THERE seems to be a recurring theme as Swindon Town’s season drifts towards what looks increasingly likely to be a frustrating conclusion.

It is a story of what might have been.

As had been the case in the previous two matches away at Newport County and at home to Yeovil Town, Richie Wellens’ side largely had the better of proceedings during Saturday’s League Two clash away Oldham Athletic.

The majority of incisive play came from the men in red, while genuine moments of alarm at the back were few and far better.

Come the full-time whistle, though, the outcome was the same as a 2-2 draw at Boundary Park meant Swindon were held for a third game in succession.

Although Town were able to extend their end-of-season unbeaten run to a sixth game, a haul of only three points from the last three games means they are now five points adrift of the play-off places with four games to go.

Not many could have argued if that return had been bumped to a full house of nine points.

If that had been the case, Wellens’ side would have been safely camped inside the top seven instead of looking forlornly upwards.

After an early lapse that saw them trail to George Edmundson’s opener for Oldham, Town responded well.

Michael Doughty’s penalty restored parity on the stroke of half-time before Kyle Bennett gave the visitors the lead on the hour.

However, Swindon seemed to stagnate after that, and the Latics began to pump balls into the visitors’ box with increasing regularity, and there was a sense of inevitability about Oldham’s equaliser, which came via Johan Branger’s acrobatic strike.

Just had been the reflection in the immediate aftermath following the recent draws against both County and Yeovil, Swindon were made to rue another near miss as the chance of promotion looks ever more likely to narrowly slip them by again.

Wellens made just one alteration to the Town side who drew 0-0 at Newport on Tuesday night, with that enforced due to injury and breaking a run of an unchanged team from the previous three games.

Canice Carroll was unable to shake off the knock that forced him off in the closing stages at Rodney Parade, with his place in midfield taken by Michael Doughty, who made a first start since February after a recent injury issue of his own.

Among the substitutes, goalkeeper Lawrence Vigouroux was named after being left out of the previous three matchday squads, but Town were only able to name a six-man bench due to EFL rules on the inclusion of homegrown players.

Town made a promising start and Keshi Anderson cracked a shot wide inside the opening minute, letting fly after gathering Theo Robinson’s knock-down on edge of box.

The visitors continued to hold the early sway but were caught out after seven minutes when Oldham broke the deadlock after putting together their first spell of sustained pressure.

Peter Clarke climbed highest to meet Mohamed Maouche’s whipped free-kick into the box, and although Town goalkeeper Luke McCormick made a good diving save to his left, Edmundson was on hand to pick up the scraps and finish the job.

Swindon responded well to falling behind and were soon back on the front foot. A nice ball from Bennett found the run of Robinson into the box, but the striker could only get a toe on the delivery at full stretch and the save was a comfortable one for home goalkeeper Daniel Iversen.

Only the woodwork then denied Town a leveller as Kyle Knoyle found an unmarked Bennett on the penalty spot with a good cross, but his header glanced off the foot of the post and behind.

The contest began to settle down as the two teams cancelled each other out, and less than two minutes were left on the clock in the first half before the next genuine chance materialised.

Oldham were able to put together some incisive play deep in Swindon territory, which ended with Christopher Missilou firing in a snap-shot from just inside the box that McCormick got down well to save.

That fired the game back into life and Town were able to restore parity through a Doughty penalty before the half-time whistle sounded.

Bennett had already lashed a chance over the bar in the opening seconds of injury time before the visitors were then afforded the opportunity to draw level from 12 yards when Robinson was hauled down in the box by Edmundson chasing a clever ball over the top from Doughty.

The midfielder was the man to step up when referee Martin Coy pointed to the spot, and he confidently sent Iversen the wrong way to level the scores and change the mood of Wellens’ half-time team talk.

Swindon looked to be positive as the second half got under way and a nice move down the left ended with Ali Koiki volleying narrowly over the top after Robinson knocked down Bennett’s cross into his path.

Town continued to press and snatched the lead on the hour mark. A sustained attack finally saw Bennett find a pocket of space 20 yards out and he skipped forward before firing low into the corner of the net beyond the dive of Iversen.

Oldham had the chance for an instant response as Jose Baxter and Callum Lang combined in the box, but the latter did not take time to steady himself before shooting and only succeeded in finding the midriff of McCormick.

Opportunities were now coming thick and fast and Robinson rose well to glance a header at Knoyle’s whipped cross from the right, but the ball drifted agonisingly wide.

McCormick was then forced into another save for Swindon – this one his best – as Lang wriggled free to fire in a shot from 10 yards that the visiting keeper did well to smother.

McCormick was eventually beaten on the 70-minute mark as the Latics hauled themselves level. Koiki failed to get enough on a clearing header and the ball dropped nicely for Branger, who swivelled brilliantly before rifling an acrobatic effort into the top corner of the net.

Things almost got worse for Town as Gevaro Nepomuceno’s free-kick found Clarke in space in the box, but his touch took the ball away from goal and the chance was snuffed out by a crowd of bodies.

Oldham chances were now coming at regular intervals and Lang got the better of a tussle with Koiki on the left to glance a header at a lofted ball over the top from Alex Iacovitti, but the ball trickled wide of the far post with a scrambling McCormick beaten.

McCormick made a superb save with nine minutes to play, rushing from his line to get his body in the way of a low Lang effort following a good crossfield ball from Missilou.

The contest edged towards a chaotic conclusion, with the best chance for a winner falling the way of the visitors.

However, James Dunne saw a powerful low strike well saved by Iversen as the ball broke nicely for the Town substitute in the box, and the full-time whistle soon sounded to end a breathless encounter all-square.