SWINDON Town kept their League One survival aspirations alive thanks to a 3-1 victory over play-off chasing Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

Former Pompey striker Brett Pitman grabbed the first two Town goals before Ronan Curtis pulled one back for Danny Cowley’s men late on.

But in added time, Tyler Smith struck on the counter to give Tommy Wright’s side a slim chance of remaining in League One next term.

The victory - combined with midweek wins for AFC Wimbledon and Wigan Athletic - still leaves Town six points from safety with three games left. Therefore, if Town lose to MK Dons on Saturday and both Wimbledon and Wigan avoid defeat, Swindon will be relegated.

Swindon’s new coaching team made three changes to the side that started John Sheridan’s final game in charge on Saturday.

Jordon Garrick started at right-back while Christopher Missilou and Dom Thompson also got the nod. Jordan Lyden, Paul Caddis and Tom Broadbent dropped out, with only the towering centre-back remaining in the match day 18.

Town started brightly at the County Ground and saw a couple of shots fly off target in the opening 10 minutes courtesy of Pitman and Anthony Grant.

The first shot on target of the game came from Portsmouth’s Marcus Harness though. A whipped cross from the right was acrobatically headed goalwards from beyond the near post, but Lee Camp was alert to tip the ball over.

But minutes after a testing Scott Twine free-kick was turned away, Town took the lead through the former Pompey striker. An error in the Pompey back line gave Jack Payne the chance to find Pitman inside the box from the by-line.

The striker took an absolute age to shift it from his left to his right, but when he did, Pitman whipped it into the top corner to put Town ahead. Camp was on hand to maintain Town’s advantage minutes after the goal when he stood tall to deny Curtis inside the box.

It wasn’t until the 37th minute that the chances began to resume in earnest. Twine blasted a half-volley narrowly over from 25 yards before Craig MacGillivray kicked straight at Smith. However, the Town striker was unable to bring it under his spell with the stopper stranded.

The Swindon goal enjoyed a charmed life in the five minutes before the break as John Marquis wasted a golden chance to square the game up. A long hopeful ball into his path was latched on to, and as Camp came out to claim, Marquis touched the ball past him only for his second touch to bounce away from him and out for a goal kick.

A minute later, Ryan Williams sllide a pass into Curtis down the left side of the box. The Pompey man took a touch before seeing his goal-bound effort brilliantly blocked by Jonathan Grounds.

And after Payne’s long-range strike was well collected by MacGillivray, Grant cleared the ball off the goal line at the other end with Marquis waiting for a tap in.

That lead very nearly disappeared 10 minutes into the second half after a long ball over the top found Marquis. He took too long to shoot and Thompson flicked it away. The ball fell to Harness on the rebound, and his volley was saved by the legs of Camp.

Swindon still presented something of a threat on the counter though, and on the hour mark, the hosts doubled their lead through Pitman via the penalty spot.

The incident came about after a long ball towards Pitman was wonderfully brought down by the striker on the edge of the box. He flicked the ball from right to left sharply and slid a pass through to Smith that went a little wide. Nut as Charlie Daniels was trying to play catch up, the full back only succeeded in bundling Smith over inside the box.

From the spot-kick, Pitman sent MacGillivray the wrong way by planting his penalty confidently to the stopper’s right.

As Portsmouth surged forward late on, the play-off chasers finally found a route back into the game inside the final 10 minutes. Curtis squeezed a right-footed effort past Camp and a Town defender, and the belief began to course through Pompey’s veins again. Moments after the goal, substitute George Byers saw a powerfully placed shot palmed away smartly by Camp.

But as Pompey searched desperately for an equaliser, Town made the game safe in added time. Substitute Hallam Hope nicked the ball high up and Smith simply ran at his man before shifting onto his right and drilling the ball across MacGillivray.

STFC starting XI: Camp, Grounds, Pitman (c), Smith, Twine, Garrick, Payne, Missilou, Palmer, Thompson, A Grant.

SUBS: Matthews, Baudry, J Grant, Curran, Omotoye, Broadbent, Hope.

PFC starting XI: MacGillivray, Johnson, Raggett, Nicolaisen, Daniels, Naylor, Close, Harness, Williams, Curtis, Marquis.

SUBS: Ward, Downing, Bolton, Cannon, Byers, White, Stanley.