Swindon Town 0 Carlisle United 0: On the face of it, a point at fellow play-off chasers Swindon may not ordinarily be considered a bad point for Carlisle United.

But with the Blues’ own hopes of getting into League Two’s top-seven hanging by a thread, there now, really, is absolutely no margin for error for Keith Curle’s team.

With four league fixtures to play, United know exactly what they need to do: Win all four games and hopes those ahead of them slip-up.

At the County Ground, Swindon had the better of the first period but couldn’t take advantage before both sides searched, in vain, for a winner after the restart.

After a minute’s applause ahead of the game in memory of former Chelsea and Manchester United player Ray Wilkins who died last week, the match was only a matter of minutes old when Swindon midfielder Kellan Gordon picked up an injury.

The 20-year-old, on loan from Derby, was eventually stretched off and replaced by Donal McDermott with seven minutes played.

Experienced midfielder Matt Taylor had the home side’s first clear-cut opportunity three minutes later as his left-footed free-kick from distance forced a save from Carlisle goalkeeper Jack Bonham.

Former West Ham and Bolton man Taylor was involved in the Robins’ next move on the 17th minute when his corner was met by Marc Richards – a January transfer target for Keith Curle – after a cushioned header by Ollie Banks. But Richards’ header crashed against the post.

A minute later at the other end, United captain Danny Grainger, who replaced the suspended Mike Jones in one of three changes from Carlisle’s team that lost 1-0 against Lincoln on Monday, fired over from long-range.

Kaiyne Woolery was the next player to threaten to break through the away defence. He drove down the left wing, only for his dangerous cross to be cleared by veteran centre-half Clint Hill.

With Carlisle temporarily down to 10 men, with Hallam Hope hobbling off the pitch with a knock that would see him replaced by Kris Twardek, Brentford loanee Bonham tipped over a Taylor free-kick.

Then, during seven minutes of first-half stoppage-time, substitute McDermott fired at Bonham.

Swindon created two more openings to break the deadlock inside the first three minutes of the second half.

Substitute McDermott found room to turn on the edge of the penalty box, before unleashing a left-footed strike from the edge of the box which was tipped wide by Bonham.

James Dunne was the next Robins player to test Bonham a minute later, with the ex-Exeter, Stevenage and Cambridge midfield man’s effort stinging the palms of Carlisle’s 24-year-old stopper.

At the other end soon after, Cumbrian Grainger stood a cross up for Ashley Nadesan who could only steer his header narrowly wide of goalkeeper Stuart Moore’s left-hand post.

With the Blues starting to cause problems for the home backline, Irish midfielder Jamie Devitt twice came close to finding the net for the second time in three fixtures.

He bent an effort over the bar from the edge of the area on the 54th minute as the away supporters finally began to find their voice, before the same man tested Swindon’s former Barrow keeper Moore a minute later.

But the hosts responded with a decent spell of their own and almost opened the scoring in unlikely fashion when a Taylor left-wing cross threatened to creep in at the near post, although Bonham was again alert to steer the ball wide.

With 65 minutes on the clock, Moore did well to punch clear Devitt’s set-piece from a crowded penalty area.

Swindon then looked to hit the Cumbrians on the counter, but Woolery was wasteful and Bonham was equal to his shot as he got down low to make the stop.

Ahead of the contest, Blues boss Curle admitted that a draw would not suit either side, and both pushed for a winner in the final 20 minutes.

Banks, who joined Phil Brown’s side in January on loan from Oldham, blazed over from just inside the penalty area, with referee Brett Huxtable awarding a goal kick, despite appeals for a corner from the home contingent.

The same man was involved in Swindon’s next opportunity when he drifted into the penalty box, only to fire over, 15 minutes from time.

Three minutes later, the Robins again tested United’s resolute backline.

They won a free-kick in a good area, however Taylor could not hit the target with the set-piece which sailed over the bar.

Both teams continued to push forward throughout an end-to-end final 10 minutes.

But clear-cut opportunities were few and far between as both sides’ play-off hopes took another dent, with Swindon two points adrift of a play-off place and Carlisle two points further back, having played one league match more.