Swansea City 1-1 Sheffield United
13th December 2008
Swansea City's habit of throwing away points was evident again this afternoon as we drew 1-1 against Sheffield United, conceding an equaliser with just 3 minutes remaining.
The referee gave us a boost at the beginning of the second half as Henderson was shown a red card within a minute of kick off for elbowing Angel Rangel.
Jason Scotland converted from the penalty spot 10 minutes later as the Swans completely dominated the entire second half.
We were punished late on though for our inability to finish off chances, as Morgan netted from close range.
Roberto Martinez was boosted by the return of midfielder Darren Pratley, who served his one match ban. The Swans boss also awarded a first team start to youngster Joe Allen, who inspired us to a 2-goal comeback against Barnsley in mid-week.
The match got off to a rather slow start with neither side creating any decent chances within the first 10 minutes or so.
The Blades had the first chance of the game though, as they had the advantage of Greg Halford's long throws. James Beattie managed to connect with one but luckily his header went wide of the target.
At the other end, we carved out some sort of attempt on goal. Gomez and Allen linked up after a short corner, Gomez cut inside and his powerful shot was palmed over for another corner. Allen then a chance moments later as the keeper was called into action again to make another decent stop.
Allen seems to be performing at a level he's capable of again, he was lively in the midfield and was often involved in our attacking play. He impressed in a cup game last season against Reading, but he has since struggled to repeat that form this year.
Leon Britton however was having a poor game for his high standards, his passing lacked accuracy and Roberto's side were finding it difficult to get any rhythm into their play.
We were then dealt a blow during the first half as we lost yet another left back. Stephen O'Halloran, on loan from Aston Villa, suffered what looked like a bad knock to his leg and he was unfortunately stretchered off and replaced by Alan Tate.
We had a few half chances before the break but we didn't really look like we were going to score.
Improvements needed to be made in the second half if we were going to get our first win in 5 league games.
Within 20 seconds of kick off, we got a huge boost as Sheffield United were down to 10 men. Henderson was shown red after competing with Angel Rangel for an aerial challenge. He caught Rangel badly with his arm and the ref took no time in deciding to give him his marching orders.
The Swans now had the chance to push on and up the tempo of their game. We dominated position for the whole 45 minutes and chance after chance came, and went.
The keeper made an excellent double save to deny Butler and Scotland and 10 minutes later we opened the scoring. It was a rare occurance today to see a ref give us some rather dodgy decisions in our favour. Pratley was fouled outside the box and we were awarded a spot kick. Scotland and Gomez argued over who was taking it before Scotland stepped up and cooly converted to put us in front.
Butler was causing a lot of problems down the left wing and he was giving the full back a torrid time. He made an excellent run down the flank before cutting inside and trying his luck at goal, the keeper made another good save.
Gomez then should have doubled our lead but somehow he fired well over from inside the box. The Spaniard was disappointing all game to say the least, far too often his passes went astray and his shooting was aimless.
Gorka Pintado was then brought on to replace Scotland, and early on he showed a few neat touches but didn't really trouble the defence.
Darren Pratley then had our best chance yet to double our lead and put the game beyond any doubt. Gomez put him clear on goal, but rather than passing it to Gorka for a simple tap in, he shot himself and narrowly missed the target.
With 3 minutes remaining, we were punished for our failure to convert chances against a 10-man side. Chris Morgan lobbed the ball over the oncoming De Vries after an absolute howler from the defence. We should have been at least 3 goals to the good by that stage as we had chance after chance to extend our lead.
4 minutes of added time were then played but the Blades brought on a defender, stuck everyone behind the ball and it made it difficult for us to get forward.
Yet again the Swans have under achieved in a game. As soon as Sheffield United had a man sent off and we scored, it should have been an easy win but we gifted them a point.
We seemed content to just pass the ball amongst ourselves in the middle third, and lacked the momentum and drive to get forward and increase our lead.
Photos to follow.