Match report: Swindon Town 3 - 1 Hartlepool United.

By Alfie Howlett - 25 November 2021

Clubs & ActivitiesSport

Swindon moved up to third in league 2 on Tuesday night thanks to a victory against Hartlepool United.

After a late victory at Newport last weekend the Robins came into Tuesday night's fixture searching for a rare 3 points at home.

Harry Mckirdy was reinstalled to the starting eleven following his suspension at the expense of Alex Gilbert, and Welsh international Jonny Williams marked the only other change coming in for Ben Gladwin.

Swindon started on the front foot with an early Louis Reed free kick being blocked by the wall. Harry Mckirdy then went close 17 minutes in following a corner where he saw his stab towards goal clawed away by the Hartlepool keeper.

4 minutes later skipper Dion Conroy brilliantly diffused the danger after a last ditch tackle preventing Mark Cullen from a 1 on 1 with Jojo Wollacott. On the half hour mark Hartlepool thought they had taken the lead when Mark Cullen pounced to finish from close range however despite lengthy celebrations he was finally judged to be offside.

The first half would end with both teams taking it in turns to control the tempo with no real opportunities to write home about, despite the game being fairly open. However with both sides scoring the vast majority of their goals in the second half this season it could only end one way.

Once again the hosts started the second half on the front foot and just 7 minutes in they were rewarded with the opener. A brilliant direct run from Kaine Kesler Hayden then found Harry Mckirdy peeling off into the box. Mckirdy at full stretch dinked the ball into the danger area where Jonny Williams headed home from 6 yards out. It was a really well worked goal from Town and it would set the tone for the second half.

Hartlepool would come back though. After Nicky Featherstone smashed the cross bar from close range on the hour mark Tom Crawford would make no mistake one minute later. Reagan Ogle found himself with acres of space and time on the right wing to find Crawford bursting into the box to make it one goal a piece from close range.

With the game becoming more and more end to end Rob Hunt blocked a Hartlepool counter attack on his own goal line. Then just shy of 70 minutes Swindon regained the lead. Some excellent interchange on the edge of the Hartlepool box between Payne and Williams saw Payne chipping the ball into Simpson who took the ball on his chest and then volleyed it into the bottom corner from inside the box. Another well worked goal from Town as well as a prime example of how lethal we can be when we do things at a pace.

Buoyed by the confidence of his goal Simpson became close to unplayable for the next 20 minutes. On 75 minutes he had an instinctive near post flick saved by the keeper. And for the next ten his hold up play and contribution to bringing others into play was nothing short of exemplary. With Swindon naturally dropping deep to protect what they had Tyreece Simpson held the ball up inside the Hartlepool half and found Jack Payne. The midfield maestro then went alone and unleashed a low and hard effort outside the box which flew past the keepers left into the bottom right corner to put the game beyond all doubt in stoppage time.

Going forward it was top marks for Swindon with all attacking players providing a contribution. Some of the interchange at times blew Hartlepool away and Jonny Williams really did provide a spark for what would be a good evening.

With there being no internationals for the Welshman until March it'll be a frightening prospect for opposition teams to see him in the line up week in week out for Town. We did look a little bit vulnerable in defence with perhaps the 3 centre halves not having enough protection from the midfield at times. Without a clean sheet in 6 games in the league, it's certainly something Ben Garner will look at in the weeks to come. But overall an incredibly positive evening for the Robins with the next test being at home to high flying Harrogate on Saturday afternoon.

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