Hartlepool United - 0
SWINDON opened their League One campaign with a goal-less draw at Hartlepool United.
Despite the lack of goals, it was a positive display from the Town, who might even have returned to Wiltshire with all three points but Tommy Miller could not convert a second half penalty.
In the bright sunshine at Victoria Park, Swindon were immediately on the front foot. Andy Williams volleyed straight at Scott Flinders with less than a minute on the clock. Tommy Miller had a similar, dipping effort moments later before Matt Ritchie’s free-kick was touched wide by the head of Paul Benson.
Next in an open and entertaining first half, former Town player Andy Monkhouse had a glorious chance to test Foderingham. Coming onto a cross un-marked at the far post, Monkhouse slipped at the crucial moment and allowed McCormack to nip in and clear the ball.
Ritchie did well to get on the end of Raffaele De Vita’s deep centre but Flinders was equal to his header. James Poole perhaps should have done better when he was found completely unmarked in the box but could only header over.
Steve Howard fired straight at Foderingham while at the other end, Ritchie could not make a solid enough connection with a cross and Williams’ ball across was cut out before it reached Benson.
In a frenetic opening to the second half, the home side must have been left wondering how they had not taken the lead: a free-kick floated deep into the box was headed back across goal and looked to be heading in. With the home fans already off their seats cheering the goal, the ball hit the upright and bounced kindly into the arms of the rooted Foderingham.
With just under 25 minutes to play, Swindon squandered a glorious opportunity to take the lead from the spot. A ball into the box was adjudged to have hit the hand of a Hartlepool defender and, after consulting with his linesman, the referee pointed to the spot. Tommy Miller stepped up to take the kick but could only lift his effort over the crossbar.
James Collins replaced Benson and he was soon in the thick of the action. Firstly, he could not quite stretch to make contact with a deflected, looping effort before drilling wide after good work from Williams.
Joe Devera’s cross caused problems in the box, with the home side just managing to scramble the ball away for a corner. As the clock neared 90 minutes, Williams cut in from the right and shot goal-wards but his effort was well held by Flinders.
Next up for the Town: a home game against Crawley and an opportunity to build on their promising start to the League One season.
Swindon Town - Wes Foderingham; Joe Devera, Alan McCormack (C), Troy Archibald-Henville, Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller, Alan Navarro (Ferry '58), Raffaele De Vita (Rooney '54), Paul Benson (Collins '68), Andy Williams
Substitutes: Leigh Bedwell (GK), Nathan Thompson, Aden Flint, Oliver Risser, Simon Ferry, Luke Rooney, James Collins
Hartlepool United - Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Franks, Walton, Sweeney, Monkhouse, Poole, Howard.
Substitutes: Humphreys, Baldwin, Holden, Murray, Luscombe, James, Nish.
Attendance: 4,132 (461 away fans)