Date:Saturday February 21 2009
21st February 2009
Attendance: 16,161 (Away: 488)
Swansea City got back to winning ways this afternoon after coming from a goal behind to beat Doncaster 3-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
The Swans slumped to their first defeat in 17 games on Tuesday night, losing 2-0 away at struggling Watford. Roberto Martinez maintained his record of never losing 2 consecutive League games as manager following today's 3-1 victory.
Jason Scotland cancelled out Coppinger's early opener from the penalty spot, before Gomez struck a second half brace to give us all 3 points.
Roberto Martinez was forced into making a change to his side following mixed news regarding our injuries. Skipper Garry Monk was left out as a precaution which meant Serran kept his place but shifted over to the centre, Rangel returned to right back.
In midfield, there were doubts regarding Jordi Gomez's fitness but passed a late test to start the game, and the Spaniard proved vital to today's win by scoring his 12th and 13th goals of the season.
Doncaster arrived at the Liberty Stadium as the Championship's most in-form side, winning 7 of their last 8 games and drawing the other.
We didn't get off to the best of starts as Rovers made it difficult for us to get our passing game flowing. They closed us down quickly and gave us little time and space to play our normal game.
Our first real effort on goal came after 7 minutes. Ashley Williams did well to get forward from the back to pick out Scotland with a lobbed pass, he cut it back to Gomez who was unmarked on the edge of the area, but he fired high over the bar.
4 minutes later though, the visitors took the lead. Wellens' threaded a through ball to Paul Heffernan as our defence failed to pick out his forward run, his shot was saved by de Vries but the fall fell nicely to James Coppinger who had an easy task of scoring from close range.
It was poor defending from the Swans, conceding a goal completely against the run of play. It seemed like Serran was ball watching and didn't follow Heffernan, de Vries made a great save to deny him but we failed to deal with the loose ball and Rovers took full advantage to take an early lead.
Doncaster's confidence grew now following their goal as the Swans surged forward looking for an instant reply.
Scotland had our next chance to score as Rangel and Dyer teamed up well down the right flank. A cross came in but Scotland was unable to get his head over the ball as his attempt went harmlessly wide. The move started with an excellent long-range diagonal pass from Gower to Dyer, Rangel overlapped his run to cross high for our top scorer at the far post, but maybe a low cross to another player might have been a better option.
Just before the half hour mark, Jordi Gomez forced a save from goalkeeper Neil Sullivan as we continued our push for an equaliser.
A mention must also go out to the referee. It was the same official who very kindly awarded us two penalties against Hull City 5 and a half years ago, as we survived the drop to the Conference. Today, he gave us another today but he was constantly blowing his whistle and giving out cards to interrupt the game.
The goal came on 28 minutes as stand-in skipper Alan Tate made a great run down the left, he made his way inside and into the penalty area and was forced to the ground by O'Connor, you can't have many arguments against the ref's decision to award the spot-kick. Jason Scotland stepped up and you can usually rely on him to score from the penalty, and he put it away with ease forcing Sullivan to dive the wrong way.
Martinez's had the better of the play for the remainder of the half as Doncaster struggled to get de Vries into any action after their goal.
Before the half time whistle, there was an incident involving midfielders Leon Britton and Richie Wellans. Wellans had accused Britton of stamping on him, and after threatening to punch him he spat in his face.
It was a disgusting thing to do and obviously Roberto Martinez and Leon Britton were disgraced by his behaviour, Rovers' manager Sean O'Driscoll apparently saw nothing, I don't see Britton as the lying type.
Doncaster had some good spells of possession in the second half and early on Heffernan saw a shot fly just wide.
The Swans created their first chance just before the hour mark. It was excellent play down the right wing with Dyer getting forward well, he passed to Gomez who picked out Jason Scotland, his powerful effort was palmed away by the goalkeeper.
Minutes later, Scotland was involved again in an attack as we looked to take a 1-goal advantage. The 18-goal striker picked out Mark Gower, who had a great chance to scoring his first goal for the Swans but Sullivan made an excellent save down to his left to concede a corner.
After an untidy and sloppy start to the game from the hosts, we started to create chances now and we battled well against a good Doncaster side, who looked a lot better than their lowly 15th place in the table.
We made our first changes then half way through the second half as Guillem Bauza replaced Joe Allen. It was a harsh departure for the youngster as he had another excellent game, he battled well, got the ball out wide whenever possible and worked well alongside Leon Britton.
Bauza made an instant impact on the game and got the fans cheering once more as he created our goal to put is in front. He made a bursting run down the right wing, and his cross picked out Jason Scotland, he laid off for Gomez to fire a deflected shot past Sullivan and into the net.
It was deserved as we began to take control for the last 25 minutes, we just needed to keep things tight now and hold on for a valuable 3 points.
The referee gave us another boost as the game drew to a close as Richie 'The Spitter' Wellens was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence. It seemed a bit harsh at the time after a foul on Gomez, but he got what he deserved for spitting at Britton.
The points looked save following the dismissal but late on Gomez struck again to double our lead to 3-1. He received the ball just inside the box and fired a superb shot into the corner to increase his tally for the season to 13.
Roberto Martinez might have hailed yesterday's display as the best of the season, but early we struggled to play our usual game. There was little to no rhythm in our play, and after a defensive mix up for their opening goal, you had the feeling it was going to be a long day for us against a good, strong outfit.
They knew what our strengths were and how we played, they closed us down very well to begin and made it difficult for us to get forward and create chances. However, after their early goal I don't remember De Vries getting called into any action.
While it wasn't the best performance for the watching Swans fan, Martinez must have been delighted to see his side respond after the mid-week defeat at Watford. We dug deep and did well to come back from going a goal behind. We were a long way from being anywhere near as good as were against Fulham, but to win 3-1 against an in-form side like Doncaster just shows the character and determination of the squad.
Thanks to Paul Owen for the photos.
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Date:Saturday February 21 2009
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