Pools Make Point At Swindon
Andy Monkhouse came off the bench to score a crucial goal against his former club as Pools grabbed a point at Swindon Town - but it was a series of saves from Scott Flinders that again proved decisive.
The winger has so often returned to haunt The Robins since swapping The County Ground for Victoria Park in 2006 and his third goal against Town was enough to secure a share of the spoils.
It was nothing more than John Hughes' side had merited after once again showing the gritty and battling qualities that helped them clinch important wins over Portsmouth and Notts County last week.
And it means they can now haul themselves off the bottom of the table if they can complete the double over second-bottom Pompey at The Vic on Tuesday night.
Swindon started strongly and could have gone in when Aden Flint came up from the back to meet a deep cross which seemed to be looping over Scott Flinders only for the Pools keeper to find the reach to paw it round the post.
The Robins - roared on by a large and vocal support - almost went in front when Adam Rooney stormed away down the left and drilled a low cross in to strike partner Andy Williams but after a smart turn he blazed his shot too high from eight yards.
At the other end Pools could have silenced the crowd when Charlie Wyke found enough space twenty-five yards to aim a drive toward the far corner but Wes Foderingham leapt across to his right and finger-tipped it round the post.
Moments later though, as Pools looked to pen the hosts back, Swindon nicked the ball and quickly moved forward over the halfway line where midfielder Simon Ferry arrived on the end of a sweeping counter-attack to slot the ball past Flinders from the edge of the area.
Raffaelle De Vita flashed an effort across goal as Town continued to press, while Adam Rooney saw his powerful drive helped over the bar by Flinders.
James Poole attempted a speculative volley from long-range which was held by Foderingham, but it was Town who continued to look more likely and when Di Vita's deflected shot looped towards the top corner it took more heroics from Flinders to prevent a second goal.
The hard-working Simon Walton drilled a long range left-footed effort just over the bar, before Alan McCormack almost marked his return from illness with a goal but slid an effort wide of the far post when fed through by De Vita.
In the second half it was left to Flinders to move further in to centre stage when he miraculously denied Andy Williams from point blank range with the striker all set to head home De Vita's pinpoint cross.
And as Pools tried desperately to clear the danger, the ball fell to Gary Roberts who rattled a stringing volley towards the top corner -only for Flinders to somehow leap up and palm the ball round the post.
Even then there was more for Flinders to do as from the resulting corner he had to courageously block a header at the far post to keep the score at 0-0. It was simply sensational goalkeeping from the Pools star.
Williams looked a threat for most of the afternoon but after peeling in from the left his deflected show flew wide of the far post, and then moments later fired off target after cleverly turning away from Walton on the edge of the area.
Pools sent out a warning of their danger on the counter-attack when Jonathan Franks drove a volley on goal through a crowd from the edge of the box which Foderingham did well to turn away.
But Town didn't make the most of the let-off and when the ball broke wide left for Ritchie Humphreys he dinked a cross to the far post where Evan Horwood nodded it back across goal to Monkhouse. The substitute gleefully volleyed it home from close range much to the disgust of the home fans who had booed his arrival on the pitch.
It was enough to clinch a very welcome point for Pools who had to withstand a late onslaught from the hosts to earn their draw.
Full Time: Swindon Town 1 Pools 1
Att:9973 (154 Pools)
Booked: Collins, Flinders (90)
Pools: Flinders, Austin, Collins, Hartley, Horwood, Walton, Baldwin, Humphreys, Franks (James 83), Wyke (Luscombe 84), Poole (Monkhouse 64)
Subs Not Used: McHugh, Holden, Richards, Rutherford
Swindon Town: Foderingham, Flint, Thompson, Ward, Ferry, Roberts, McCormack, Miller, Williams (Storey 85), De Vita, Rooney (Collins 69)
Subs Not Used: Bedwell, McEveley, Oakley, Navarro