SWINDON Town twice surrendered the lead to share the spoils at Cheltenham Town this afternoon as they were unable to break their winless record at their Gloucestershire neighbours.

All the goals came in a pulsating first half as Eoin Doyle twice put Swindon in front, only for the home side to reply each time though Chris Hussey and then Luke Varney.

Swindon’s hopes of a second-half winner were significantly hampered by the sending off of midfielder Michael Doughty in the final quarter of the game, meaning they had to make do with just a point as a response to the loss of their unbeaten record in League Two to Northampton Town last Tuesday.

The result at the Johnny-Rocks Stadium means Swindon remain without a win in eight competitive visits to Cheltenham, although it does extend the encouraging early-season away record for Richie Wellens’ side in the league this season.

After an opening-day win at Scunthorpe United and draw at Exeter City a week ago, Swindon have claimed five away points from three matches on the road – and eight in five in the league overall.

Swindon showed no signs of a hangover from their midweek disappointment as they broke the deadlock against Cheltenham with the first real attack of the game after seven minutes.

A whipped cross from the right by Lloyd Isgrove was flicked on by Keshi Anderson and fell nicely to Doyle in space in the box. Although home stopper Scott Flinders got a hand to the shot, it had too much power to keep out.

Doyle again found himself with just Flinders between himself and the goal a minute later a surging Anderson run sent him through, but the forward’s touch was a poor one and the Cheltenham keeper gathered.

Almost a quarter-of-an-hour had been played before Cheltenham mustered their first chance of note, although it took a good stop from Swindon keeper Luke McCormick to deny them as he used his body to block a drilled effort from Varney after neat play from the hosts on the edge of the box.

At the other end, Flinders pushed a low effort around the post as Anderson spun and shot from 30 yards before the home side drew level after 20 minutes.

A cross from the right went all the way to former Swindon loanee Hussey on the left, who drilled across the face of goal to beat McCormick and find the bottom corner.

McCormick then did make a good save on the angle to deny Varney after he had been played in by Ryan Broom before Swindon’s Kaiyne Woolery could not control his header from a powerful Tyler Reid cross, sending it wide from close range.

The visitors were able to get themselves back in front just after the half-hour mark when Doyle found space between two Cheltenham defenders to lunge to meet a whipped low cross from Isgrove from the right and divert it into the roof of the net.

Cheltenham were opened again by more quick play from Swindon shortly afterwards, but Doyle miscued his finish after gathering on the edge of the box.

That miss was to prove costly as the hosts hit back once more to level the scores four minutes before half-time.

Reid was punished for failing to clear up the line as Hussey nipped the ball off his toes to whip a cross to the near post where Varney flicked a header past McCormick to send the teams back into the changing rooms all-square.

Chances continued to come at either end as the second half got under way, with McCormick saving well from Cheltenham half-time substitute George Lloyd before Doughty curled a free-kick from the edge of the box just the wrong side of the post for Swindon.

The drama remained unrelenting as the hour mark arrived, with the visitors having the ball in the back of the net via Mathieu Baudry’s header, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

With the Swindon players still celebrating, Cheltenham keeper Flinders took the free-kick quickly and his long punt almost caught opposite number McCormick unaware as he had to scramble to punch the ball behind just as Gavin Reilly looked to pounce.

The home side were handed a significant advantage with 18 minutes to play when Swindon were reduced to 10 men, with Doughty shown a straight red card after catching Chris Clements with a high challenge on halfway.

Swindon certainly did not shut up shop and try to make do with a point despite their decrease in numbers in the closing stages, though, with substitute Ellis Iandolo even going close to a winning goal two minutes from time when he threw himself to meet a long free-kick from the back from Dion Conroy but flicked his header just the wrong side of the post.

Cheltenham then began to pummel balls into the Swindon box as the contest ticked over into the stoppage time but the visitors remained resolute to ensure they made the short trip home with something to show for their efforts.

CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Flinders; Raglan, Tozer (c), Greaves; Long, Broom, Clements, Doyle-Hayes, Hussey (Debayo 80); Varney (Lloyd 46), Reilly (Campbell 86). Subs not used: Lovett, Bowry, Thomas, Brennan.

SWINDON TOWN (4-2-3-1): McCormick; Reid (Iandolo 70), Baudry, Conroy (c), Hunt; Lyden, Doughty; Isgrove (Rose 79), Anderson, Woolery; Doyle. Subs not used: Henry, Broadbent, May, Iandolo, Twine, Curran.

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 4,401 (1,432 away)