SWINDON Town sank to the foot of the League One table following a thumping 4-1 defeat away at AFC Wimbledon on Saturday evening.

A woeful first 45 set the foundations for a horror performance, with goals from Joe Pigott, Will Nightingale and Ayoub Assal putting the hosts three goals ahead at the break.

Pigott piled on the misery early in the second half before Tyler Smith pulled a late consolation goal back for the visitors.

With victories for Wigan Athletic and Rochdale earlier on in the day, Town dropped to the foot of the table – seven points off the Latics in 20th – with four games to go.

Following the defeat, John Sheridan announced he would be resigning as manager with immediate effect.

Sheridan made three changes to the side that slumped to defeat against Rochdale on Tuesday night. Taylor Curran, Christopher Missilou and Hallam Hope all dropped out – the trio were replaced by Tom Broadbent, Jordan Lyden and Smith, respectively. Smith’s previous start was over two months ago in the 1-0 win at home to Wigan Athletic.

Town started with real intent and almost scored inside the opening minute. Smith laid off for Twine to shoot inside the box, but his shot was just about blocked out for a corner.

Five minutes later, the visitors hit the bar as well. Caddis curled a ball in that Brett Pitman headed on, and Jack Payne had a great chance to score after controlling on his chest. Nik Tzanev saved the first effort before Smith then headed onto the bar, with the stopper finally claiming at the second time of asking.

The first 10 minutes was as good as it got for Swindon, with Luke O’Niell testing Lee Camp with a curling free-kick before the goals started to flow.

Jack Rudoni charged into the box before being felled by Grounds – who was also booked – as the referee pointed to the spot. Pigott stepped up and calmly rolled the ball into the bottom left corner as Camp dived the opposite way.

10 minutes later saw the hosts double their lead. A free-kick was curled in by Rudoni, and Nightingale simply stood there unmarked at the back post and powered a really good header into the far corner past Camp.

Twine skewed a shot off target for Swindon, but the chances continued to occur at regular intervals for the Dons. Pigott hit the bar from a free-kick before Assal missed a golden opportunity to make it three.

Following an early Swindon substitution – Caddis made way for Garrick – Pigott picked out Assal one-on-one, and he rounded the keeper before stumbling and crashing his effort off the bar.

Town should have pulled one back just before the break, if not for a superb reaction save from Tzanev. Twine saw his shot from distance saved, but the stopper palmed it straight to Garrick. The Town substitute headed over Tzanev, but the goalkeeper stuck up a right hand instinctively and pushed it over.

And as added time was shown, Wimbledon did make it three. Ollie Palmer was given too much space to shoot inside the box, and when he did, his effort deflected off a Town man and straight into the path of Assal.

The midfielder made up for his earlier miss by poking the ball past Camp, who was already on the floor when trying to stop Palmer’s shot.

Half-time substitute Dom Thompson was on hand to prevent a fourth five minutes after the break when poking away from Pigott on the line, but the striker would not have long to wait for his next goal regardless.

Minutes after Assal volleyed against the bar, the midfielder broke away down the right and pulled back for Pigott to curl in at the near post.

Wimbledon should have been presented with an opportunity to score a fifth in the 57th minute after Thompson upended Assal inside the box, but the referee waved play on.

Town pulled a consolation goal back just before the final 10 minutes after Twine thundered a dipping shot off the bar from distance that came back to Smith. The striker took a touch before hammering into the corner with his left.

Despite chiselling out a nugget of hope, Swindon never came close to putting the ball past the excellent Tzanev again.

AFCW starting XI: Tzanev, O’Neill, Woodyard (c), Nightingale, Palmer, Rudoni, Assal, Guinness-Walker, Heneghan, Dobson, Pigott.

SUBS: Cox, Alexander, Oksanen, McLaughlin, Longman, Kalambayi, Osew.

STFC starting XI: Camp, Caddis, Broadbent, A Grant, Grounds, Palmer, Lyden, Payne, Twine, Pitman (c), Smith.

SUBS: Matthews, Garrick, J Grant, Curran, Omotoye, Thompson, Hope.