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FULL TIME: Hartlepool United 0 Swindon Town 0
TOMMY Miller missed a second-half penalty as Swindon Town drew 0-0 at Hartlepool on the first day of the League One campaign.
Miller had the chance to claim all three points for Town, against his first professional club, with 20 minutes remaining of the contest but blasted over from 12 yards after a Hartlepool defender had handled inside the box.
Both sides enjoyed several chances in front of goal without finding a breakthrough in the first half, with Matt Ritchie seeing his point-blank header saved by Scott Flinders in the Pools goal and Wes Foderingham stopping Steve Howard’s long-range piledriver.
After the break Town had to absorb a long spell of Hartlepool pressure, with Howard heading against a post, before making inroads of their own but the match ended goalless.
Here are the key moments from today’s match:
One min: A long ball from Joe Devera gets caught up in the wind a little and causes a moment of panic in the Hartlepool defence.
Andy Williams controls the ball neatly on his chest and lets fly from 20 yards, but it is easy for Hartlepool keeper Scott Flinders.
Two mins: The Pools defence allows Williams space down the right, he delivers to the back post where Raffa De Vita nods the ball into the path of Tommy Miller but the former Hartlepool man’s volley is comfortably saved by Flinders.
Four mins: Town go close again. Matt Ritchie is flattened on the right wing and he sends the resultant free-kick fizzing at head height across the six-yard line.
Paul Benson rises to meet it but his flicked header drifts narrowly wide.
11 mins: Wes Foderingham is given a difficult back pass to deal with by Jay McEveley and, under pressure from Steve Howard, he kicks straight to Anthony Sweeney but the Hartlepool man’s 35-yard effort is tame and allow Foderingham to recover and save.
14 mins: Andy Monkhouse is in acres of space at the back post when Jonathan Franks chips a delicate ball across the ball, but the former Swindon man cannot control the ball and McEveley steals in to clear Heart-in-mouth moment for the travelling Town faithful behind Foderingham’s goal.
17 mins: A golden chance goes begging for the visitors as Raffa De Vita picks out Ritchie at the back post but his header is saved at point-blank range by Flinders.
21 mins: Franks' first-time effort from the edge of the area goes flying over the stand housing the Town fans.
23 mins: Hartlepool really start to get a stranglehold on the game and James Poole should do better than nod his free header over the bar from 12 yards when picked out by Franks.
25 mins: Again the hosts have a sight of goal as Howard benefits after Tommy Miller is robbed of possession in the middle of the park.
Howard drills at goal from distance but it’s straight at Foderingham, who can make an easy save.
27 mins: Town finally string together a semi-meaningful passage of play and it ends with a chance in front of goal.
McEveley crosses from the left but the ball is behind Ritchie, who cannot get any purchase on his shot which bobbles into the arms of Flinders.
34 mins: Town are making a habit of messing around with possession in their own half and again they gift their opponents a shot at goal.
Joe Devera’s pass to Alan Navarro is well off-target and the ball breaks to Poole whose 30-yard chip, with Foderingham off his line, drifts over the crossbar.
51 mins: Sweeney nods Evan Horwood’s free-kick well over the crossbar as Hartlepool start the second half as they finished the first.
57 mins: Swindon continue to look a little fragile at the back and Howard rattles Foderingham’s left-hand post with a header from Horwood’s free-kick.
68 mins: Town are living on the edge at Victoria Park and, when Foderingham miscues his clearance, Monkhouse has the chance to shoot from 25 yards.
Luckily for the away side, the ball fizzes into the stand.
69 mins: On a rare foray forward, Town are denied a golden chance by Hartlepool defender Sam Collins who heads Ritchie’s dangerous cross clear from underneath his own crossbar with Williams lurking.
71 mins: Of all the storylines that could have presented themselves today - Tommy Miller, playing against his first professional club, has the chance to score for Swindon from the penalty spot after the referee spots a handball inside the Pools box.
He’s known for his prowess from 12 yards but this time he blazes over. Huge opportunity goes begging for the visitors.
76 mins: James Collins, on as a substitute should do better when Luke Rooney’s deflected effort ricochets into his path but he can’t connect on the spin.
77 mins: Collins has an even better chance after Williams dances through the Pools back four but he volleys well wide from 15 yards.
85 mins: Devera breaks into the penalty area down the right and after his initial cross bounces back to him, he heads dangerously across goal. Flinders pushes the ball towards the penalty spot and it is hacked clear.
90 mins: Williams shows extraordinary levels of fitness to chase down a lost cause on the right flank, cut inside and shoot but his left-footed effort is easily saved by Flinders at his near post.
SWINDON TOWN: Wes Foderingham; Joe Devera, Alan McCormack, Troy Archibald-Henville, Jay McEveley; Matt Ritchie, Tommy Miller, Alan Navarro (Simon Ferry, 59), Raffa De Vita (Luke Rooney, 55); Andy Williams, Paul Benson (James Collins, 68)
Substitutes not used: Leigh Bedwell, Nathan Thompson , Aden Flint, Oliver Risser
HARTLEPOOL: Scott Flinders, Neil Austin, Sam Collins, Peter Hartley (Jack Baldwin, 90), Evan Horwood, Jonathan Franks, Simon Walton, Anthony Sweeney, Andy Monkhouse, James Poole (Luke James, 78), Steve Howard.
Substitutes not used: Ritchie Humphreys, Darren Holden, Paul Murray, Colin Nish.