rochdale did score their second. The hosts broke following a Town attack, and Curran was day-dreaming as he got back into position, leaving Grant alone in the centre.

Rochdale had an overload of players down their right, and they simply passed the ball across to the left like a seasoned rugby team for Rathbone to shoot. His effort was saved before Grant tapped in on the line.

The home side continued to control proceedings and went close on a couple more occasions midway through the second half. The best of which came about after Anthony Grant got caught out of position and Rochdale worked a shooting opportunity through Aaron Morley. The midfielder struck it really sweetly from distance, but Grounds was in the way to block.

Brian Barry-Murphy’s men continued to look for a third, and they went close through Keohane and Rathbone late on, but neither could find the target when presented with excellent opportunities.

Town threw everything forward in the final 10 minutes in search of a glimpse of hope, and they got it when Garrick bundled home Payne’s cross in the 88th minute. But it was not enough as Rochdale held on for victory.

RFC starting XI: Lynch, McLaughlin, Osho, McShane, O'Connell (C), Dooley, Morley, Beesley, Keohane, Rathbone, C Grant.

SUBS: Bazunu, McNulty, Roberts, Shaughnessy, Lund, Baah, Vale.

STFC starting XI: Camp, Caddis, Grounds, Pitman (c), Twine, Payne, Curran, Missilou, Palmer, A Grant, Hope.

SUBS: Matthews, Smith, Garrick, J Grant, Thompson, Omotoye, Broadbent.