SWINDON Town had to settle for a third draw in a row over the Christmas period as their final game of 2018 ended in a goalless stalemate at Mansfield Town.

Richie Wellens’ side may have felt slightly disappointed at previous draws against bottom-half sides Cheltenham Town and Northampton Town, but this afternoon’s point hard-earned point came against a Stags side likely to be vying for automatic promotion come the end of the season.

In fact, Swindon could have left the One Call Stadium with more than the one point to show for their efforts as although Mansfield put together the more expansive play, it was the visitors who forced the better stops as Conrad Logan twice kept them at bay with superb saves in the first half.

Mansfield were the first to threaten and top scorer Tyler Walker caused alarm in the Swindon defence twice in the opening six minutes, seeing efforts blocked behind for corners by first Dion Conroy and then Matt Taylor.

However, it was Swindon who forced the first save of the contest – and it was as good one too as Logan denied them the lead after 11 minutes.

Elijah Adebayo nicked the ball off Stags captain Krystian Pearce on the edge of the box and possession rolled nicely to Keshi Anderson, who stepped forward and drilled in a low effort that was pushed away sharply by Logan.

Swindon were then swiftly back on the front foot and Kyle Knoyle drilled a low ball into the Mansfield box, but it was just too far in front of Adebayo’s run to the back post.

Luke Woolfenden then came to the visitors’ rescue twice in quick succession around the quarter-of-an-hour mark.

First, he hacked at a dangerous low cross from Hayden White, which pinged off the back of Knoyle and behind for a corner, before Woolfenden then got in a crucial block from a powerful CJ Hamilton drive.

Almost 20 minutes had passed before visiting stopper Lawrence Vigouroux was called into action for the first time as he got down well to smother a long-distance drive from former Swindon loaned Timi Elsnik.

Chances continued to come at either end and only another brilliant save from Logan denied Swindon the lead after 26 minutes, clawing away a dipping Taylor free-kick from underneath his own crossbar.

That led to a couple of corners in quick succession for the visitors as first Michael Doughty and then Anderson had efforts to no avail.

Swindon’s high press was causing real problems for Mansfield and Adebayo and Pearce grappled in the box, with Logan forced to rush from his line to snuff out the prospect of an effort on goal.

Vigouroux had seen little real danger in the opening 35 minutes but was then called into action twice in quick succession.

First, he gathered a looping header from Matt Preston following a corner before he did brilliantly to tip a dipping 25-yard effort from Walker over the crossbar.

Swindon were dangerous on the counter and one such instance opened up the Stags as the half wore to a close, with Anderson forcing a good a low save from Logan before firing the follow-up narrowly over the bar as the teams headed back to the changing rooms with the deadlock intact.

Play continued at a frantic pace after the restart and Doughty sent Anderson into the Stags box, but he got his feet in a muddle and Preston snuffed out the chance, before Jacob Mellis flicked a header at a Mal Benning cross at the other end, which drifted across the face of goal and wide.

Play then quietened down for a while but a loose piece of control from Doughty almost allowed Mansfield to pounce as Walker reacted quickly to let fly with a first-time strike from 25 yards that Vigouroux got down well to save.

The visitors’ eyes lit up with 17 minutes to play when Kaiyne Woolery escaped the attentions of Pearce, who had no choice but to pull him down 25 yards from goal, but Taylor’s subsequent free-kick went straight into the wall.

Swindon were then scampering back with 10 minutes to go as Mansfield broke at pace, carrying the ball nearly 60 yards, but the chance was gone when Walker selfishly lashed over the bar from outside the box.

Wellens’ side had to keep their wits about them right up until the final whistle, with Vigouroux pushing over a powerful Hamilton strike from the last meaningful piece of action as the visitors ensured they travelled home with a well-earned point.

MANSFIELD TOWN (3-5-2): Logan; Preston, Pearce (c), Sweeney; White, Mellis, Bishop, Elsnik (Khan 60), Benning (Rose 79); Walker, Hamilton. Subs not used: Kean, Atkinson, Butcher, Law, Graham.

SWINDON TOWN (4-3-3): Vigouroux; Knoyle, Nelson, Woolfenden, Taylor (c); Conroy, McCourt, Doughty; Anderson, Adebayo (Richards 65), Woolery. Subs not used: McCormick, McGlashan, Dunne, Iandolo, Smith, Twine.

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 5,311 (486 away)