Report - Swansea City 0-2 West Brom
16th March 2010
Swansea City lost their first home game since September 2009 this evening after a controversial penalty decision helped West Brom to a 2-0 victory at the Liberty Stadium.
Paulo Sousa's side had been enjoying the best spell of possession up until the big turning point in the match, and whilst we weren't creating many clear-cut chances, a goalless draw was looking most likely. But the referee, who had been quite generous to the Swans, gave the Baggies a huge gift as he penalised Angel Rangel for a soft challenge on Barnes. Graham Dorrans converted the spot-kick before Miller rounded off the wind after a counter-attacking move.
The Swans were looking to show a marked improvement from Saturday's poor showing against Sheffield Wednesday but we still showed our inability to create clear-cut chances on goal against defensive teams.
Tonight was a big test for the squad to see if they had the quality to push for an automatic place and to see how much they wanted it. The stage was set to get a massive win in front of a big 17,700 crowd, but unfortunately we again lacked that spark as Di Matteo's side nicked the points.
Swansea City manager Paulo Sousa welcomed back captain Garry Monk to his back four as Jazz Richards returned to the bench. Nathan Dyer replaced David Cotterill and Cedric Van Der Gun started instead of Tom Butler.
Despite a better start from the visitors, Swansea City then got into their stride after 10 minutes and we dominated the majority of the play. Nathan Dyer had our best opportunity after 13 minutes, the little winger did well to beat his man and gave himself some space inside the box to get a shot on goal, but he curled an effort high and wide of the target.
Albion's attacking play was more direct than ours, and they were getting into the final third far quicker but balls through to their target-men were always well cut out by our back line, as they gave Dorus de Vries an easy job in the opening 45 minutes.
Chances were few and far between for both sides but the Swans were looking confident in possession as the visitors, who were looking to boost their chances of automatic promotion to the Premier League tonight, were chasing shadows for large periods in the opening half.
Our next good chance came not long before the break as Shefki Kuqi did well to steal the ball from a defender and got Cedric Van Der Gun going down the left flank, his cross was missed by everyone including Dyer who came so close to getting a vital touch to the ball.
Our momentum and dominance dropped in the second half as West Brom stepped up a gear and they got more involved. Their passing play was much improved and they started to create more problems for our defence.
Luke Moore had a great chance as he played down the left by Dorrans, and he forced De Vries into a good save as he palmed a fierce effort around the post.
There was little to cheer about in the second half as the atmosphere dropped, but unfortunately the visiting supporters had something to celebrate with 11 minutes remaining as the referee awarded them a penalty for what looked like a nothing challenge.
The Swans midfield lost possession just inside our own half which gave West Brom the chance to break. Rangel was far too much out of position in the centre and Barnes had plenty of space to run into. He ran past the Spaniard inside the box but it looked like very little, if any contact was made. A very soft decision by the referee and one I'm sure that Paulo Sousa is livid about, but Dorrans converted the kick despite de Vries's best efforts to keep it out, as he watched a good strike go in off the inside of the post.
The win for the Baggies was then wrapped up ten minutes later as possession was lost again in our own half, Miller had the space and time to counter attack, he rounded de Vries before finding a gap through our defenders to find the net.
A disappointing night for Swansea City, which put things into perspective a bit more. We're really struggling for goals lately and although it wasn't a fair result, we need to start creating better chances and show much better quality in and around the box, because right now I have doubts as to where our goals will come from.