Northampton Town 1 Swindon Town 1
It's a Solid Start for Town
Coca-Cola League One
Saturday 11 August 2007
RESULT: Northampton Town 1 Swindon Town 1
Northampton scorer: Kirk 9
Town scorer: Christian Roberts (penalty) 43
Swindon Town made a solid start to their League One season with a well-earned draw in an entertaining match at Northampton this afternoon.
Town fought back from an early setback to register their first point, and while either side might have snatched a win in the second half, a draw was a fair result.
Paul Sturrock included only two summer signings in his starting line-up: Hasney Aljofree lining up in defence after recovering from a midweek hamsting injury and Steve Adams winning a place in midfield.
Phil Smith was preferred in goal, with fit-again Peter Brezovan on the bench.
Up front, Blair Sturrock was partnered by Lee Peacock, who reverted to a striker's role for the afternoon.
Roared on by 1,338 travelling fans in a crowd of 6,210, Town looked brightest in the opening exchanges, but they found themselves a goal down after just nine minutes.
Ian Henderson crossed from the right-hand side and Andy Kirk headed the ball home from twelve yards out.
Town responded with a shot by Christian Roberts which was easily saved by the Northampton keeper. But they struggled to make any real clearcut chances.
Town could have considered themselves unlucky to be a goal behind but they refused to panic and played a patient game. And they were rewarded with a deserved equaliser two minutes before the break.
Christian Roberts fired in a cross, Northampton defender Colin Larkin clearly met it with his right arm, and the referee pointed to the spot.
Roberts stepped up and stroked the ball confidently past Mark Bunn into the bottom right-hand corner.
It remained an even contest after the break. Town went close when Roberts thumped the ball against a post with a 20-yard drive after 49 minutes. And Andy Holt forced a good save out of Phil Smith minutes later.
The Town stopper then made another crucial save from substitute Poul Hubertz, as Northampton threatened to take control.
Sofiane Zaaboub picked up an injury and was replaced by Migeul Comminges for the final 20 minutes. And Blair Sturrock was replaced by Ibon Arietea a few minutes later.
Comminges was keen to impress and forced a save out of Northampton keeper Bunn as Town pressed forward in search of a winner.
But Northampton weren't finished yet themselves, and Hubertz rattled the crossbar with a spectacular over-head kick.
Town's third debutant substitute, Kaid Mohammed, made a brief appearance late on, and Arietea picked up Town's first yellow card of the new campaign.
But when the final whistle came, Paul Sturrock acknowledged that it was a fair result. But he will probably be the happier of the two managers after this opening match of the new season.
Sturrock was pleased with his side's effort: "I thought their attitude was excellent and their workrate was good," he said. "But, in the end, I'll take the point."
The Town boss said that there would be "several changes" for Tuesday's visit of Charlton Athletic to enable him to see more members of his squad in competitive action.
"Obviously, we need competition for places; and that is something we don't have at this minute."
And he also gave a clear indication that there are more signings to come before the transfer deadline at the end of the month. "I'd like to think that we will bring in four or five players before then," he said.
Charlton Athletic (H)
Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 7.45pm
Carling Cup First Round