Match report posted by Richard (view the full thread on the forum )
Quite how we escaped from Victoria Park yesterday with a win is beyond me - not only did our goal lead a charmed life, but we were also treated to what was possibly the best debut performance from a goalkeeper that anyone is ever likely to see.
The Town lined up exactly as predicted on the long drive up - the same XI that took to the field against Reading, in the same 4-4-2 formation. Perhaps the only slight surprise was that Adrian Williams didn`t start, maybe he`s still not quite 100%. In true Swindon shoot-yourself-in-the-foot style, we gave Hartlepool the perfect opportunity to make a great start to the season. A corner swung into the box was met by Shakes, and his attempted clearance went straight up in the air... he followed the flight of the ball, tried climbing over the Hartlepool player to retrieve it, and... penalty.
Enter Mr. Brezovan. It was at this point that he turned his Acme Goal Forcefield™ on.
Joel Porter placed the penalty low to Brezovan`s right, the giant keeper guessed correctly, and managed to claw the shot away... it looked as though Porter was all set to knock the rebound in though, but Brezovan again saved to keep the goal intact. Phew.
The penalty save sparked the Town`s best spell of the game. Peacock shot over after a well-worked move, Roberts had another effort saved, though it never really troubled the keeper. Then, on eleven minutes, Pook swung a corner in, in what looked to be a well worked corner routine (yes - admittedly I was at the other end of the pitch, so I might have been wrong). Peacock found himself unmarked on the back post, and he placed what looked to be a harmless header goalwards. Not sure what happened here... but somehow the ball seemed to go right through a group of players, and then beautifully nestled into the bottom corner. We were uncertain as to whether anyone had knocked it in.
Other than that, we created little else for the rest of the first half - Roberts again had a shot, Pook (I think) had a decent long range effort, but that was it - at the other end, Hartlepool had two decent chances, and another stroke of luck that nearly resulted in an equaliser. Bear with me, I might get the order wrong.
The first was the save of the match. A cross coming in from the Town`s left, Michael Nelson rose above the Swindon defence to power a header goalwards. Somehow, Brezovan reacted to push the ball away - not only that, but I can exclusively reveal that he was so calm about it all, he even managed to look at me whilst I was taking a photograph of the incident (see the photo gallery... also note the smile on the face of the Hartlepool player running in, obviously thought a goal had been scored!)
The second was, I think, the lucky one. A reasonably tame shot took a huge deflection off Lee Peacock, but Brezovan was already committed. From a sitting position, he reached up and somehow managed to claw the ball away from right on the goal line.
Lastly, another Hartlepool attack resulted in a one-on-one with Brezovan - the Pools forward attempted to round him, Brezovan pushed the ball away, and the Pools forward then ran the ball out... inexplicably, the referee then gave a corner - but I think he must have realised he was wrong from the reaction of the crowd... and so gave an non-existant foul when the cross came in. He also proved it was incompetence, not bias, later on when a Pools shot hit Monkhouse quite clearly on the way through - result: goal kick. Monkhouse meanwhile was holding his face. Bizarre.
If we were a tad fortunate to go in at half time with a goal lead, then by the end of the game, we were downright lucky. As the half wore on, Hartlepool put the Town under more and more pressure, and we struggled to deal with it, resorting to fouling the onrushing forwards as we tired. Part of the problem to me seemed to be the shape of the midfield - Pools were playing with plenty of width, and with our full backs taking their defensive positions, if our wid