HARTLEPOOL United had to settle for a point as they drew 1-1 at Swindon Town.


Amid an uninspiring opening half, the visitors took the lead in bizaare fashion.

Home goalkeeper Paul Smith tried to set his side off on a counter attack, after gathering Leon McSweeney's corner, but rolled the ball into space. Pools left-back Evan Horwood reacted first to latch onto the loose ball and it into the empty net from 30 yards.

Swindon, who had gone 17 games without a win, saw their confidence visibly dented by the goal as Pools started to get on top.

But when Gary Liddle lunged in on defender Paul Caddis on 55 minutes he was instantly red-carded by referee Pat Miller. Mick Wadsworth admitted he had no complaints about the decision, insisting there was no malice in the challenge.

Pools were forced to reshuffle and were pegged back as the Robins searched a leveller. Scott Flinders made two good saves, one with his face from Elliot Benyon, but he was beaten on 66 minutes.

Caddis crossed from the right and Matt Ritchie planted a header across Flinders into the far corner.

Some sterling defensive work ensured the score remained level, but Pools had a good chance to win it. Substitute Armann Bjornsson latched onto the ball behind the defence and, from a seemingly 60-40 advantage in his favour, allowed goalkeeper Smith to get to the ball first.

SWINDON TOWN: Smith; Caddis, Frampton, Jean-Francois, Sheehan; McGovern (N'Diaye 71), Douglas, Prutton, Ritchie; Benyon (Grella 78), Andrew. Subs: Jesionkowski (gk), Cuthbert, Rose, Ferry, Timlin.

HARTLEPOOL UNITED: Flinders; Haslam, Hartley, Collins, Horwood; McSweeney, Liddle, Murray, Gamble, Monkhouse (Bjornsson 76); Larkin (Humphreys 73). Subs: Rafferty (gk), Behan, Boyd, Yantorno, Mackay

Referee: Pat Miller (Luton)