Full-time: Swindon Town 0 Notts County 0
BARTOSZ Bialkowski was Notts County's hero in a goal-less draw against Swindon Town in League One today.
The Magpies' no.1 was in top form and made several great saves to deny the Robins at the County Ground.
Enoch Showunmi went closest to scoring for Notts with a second-half header that was deflected onto the crossbar and the home side also hit the woodwork after the break.
The big news before kick-off was that 19-year-old midfielder Greg Tempest started in the Magpies' midfield, making his full League debut for the club.
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Notts were also boosted by the return from injury of right-back Julian Kelly and he joined Dean Leacock, Gary Liddle and Alan Sheehan, a former Swindon player, in defence, in front of Bialkowski.
Tempest was named alongside Neal Bishop, Andre Boucaud, Jeff Hughes and Alan Judge in midfield, while Showunmi started in attack.
The Magpies came under pressure in the opening stages of the game as Swindon winger Gary Roberts fired a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area on ten minutes and midfielder Simon Ferry dragged an effort wide from inside the box two minutes later, after Liddle had blocked a close-range shot from Andy Williams.
Tempest looked confident on the left wing and Judge was full of energy, but Notts badly lacked a cutting edge and it was the home side who threatened again on 21 minutes, defender Alan McCormack smashing a shot at goal from 20 yards that Boucaud charged down.
McCormack then swung a dangerous cross into the Magpies' penalty area on 23 minutes that Williams headed back across the six-yard box and Kelly hacked clear under pressure.
Sheehan got the first sight of goal for Notts, after Bishop was fouled 25 yards out on 30 minutes, but the Irishman miscued a free-kick badly wide against his former club.
Swindon were quickly back on the attack, however, and Bialkowski was forced into his first save on 34 minutes.
Roberts fed the ball to Town right-back Nathan Thompson inside the box, he struck it powerfully at goal and Bialkowski blocked it at his near post.
Bialkowski then made a second good save to deny Tommy Miller four minutes later, parrying away a stinging low shot from the midfielder from 20 yards at full stretch to his right.
The Pole was looking in good form and he made a third good save in the opening minutes of the second half, stopping a close-range header from Ferry on 50 minutes.
Swindon were appealing for a penalty a minute earlier, after Williams went down in the box in a tussle for the ball with Liddle, but ref Carl Berry rightly turned them down.
Bialkowski then tipped a dipping shot from Swindon sub Louis Thompson over the bar on 57 minutes, before Bishop threatened for Notts on 64 minutes.
Showunmi laid the ball off to him inside the box and the Magpies' captain drove it at goal, but it was blocked by a defender.
Notts then threatened twice more in the space of a couple of minutes.
Judge forced Swindon goalkeeper Wes Foderingham into a good save with a long-range curling shot on 69 minutes and from the subsequent corner Showunmi directed a close-range header at goal that Williams deflected onto the underside of the crossbar.
The home side hit the woodwork six minutes later, striker Adam Rooney heading against a post from inside the six-yard box on 76 minutes.
The rebound fell to sub James Collins and his shot hit Sheehan and deflected over the bar.
Swindon piled the pressure on Notts in the closing minutes, but Bialkowski refused to be beaten.
He made a great save to deny Collins on 87 minutes, spreading himself brilliantly to block his close-range shot and deflect it over the bar, and then stopped Darren Ward's powerful header from the subsequent corner on the goal-line.
SWINDON: Foderingham, N Thompson, Flint, Ward, McCormack, Williams, Ferry, Miller (L Thompson, 51), Navarro, Roberts (Collins, 66), A Rooney (De Vita, 85). Subs: Bedwell, Devera, L Rooney, Waldon.
NOTTS: Bialkowski, Kelly (Smith, 93), Leacock, Liddle, Sheehan, Bishop, Boucaud, Tempest (Arquin, 59), Judge, Hughes, Showunmi (Bencherif, 73). Subs: Pilkington, Hollis, Thompson, Zoko.
ATTENDANCE: 8,415 (217 away).