HALF-TIME REPORT: Pools 0 Swindon 0

HARTLEPOOL United responded to their opening-day drubbing at Crewe Alexandra with a solid first half against Swindon Town.

Paolo Di Canio’s men were first to show and both Andy Williams and Tommy Miller tested Scott Flinders with left-footed efforts from range.

Again the Robins threatened on five minutes when Paul Benson’s glancing header, from Matt Ritchie’s free-kick, bounced inches wide of the far post.

But Pools found their feet after a nervy opening and Jon Franks managed to locate Andy Monkhouse in an ocean of space at the far post on 16 minutes.

The winger only had Wes Foderingham to beat but lost his footing at the crucial moment and the chance was gone.

But within 60 seconds Pools survived a scare at the other end when Ritchie rose to turn Jay McEveley’s centre on goal.

Flinders, though, read the midfielder’s intentions and spread his frame to block.

It was end-to-end stuff and James Poole saw a 12-yard header loop over the visiting crossbar after Franks had again scampered clear down the left and centered.

Pools were now enjoying all of the attacking territory and Steve Howard fired down the throat of Foderingham from 20 yards on 33 minutes.

And that was how it stayed until the break.