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Classy Swans Draw Again

Birmingham City
0 - 0
Swansea City

St. Andrews

28th December 2008

Attendance: 21,836

Referee:

Swansea equalled a Football League record of eight consecutive draws after they couldn't find a way past 10 man Birmingham at St. Andrews.

David Murphy's red card for an inept Blue's side didn't prove costly as Febian Brandy and Jason Scotland wasted late chances to give the visitors the win their classy performance deserved.

A large Jack Army following witnessed their side outplay their supposedly superior opposition from start to finish, but once again left frustrated at the lack of a winning goal.

The early stages of the game were littered with fouls as the home side looked to knock the Swans out of their rhythm, and Mike Riley could quite easily have produced a yellow card before he finally did caution Murphy midway through the first half.

For all their domination Roberto Martinez's side were limited to long range strikes, although they did go closer through Angel Rangel and Mark Gower who both flashed shots wide of the goal.

Ashley Williams and Garry Monk were outstanding in defence throughout, limiting the Blues to just a Kevin Phillips snap shot that went harmlessly wide in the first stanza.

The chorus of boo's that sent the home side into the changing rooms at half time did nothing to inspire Alex McLeish's men and it was more of the same once the second period got underway.

City dominated the promotion favourites but as has been consistently the case this season, failed to create many clear cut chances. Martinez brought on Jason Scotland for the excellent Joe Allen after an hour, and the big striker's direct approach gave the visitor's a bigger threat going forward.

The possibility of all three points coming back to South Wales looked increasingly likely after Murphy's rash lunge on Jordi Gomez brought the inevitable second yellow card.

James McFadden threatened to steal all the points for the Midlander's when he broke into the Swansea area, but his shot deflected tamely into the arms of Dorus de Vries.

With Brandy replacing the hard working Gorka Pintado, the final fifteen minutes was a siege on the home goal, with the Birmingham players taking every opportunity to waste time as they looked to escape with a draw.

Brandy's pace gave the home defence something new to worry about, and when the Man United loanee sped clear of Radhi Jaidi he had the chance to win the game. But he took the ball to close to Maik Taylor who was able to smother his shot.

Brandy got back on his feet to pull the ball back for Scotland whose dreadful first touch meant the Swans best chance of the game had gone.

The Trinidad & Tobago international nearly made amends late on as he lashed a left footed shot narrowly wide of the far post, but Riley's full time whistle signalled another draw for Martinez's men.

An outstanding performance that was only lacking in a winning goal as the Swans made a mockery of Birmingham's star studded squad, who on this evidence may struggle to hold onto a play - off place, let alone grab an automatic spot.

Star Player

Darren Pratley- The heartbeat of the Swansea midfield, driving forward to support the front man on a regular basis and disrupting the Blues attacks before they could get at the City backline.

Player Ratings


Dorus de Vries- 7

I doubt he ever imagined such a quiet afternoon. Never tested thanks to the 10 men in front of him.

Angel Rangel- 8

A constant thorn in the side of the Blues, galloping forward whenever the opportunity arose and faultless in the rare defensive moments.

Ashley Williams- 7.5

Solid and reliable as ever. Only really had problems with Jerome's power when he came on, but still handled him pretty well.

Garry Monk- 8

Excellent. Phillips didn't get a kick all afternoon. His partnership with Williams just keeps getting better.

Alan Tate- 7.5

A couple of stray passes and panicky moments but when in doubt he put his foot through it. Rather that then give it away trying to be clever. Bessone is going to have some work on his hands to get back in the side.

Mark Gower- 6.5

Did well in the first half but his reluctance to get to the byline was frustrating. Visibly got tired as the game wore on and probably should have been taken off 15 minutes earlier than he was.

Joe Allen- 8

Very, very good from the young lad. On this sort of form don't be surprised to see him in the full Welsh squad in February

Darren Pratley- 8.5

See 'Star Man'

Leon Britton- 8

Went about his business with as much quality as ever. Can't remember the last time I saw him have a bad game.

Jordi Gomez- 7

Had a couple of half decent attempts on goal but some of his set piece deliveries were poor.

Gorka Pintado- 7.5

Hard working showing from the Bull. With a bit more confidence and a bit better service he may have got a goal. When fully fit he is going to be even more of an asset.

Jason Scotland- 7

Was positive when he came on and had half a dozen shots in the time he was on the field. Wasted the best chance of the game with a dreadful touch.

Febian Brandy- 7

A rare chance to impress for longer than 30 seconds. Had a one-on-one opportunity to win the game but lacked the confidence to finish. His pace gave us a different dimension.

Tom Butler- 6

Should have come on earlier for a tiring Gower.

Roberto Martinez gave his reaction to BBC Sport:

'I'm extremely delighted with the way the players approached the game.

'It's a very difficult place to come, Birmingham City. In my opinion they are a Premiership side playing Championship football.

'I thought they (the Swans) controlled the game from the first minute to the last. We created enough open chances to win the football game.

'Unfortunately there have been too many times now where the performance wasn't reflected in the scoreline.'

Alex McLeish spoke to the Birmingham City official

'I said last week they were the best footballing team we've played against this season and I don't change my mind after that today.'

'They outmanouvered us in the midfield with three men in there in the first half and tried to match up with that in the second half but never really got into our way of playing.'

'But I think it's a credit to Swansea and the way they played in that they made us look ineffective.'


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Writer:Andy Morgan
Date:Sunday December 28 2008
Time: 9:01PM

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