IT’S very easy to feel you’re going round in circles in Swindon, and for 85 minutes the sense of déjà vu for Wanderers was strong.

As the missed opportunities stacked up like the many roundabouts surrounding the County Ground, this looked like yet another occasion we would rue the lack of killer instinct in Phil Parkinson’s side.

But then, a most unexpected helping hand.

Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill’s moment of misfortune ensured that Wanderers did not equal a club-record fifth league game without a goal. It was the least the Whites deserved, given their superiority in the second half and the weight of chances created, but felt like a let-off nonetheless.

A week earlier a crestfallen Parkinson had stood after defeat against Oxford United and admitted his side had lost the ability to grind out results. Two 1-0 victories later, the relief of his face was clear as day.

This was a performance reminiscent of the first four games of the season. It was unquestionably flawed but organised and gritty enough to suggest that if – if – the front men could start firing, good times are ahead.

Finding someone to provide a regular supply of goals is proving a problem for the manager, and an answer came no closer at Swindon.

Wanderers have had fewer shots on target than any other side in League One this season, extending their haul by eight to 44 on Saturday. To pin their wastefulness entirely on poor execution, however, would be unfair and had it not been for the brilliance of Robins’ former Liverpool keeper Lawrence Vigouroux this victory would have been a much more routine affair.

Compensating for the profligacy in front of goal is a robust defence. David Wheater and Mark Beevers have been rock solid all season, as has Jay Spearing in front of them.

Josh Vela’s recent resurgence continued at Swindon and credit must also go to right-back Lawrie Wilson, who had his best outing in a Bolton shirt for some time before being elbowed in the face by Raphael Branco late on, ensuring a red card for the defender.

Though defensive organisation will get Bolton so far, they have to start taking some chances. And at least four big ones were wasted at the County Ground.

The first half was a forgettable affair. Swindon controlled possession but failed to puncture an impressive Whites’ rearguard.

There were gaps to exploit as the home side’s wing-backs pushed further and further forward. In fact it turned into an exercise in patience at times for Parkinson’s men.

Gary Madine walked an uncomfortable tightrope for most of the game after being handed a first-half caution for an elbow on Nathan Thompson. The contact looked negligible and Swindon’s players appeared to be on a wind-up mission from there on in.

James Henry also lived in purgatory for most of the first half. The Wolves winger has not yet fired in a Bolton shirt and this was a day on which very little went right.

Half an hour in the 28-year-old raced on to Zach Clough’s pass but had a shot blocked by the feet of Vigouroux, rather than squaring to the unmarked Vela.

And then just before the break Clough’s far post header dropped for Henry six yards out, only for his own to end up bouncing over the bar.

The frustration continued after the break for the Whites as Spearing’s low shot took a nick off a defender’s ankle and dribble inches wide of the post. And as 500 minutes of goalless league football ticked by, the anger grew.

As Henry walked off, replaced by Sammy Ameobi, he summed up the mood by slamming his fist down on the dugout. Little did he know, but the man coming on to the pitch would do as much to turn the game in Wanderers’ favour as anyone.

After Vigouroux pushed a dipping free-kick from Clough over the bar the Whites got a touch of luck as Nathan Delfouneso’s back-heel bounced off Wilson and wide of the post.

Howard then had a lucky escape after Wheater’s simple header bounced off his chest and right into the path of Luke Norris. Thankfully, the Whites’ keeper snatched the ball back at the last moment.

Wanderers regained control and should have scored when Ameobi played Clough though on goal, cue another excellent save from Vigouroux.

And Clough wasn’t the last. Proctor was also thwarted by the Swindon keeper, as was late sub Keshi Anderson. Thankfully, Vela followed up his effort with a low shot that bounced off Ormonde-Ottewill’s shins and into the bottom corner.

After a slow start, the game had built into a crescendo. There was still time for some late drama as Branco elbowed Wilson, leaving Swarbrick with no option but to send the Swindon man off in stoppage time.

Had Wanderers driven away from Wiltshire with a point it would have been hard not to concentrate on the negatives – the wasted chances in particular.

They remain a glitch to be fixed by Parkinson; a big one at that.

But they say ‘if you can’t be good, be lucky.’ This might just have been the break the manager needed.