Vital Swansea Season Review 08/09 Part 4
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After a month full of draws in December, January was a near perfect month but Southampton denied us a 100% winning record with a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw on the 31st.
The Swans also enjoyed FA Cup success away at Portsmouth making January our most successful month of the season.
It kicked off with an evening game away at Burnley in front of the Sky cameras. Jason Scotland netted a brace to give us a 2-0 win, a draw would have seen us set a new record for 9 consecutive draws. In a poll, 61% correctly predicted a win, 25% voted a draw and 14% thought we'd lose.
In another site poll, 85% believed we could achieve a play-off spot.
Roberto Martinez's were finally back to winning ways for the first time since mid-November, and the wins just kept on coming.
Our promotion to the Championship meant we had the luxury of skipping the first two rounds of the FA Cup. Histon's fans and playing staff were left disappointed when all the non-League side got for their efforts in the early rounds was us away. No Premiership big boys for them!
Spaniards Gorka Pintado and Guillem Bauza put us 2-0 in front at the break but the hosts looked to make a second-half comeback but Josh Simpson's strike was too little too late.
Our attentions reverted back to the Championship then as we went looking for a play-off place, currently sitting in 9th and 4 points adrift of our rivals Cardiff City.
We were looking for revenge when Reading visited the Liberty Stadium as they embarrassed us at the Majeski Stadium, easily beating us 4-0 in September. It was a different story this time though, we completely dominated the game and thoroughly impressed their former boss Steve Coppell with a top-class display of free-flowing attacking football.
Nathan Dyer made his first full debut with the club and it didn't take him long to impress out wide on the right, causing problems for their left back throughout and teamed up brilliantly with Angel Rangel.
Scotland was on target again for the 3rd time in January before Andrea Orlandi wrapped up the win late on with his first ever League goal for the club.
Swansea City were in confident mood at this stage and we fancied our chances in the FA Cup 4th round when we faced Tony Adams' struggling Portsmouth side.
Nathan Dyer continued to impress the fans following his loan switch from Southampton, and he opened the scoring against his club's arch rivals! Scotland was on target again, this time from the spot to give us a promising 2-goal advantage at the break. Loan goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos pulled off some super saves in the second half as Pompey tried to get back into the tie.
Just 3 days later, we were back in League action at the Liberty Stadium and we won our 5th consecutive match, thrashing fellow play-off hopefuls Preston 4-1.
We went close to it being 6 wins in 6 in January but Southampton earned a point in their 2-2 home draw, as Marek Saganowski netted a late equaliser after goals from Pintado and Gomez.
Best Match – Portsmouth 0-2 Swansea
Month performance rating - 10/10 - Couldn't fault the Swans in January!
A superb January saw the Swans go up 2 places to 9th from December and just 3 points adrift of the play-offs.
We were looking to continue our fantastic form but February was a rather indifferent month, which featured 2 League wins in 5, plus a 2 cup defeats to Watford and Fulham respectively.
It kicked off where January left off though, with an easy 3-0 victory at home to Ipswich Town. Angel Rangel was missing which gave Albert Serran a chance to impress after spending much of the season on the bench. It didn't take him long to shine, as he was the creator of our 3-minute opening goal. It was a fantastic run down the right flank for the Spaniard, crossing for Jason Scotland to net his 6th goal in 6 games. His 7th in 6 games followed in the same game.
Jordi Gomez added a late third for the Swans with an excellent strike from a free-kick 25 yards out.
The following Saturday, we were at home again but in FA Cup action against Premiership side Fulham in front of the ITV cameras. Martinez's side impressed a lot of people that day with a dominating superb display for football that left Roy Hodgson amazed in the away dugout.
However, football can be a cruel game and it proved that on the stroke of half time. A corner wasn't dealt with by the defence, and the ball ricochet off Monk and into the net.
The Swans were able to continue their dominance in the second half which saw us score a deserved equaliser and it was that man again - Jason Scotland. We should and could have won the game comfortably but it was always going to be hard to break down Fulham's defence, but this meant a second chance in a replay at Craven Cottage.
We were back in League action a few days later but it was a disappointment for the Swans away at Watford, who ended our 16-match unbeaten run.
We recovered though when we were back at the Liberty Stadium, and beat Doncaster 3-1 with goals from Scotland and Gomez (2).
Swansea City fans seemed confident of a win at Fulham in the FA Cup 5th round replay with 70% voting we'd beat Hodgson's side at Craven Cottage.
Scotland was on fire and he put us in a shock 1-0 lead just after the restart, but the hosts piled on the pressure and scored twice to deny us more success in the competition.
We ended February in disappointment with one of our worst performances of the season against bottom-club Charlton, as Dyer's first half strike was cancelled out by Bailey.
Despite the lack of wins though, we were close to 6th place, just a point behind Cardiff and 2 behind 5th placed Bristol City.
Another mention should go to our Player of the month winners. Jason Scotland has got the votes lately but Joe Allen deserves a mention as well for his superb performances in midfield, replacing the injured Ferrie Bodde.
Best Match – Swansea 1 Fulham 1