The Hatters suffered a first home defeat of the Sky Bet League Two season after captain Scott Cuthbert was shown a first-half red card before Swindon went on to net three without reply.
Cuthbert suffered double punishment for pulling Robins striker Keshi Anderson to the ground as he looked to get on the end of Luke Norris’ header across goal just after the half-hour mark.
The Town skipper was sent off and Norris netted the resulting penalty as the Wiltshire club racked up their third away win of the campaign, inflicting the Hatters’ first at Kenilworth Road in the process.
Boss Nathan Jones had made two changes following last week’s goalless draw at Lincoln, with midfielders Olly Lee and Andrew Shinnie returning to the starting line-up and Glen Rea and Luke Berry dropping to the bench.
Striker James Collins was fit to face his old club after limping off in the opening half-hour at Sincil Bank, and was hoping to add to his five-goal tally so far this season that had seen him nominated for the League Two Player of the Month for August.
After a cagey opening period, the Town had the first sight of goal with seven minutes on the clock, but Olly Lee’s volley from Jack Stacey’s right-wing cross was straight at Lawrence Vigouroux in the Swindon goal.
Two minutes later some crisp passing on the left saw Collins and Shinnie combine to get Potts in, but the full-back’s low centre appeared to be turned behind by Swindon captain Olly Lancashire just ahead of Hylton, although ref Graham Salisbury pointed for a goal-kick.
The Hatters were sharp in the tackle and getting plenty of possession in midfield, but had to be aware of the danger Swindon posed on the break, Sheehan mopping up superbly by heading one cross into the air, then keeping it in on his own byline and clearing up the left flank.
The Robins sounded a warning in the 20th minute when Lancashire got his head on a free-kick from the left, but couldn’t direct his effort on target – then Cuthbert followed Sheehan’s lead by getting a thumping header on another left-wing cross to avert any danger.
It took until just before the half-hour for the Hatters to fashion another opening, Stacey crossing from the right once again for opposite full-back Potts to volley at goal, but his effort flew wide.
Swindon went straight up the other end and won the penalty that led to the opening goal, Chris Hussey crossing from the left and Norris heading across goal – but referee Salisbury had spotted an infringement by Cuthbert and pointed to the spot.
Norris sent Stech the wrong way from 12 yards to give Swindon the advantage, and Jones immediately brought Rea on to play in Cuthbert’s position at the heart of defence, Shinnie the man sacrificed from an attacking role.
Within seconds there was an almighty appeal for a penalty at the other end as Collins went down under a challenge from Hussey, but all the ex-Swindon striker got for his troubles was a yellow card for his protests as Salisbury waved the appeals away.
Alan Sheehan was next into the book for bringing down Kaiyne Woolery in the 40th minute, but Stech punched Hussey’s free-kick away.
The Town regrouped well and Potts got a glancing header on right-wing corner from Olly Lee, but it flew across the six-yard box, before McCormack latched onto a loose ball 25 yards out, only for his right-footed drive to be deflected wide as the half-time whistle loomed.
Jones made a positive switch at the break in bringing Harry Cornick off the bench in place of Lee, as a third forward alongside Hylton and Collins.
The pacey front man was at the centre of the next penalty appeal on 47 minutes as his cross from the right byline appeared to striker Hussey’s hand, but once again Salisbury said no.
By the 51st minute Swindon had doubled their lead, Hussey picking up the ball 35 yards out and cutting inside Cornick before curling into the top corner unchallenged with the outside of his left-foot.
Swindon were looking ever more dangerous in exploiting the space as the Town kept three up front, and Stech had to gather two headers from Paul Mullin in as many minutes as the winger got on the end of crosses from the right, although both lacked power.
The ex-Accrington man put plenty behind his next opportunity, however, slamming home at the back post after Norris had got to the right byline and cut the ball back for him to net the third in the 62nd minute.
Potts became the third Town player to be shown a yellow card in the 68th minute for a foul on Woolery, and Jones made his third substitution in the 74th when he brought Berry on for his home debut.
The recent acquisition from Cambridge showed no hesitation in picking the ball up when Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu fouled 25 yards out, but his dipping free-kick was well held by Vigouroux in the Swindon goal.
Mullin went in search of his second as Swindon hit the Town on the break in the 79th minutes, but Stech was right behind his low shot.
Sheehan had a chance to get on the scoresheet when he sent a free-kick arcing towards the top corner after Collins had been sent sprawling on the right edge of the area by Hussey.
Vigouroux was in the right place once again, however, as the Town’s afternoon ended blank – but with the perfect chance to get straight back to form when Port Vale visit on Tuesday night.
TOWN: Stech, Stacey, Cuthbert ©, Sheehan, Potts, McCormack, O Lee (Cornick 46), Mpanzu, Shinnie (Rea 32), Hylton (Berry 74), Collins. Subs: Justin, Gambin, E Lee, Shea (GK)
Yellows: Collins, Sheehan, Potts
SWINDON: Vigouroux, Purkiss, Lancashire ©, Conroy, Hussey, Mullin, Dunne, Elsnik, Anderson (Gordon 82), Norris (Taylor 64), Woolery (Linganzi 85). Subs: Robertson, Brophy, Smith, Charles-Cook (GK)
Goals: Norris (pen) 32, Hussey 51, Mullin 62
REFEREE: Graham Salisbury
ATT: 8,455 (832 away)