SWINDON Town scored their first goal of the season in a 1-1 draw with Carlisle United at Brunton Park on Saturday.
Swindon were under pressure early on but recovered brilliantly to take the lead through Jacob Wakeling.
The Wiltshire side could not hang on until the break though as Kristian Dennis finished a one-on-one chance to restore parity.
A hot day ended up taking its toll on both sets of players as a far slower second half, in terms of tempo, meant chances became few and far between.
Town’s second point of the League Two season maintained their position of 19th in the table ahead of a home game against Leyton Orient on Tuesday.
Scott Lindsey made two changes from the previous weekend's 0-0 draw at home to Salford City in League Two.
Ciaran Brennan continued to miss games through concussion, and Burton Albion loanee Frazer Blake-Tracy came in for his Swindon Town debut. Tyrese Shade dropped to the bench in favour of Jonny Williams. Harry McKirdy returned from suspension to face his former club.
It was the hosts who began on the front foot, and they had the ball in the net inside three minutes, but the linesman’s flag spared Swindon. Owen Moxon fizzed a corner to the edge of the box, and a Carlisle attacker nodded it back towards goal where Dennis headed into the net over Sol Brynn only to see his goal would not count.
Carlisle’s hot start on a scorching day continued as Moxon tested Brynn down low and Jack Armer crashed narrowly wide before the clock ticked on to 13 minutes played.
Town recovered brilliantly though, scoring their first goal of the new season after being largely on the backfoot in the early stages. Saidou Khan arguably fouled his man high up, but the referee did not intervene and Wakeling pounced. The young striker shrugged another defender off and curled into the bottom left corner of the net from just inside the box.
Following the mid-half water break, Omari Patrick produced his contribution to the miss-of-the-season competition to let Town off the hook. Town were caught out down the right after Fin Back cut across Blake-Tracy and crossed low into the middle. All Patrick had to do was tap in from six yards out, but he inexplicably scooped over.
Lindsey’s men could not escape into half-time unscathed, however, as Carlisle equalised in the 44th minute. One simple ball through the middle – with Baudry the only one failing to step up – saw Town cut open. Dennis took his one-on-one chance really well, curling into the net to Brynn’s right.
In the early stages of the second half, Town were indebted to their captain at not being behind due to a heroic goal-line clearance. Patrick was presented with another superb opportunity in the middle of the box, and his side-footed effort was destined for the net until MacDonald scrambled back to clear away with Brynn beaten.
McKirdy had a brilliant chance to quieten his former fans when being set away one-on-one and almost rounding Holy before the hour, but the young goalkeeper kept his feet to follow Town’s striker and deny him a goal.
The former Carlisle striker enjoyed another opportunity inside the final 15 minutes, but he slashed into the side-netting from an acute angle. Up the other end, United substitute Jack Stretton turned and volleyed over when the goal was gaping.
With five minutes to play, Town almost sucker-punched Carlisle on the counter-attack. Hutton ran down the right and switched the play into McKirdy, who in turn laid off to substitute Tomi Adeloye inside him.
But the striker, put under pressure by Corey Whelan, was not particularly successful with his shot from the edge of the box.
Ultimately, the searing heat took its toll on both sides as the final stages were slow in tempo and lacking in real chances – resulting in a point for each.
CUFC starting XI: Holy, Armer, Moxon, Gibson, Guy, Patrick, Dennis, Whelan (c), Ellis, Mellish, Back.
SUBS: Kelly, Hilton, Bollado, Devitt, Harris, Carr, Stretton.
STFC starting XI: Brynn, Blake-Tracy, Hutton, Baudry, MacDonald (c), Reed, Williams, Gladwin, Khan, Wakeling, McKirdy.
SUBS: Ward, Clayton, Harries, Darcy, Shade, Adeloye, Aguiar.
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