Evan Horwood thanks hapless Swindon stopper

A thumbs up from Evan Horwood after Hartlepool United draw 1-1 away to Swindon Town. Picture by FRANK REID
A thumbs up from Evan Horwood after Hartlepool United draw 1-1 away to Swindon Town. Picture by FRANK REID

CHEEKY Evan Horwood has thanked hapless Swindon Town goalkeeper Phil Smith for the gift which led to his goal during Saturday’s 1-1 draw.

Smith had only been drafted into the starting line-up at the 11th hour after David Lucas suffered a back injury during the warm-up.

But the keeper would have been wishing his chance had never came when, in the 37th minute, he bowled a throw straight to the feet of Horwood who returned an impudent first-time effort into the gaping goal from 35 yards.

“I don’t know what the keeper was doing to be honest,” the Pools scorer told SportMail today.

“It was just instinct more than anything - I saw that the goal was open and I’ve just hit it.

“Even then, I thought the keeper should have got back and saved it – so I’ve got to thank him really.

“I didn’t really hit it the best either so I think it was a bit fortunate in the end, but I definitely meant to score.”

Horwood’s words are hardly likely to cheer the crestfallen stopper, but he would have been relieved to see his side draw level in the second half courtesy of Matt Ritchie’s 67th-minute header.

This was after Gary Liddle had been sent off for a calf-high challenge on Paul Caddis.

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff for Pools at times during the final half hour, but they held out to halt a run of three straight defeats.

And Horwood believes that resistance showed that Pools are on back on track.

“We’re over the moon with the point and overall I thought we were brilliant,” added the 24-year-old defender.

“You do fear a little bit when you concede and some of the things I was doing I was getting a bit panicky.

“But it was a big test character during the last half hour, especially knowing we’d lost the last three.

“It would have looked really bad losing four in a row, especially against a team who are right down the bottom.

“But we put everything in and the lads were nakered in the dressing room.

“It takes a bit more pressure off us going into the next game and it’s good for the fans who came down to show them that we haven’t got our flip-flops out.

“We’ve been working really hard in training all week and you could see that in the game.

“We maybe had taken our foot off the gas a little bit but we’ve proved we’re a good team and that was back to somewhere near our best in terms of defending.

“Mick’s been drilling it into us that we all have to be 100% at our game and I thought we were on Saturday.”

Read the full story in Monday’s Mail ...