Report - Cardiff City 0-1 Swansea City
He may only be here for a month, but Middlesbrough loanee Marvin Emnes will live long in Swansea fans' memories after scoring a superb goal to give us a massive 1-0 win against our bitter rivals Cardiff City on their own soil.
Brendan Rodgers` side kept their 6th consecutive clean sheet against the former table toppers and again showed their promotion potential with a very disciplined performance against one of our main promotion rivals.
We were boosted with the return of Mark Gower who was back in midfield alongside Andrea Orlandi and Joe Allen, as we were without the suspended Darren Pratley. Cardiff evidently struggled without their main man Jay Bothroyd, as long balls up to Andy Keogh just didn`t work against a strong Swans defence.
Rangel - Monk - Williams - Tate
Allen - Gower - Orlandi
The Swans got off to a rather nervous start, as they kicked off and brought possession back into their own half they soon lost the ball allowed Cardiff City an early break.
Thankfully though we settled quite quickly and the first half was a balanced 45 minutes with neither side really making a big impact in the game.
De Vries was never really called into major action despite Cardiff`s possession and it was the Swans who were testing out the home goalkeeper.
Scott Sinclair had a shot deflect wide for a corner before we created the best chance when Dyer`s cutback pass found Emnes, but his shot was blocked.
Dyer himself then had a chance, and while it looked a better option to pass to Sinclair who was unmarked in front of goal, the winger shot straight at the near post and Hudson again kept out a decent effort.
Whittingham then had Cardiff`s first and best effort on goal but they were still unable to test Dorus De Vries in the Swansea goal. He fired a great effort which flew just inches past the woodwork.
Andrea Orlandi has yet to convince a lot of Swansea fans that he is worth a regular first team place but he was doing a good job of making some key forward passes to the likes of Emnes, Dyer and Sinclair.
Cardiff`s best hope for a goal in the first half came 5 minutes before the break, when Chopra and co made huge claims for a penalty as Alan Tate did brilliantly to block a shot with his chest as the hosts created a clear opening inside the penalty box.
Luckily the officials got it spot on and realised Tate had blocked it with his chest, but from another angle it looked like maybe he had handled the ball to help it out for a corner.
The referee blew his whistle for half time, and the Swans I`m sure went in the dressing room the happier of the two sides. Cardiff probably had more possession but long balls up to Keogh just didn`t work, while Rodgers` side were able to create some decent chances and force Heaton into making a few good saves.
There was also controversy surrounding Chopra and De Vries` incident in the first half. The Swans keeper went to claim a cross but dropped the ball under pressure from Chopra who was backing into the Dutchman. The referee didn`t stop play for what looked like an obvious foul on the goalkeeper, the ball dropped dangerously inside the 6 yard area but thankfully a Swans player got there first and was able to clear the danger.
After a first half which was quite even in terms of possession, the Swans started the second half stronger and this proved to be the vital period that helped us to go and win the game.
Early on, we broke forward and Nathan Dyer`s pace helped us to counter attack down the right. The ball eventually ended up with Sinclair and Heaton made a poor effort in saving his shot, the ball went under his arm but he made the all important touch that helped the ball onto the post and out to safety.
That was the closest yet to seeing a breakthrough in this game as the Swans continued their good start to the second half. Dyer dragged a shot wide after a good run before Allen forced Heaton into another save.
Heaton then created a great opportunity for Craig Bellamy, who had yet to make much of an impact in the game. The Swans were outnumbered at the back after an attack, and the Cardiff goalkeeper launched a long ball straight up to Bellamy. He looked to go round the Dutch keeper but he did well to keep out his shot.
Swansea City then made the big breakthrough in the game that their good work in the second half deserved. 1,700 fans went into raptures as Marvin Emnes netted a superb goal from nothing really. The Middlesbrough loanee had his back to goal and was marked by two players, but he was able to turn and fire at goal with his left foot that beat the goalkeeper at his right post. He may only be here for one more game but in just 4 weeks the striker has made a big impact at the club. Scoring a great goal on his debut and then beating it a hundred times over by scoring the goal that gives the Swans bragging rights over our big rivals.
Chopra was then obviously extremely frustrated by seeing us take the lead that he took it out on Joe Allen. He went flying in with a high boot on the midfielder, but despite the referee standing right in front of the challenge, amazingly he didn`t even get a booking.
Emnes then made way for Stephen Dobbie as Rodgers made his first substitutions of the game. Kemy Agustien also came on in place of Orlandi to help us in midfield and contain the Bluebirds as they looked to get an equaliser
Bellamy really should have scored in the 94th minute as Dave Jones` side launched direct balls into the box in the final few minutes. Substitute Burke sent in a good cross, which found Bellamy unmarked at the far post, but he glanced a header wide of the target, which ended their hopes of getting a point from the game.
Shortly afterwards the referee blew the full time whistle and the travelling 1,700 Swans fans celebrated a superb win which ended Cardiff`s unbeaten run at home and sends out a message to the rest of the Championship that we`re strong contenders for promotion this year.
Alan Tate was superb at left back, made vital tackles and blocks while Joe Allen continued to impress in midfield. Andrea Orlandi had one of his better games for the Swans and the back 4 did very well to limit Cardiff`s strong forward threat.