SO ANOTHER Swindon Town season draws to a close where we are all left to wander what might have been once again.

Town brought the curtain down on the 2017-18 campaign with a scintillating 3-0 victory over League Two champions Accrington Stanley.

But in the harsh reality, defeat will not matter a jot to those beaten Accy players, while for the Swindon squad, it does little to paper over the disappointment that another season in the fourth tier awaits.

On a sun-soaked pitch at the Energy Check County Ground on Saturday, Town sizzled as well as they have done in quite some time.

First-half efforts from Marc Richards and Keshi Anderson put the hosts in total control before Paul Mullin added further gloss to the scoreline in the second half.

It begs the question as to where this sort of performance had been over the past month, when Swindon’s play-off hopes were still very much alive.

Granted, with the title sewn up last week, the Stanley players were never quite at full tilt, but if the Town team had produced this level of quality just a handful of times in the eight games prior, they would have garnered far more than the five points they actually did over that time.

When all is said and done, Swindon finished the season ninth in the table, seven points adrift of the top seven.

Both the Town supporters and boss Phil Brown will know all too well what a difference a few more performances like this one against Stanley might have made come the final reckoning.

This result did at least give Brown a maiden victory at the County Ground in what could have been his last game as Swindon manager.

Brown’s fate is set to be determined at a meeting with Swindon chairman Lee Power on Tuesday and the former Premier League boss will be hoping that a win over the fourth tier’s title-winning side tilts the balance in his favour and he is asked to stay on into next season.

Brown made three changes to the side that started the previous weekend’s goalless draw away at Colchester United, with the most notable of those being the inclusion of Academy youngster Jordan Edwards for his first-team debut.

Edwards was the third Town youth product to be handed a maiden start by Brown over the past month, following in the footsteps of Scott Twine and Joe Romanski, who were both named on the bench.

Mullin and Amine Linganzi also came into the side, with Timi Elsnik, Twine and Ollie Banks the men to drop out – the latter out of the matchday 18 altogether after seeing his loan from Oldham Athletic ended earlier in the week.

Town were the first to threaten and had a sight of goal inside two minutes when Rollin Menayese got his head to a Matt Taylor corner from the right, but Accy keeper Aaron Chapman made a comfortable save.

That spurred the champions into life and they had their first effort shortly afterwards, with Stuart Moore pulling off a fine diving stop in the home goal to push away Jordan Clark’s powerful drive.

League Two’s top scorer, Billy Kee, then had his first sniff of another goal when he got a flicked header to a Callum Johnson cross from right, but it looped narrowly over crossbar.

Stanley were now on the front foot and former Swindon player Kayden Jackson easily shrugged off the attentions of Menayese to chase a long ball over the top, although the Town defender was bailed out by centre-back partner Ryan McGivern, who got back well to block Jackson’s shot out for a corner.

Town soon got their act together and broke the deadlock after 14 minutes through Richards. Kyle Knoyle floated a perfectly-weighted cross to back post, which eluded the home defence and the unmarked Richards had the simple task of slamming the ball home.

Knoyle was proving a threat on the right for the hosts and another dangerous cross caused alarm in the Stanley defence before being hooked behind by Johnson.

With the title and promotion already wrapped up, Accy seemed content to coast through the afternoon and gaps soon began to appear for Town to exploit.

A nice interchange between James Dunne and Anderson sent the former into the box on the half-hour mark, but he could not quite pick out a team-mate with his cut-back.

Accy still offered the occasional threat and Kee made room for himself to shoot from 25 yards, only to be denied by Moore, before the hosts doubled their advantage two minutes before the break.

Anderson found Dunne on edge of box, and he returned the favour with a sweet back-heel to allow Anderson to rifle past Chapman with a crisp finish.

Swindon’s lead could – and should – have been three at the break when Linganzi’s perfectly-weighted pass split the Stanley centre-backs a minute into stoppage time and allowed Richards to run in on goal.

However, he took a loose touch just as he attempted to round keeper Chapman, and the visiting keeper was able to smother the ball and keep the deficit to 2-0 as the half-time whistle sounded.

Accy went close to cutting the deficit in the opening skirmishes of the second half when Jimmy Dunne was able to divert a corner goalwards, but Moore reacted well to keep the effort out.

Town went straight up the other end and threatened another goal themselves as James Dunne blazed over the bar after a skilful dart towards the Stanley box.

Swindon did not have to wait long for their third goal, though, and it arrived 10 minutes after the restart.

After collecting the ball on the left-hand side of the box, Mullin darted towards the touchline before lashing under the body of Chapman at his near post.

And Town almost had a fourth on the hour when Taylor drilled in a low free-kick from the left that cannoned off a Stanley defender and onto the post and behind for a corner.

Brown made his first change shortly afterwards, sending on young midfielder Ellis Iandolo for his first appearance since January 20 after Menayese pulled up injured.

Sadly, the 20-year-old’s own injury comeback lasted just eight minutes as Iandolo was soon limping from the field himself, allowing Romanski a second appearance for the first team.

The home side still had to be wary at the back and Jackson was able to wriggle away from the attentions of McGivern in the box before firing goalwards, but again Moore made a decent stop to see it behind.

Swindon had further chances themselves as the game headed into its latter stages, with James Dunne and Mullin both seeing efforts blocked in the box, while Kee blazed wide for Accy at the other end.

Brown made his final switch with 10 minutes to go as Elsnik has handed a final cameo appearance before his loan from Derby County comes to an end, replacing Edwards who walked off to a standing ovation from the home supporters.

Stanley had made three substitutions themselves by that stage, with all intensity gradually drifting out of the game.

Just as the contest seemed to be meandering towards its conclusion, it suddenly sparked back into life with five minutes to go when an off-the-ball flare-up saw a player from each side sent off.

Stanley defender Jimmy Dunne lowered his head to meet that of James Dunne, who reacted by raising hands to his opponent’s face.

Referee Gavin Ward was left with little alternative to brandish a straight red card to the Town man, while the Accy full-back followed him off for an early bath after picking up a second booking for his part.

The needless dismissal, which came with the points already safely wrapped up, will see the 28-year-old forced to sit out Town’s first three games of the 2018-19 campaign due to suspension, maybe a fitting reflection of the nonsensical nature of Swindon’s season overall.