Report - Swansea City 1-0 Reading
1st January 2011
Darren Pratley's 65th-minute goal was enough to give Swansea City their second home win in 5 days to put us up to 2nd in the Championship table.
Reading's 8-match unbeaten run came to an end as their hopes for promotion took a blow as Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a victory against his former club.
After a disappointing run of form lately, Swansea City have turned things around this week with two 1-0 home wins in the space of 5 days, which puts us into the automatic promotion places for the first time this season - and our highest League position for 27 years.
Norwich are close behind following an excellent 1-0 home victory against table-toppers QPR. Our arch rivals lost 3-0 at Bristol City while Leeds United had to score a last-minute equaliser to get a point against Middlesbrough.
Further team changes were made to the team as Rodgers continues to rotate with another game coming up on Monday - away at Leicester City.
Garry Monk returned to captain the side as Alan Tate served the first of a 3-match ban. Gower and Allen made way in midfield for Pratley and Allen, while Sinclair also came in for Jermaine Easter and Dobbie started up front as a lone striker.
The Swans made a bright start to the game as Andrea Orlandi looked impressive before he was forced off early with an injury. The Spaniard won a corner early on following a good run down the wing, and he also had our best chances with a diving header and a long range shot that was comfortably saved.
The Swans were effected around the half-hour mark as Orlandi's replacement was shortly followed by left-back Neil Taylor suffering an injury and was replaced by Albert Serran.
Apart from a few half-chances early on, it was Dorus De Vries who was the busiest of the two goalkeepers in the first half. Reading looked threatening at every cross they sent into the box as our defence looked vulnerable particularly at set pieces. De Vries made a great save from a long range shot, having only parried the attempt, he was forced to push the ball out of play to deny an easy opportunity from the rebound.
Our reluctancy to shoot on sight became frustrating as the game went on and it got worse in the second half, especially late on when we failed to score even with an open goal.
The Swans stepped up their game in the second half and we needed to as we struggled to get our passes flowing in the opening 45 minutes.
De Vries had to make another superb save though to deny Simon Church as it looked easier to score for the Welsh international. The striker was in on goal but as he looked to slide the ball past the Dutchman, he stuck a leg out to keep out the shot.
Reading missed some excellent chances and we punished them for it on 65 minutes as Darren Pratley fired us into the lead. Rodgers' side cleverly picked out the unmarked Angel Rangel at the far post from a free-kick, the ball fell to Pratley from about 10 yards out to find the net. He raced over to celebrate in the dugout as he showed his appreciation to the manager and co.
The Swans are never great at killing teams off, and today we showed our complete lack of this ability with some shocking misses to win the game 2 or 3-0.
Reading were still in the game as they continued to threaten. Garry Monk did well to block a few shots, while the referee gave the Royals a few chances with soft free-kicks, but thankfully Ian Harte was unable to find the target from 25 yards.
Church missed yet another chance after heading over, and Matt Mills did the same with a similar chance before it.
As McDermott's side threw more men forward, we were able to hit them on the break thanks to the pace of Scott Sinclair and Nathan Dyer. Dyer messed up an opportunity to score a rare goal when the ball was cut back to him in the box, instead of shooting first time he took too many touches and didn't get a shot at goal.
We had an even better chance to make it 2-0 when the goalkeeper went up for a corner, we won the ball and broke down the left with Sinclair. With an open goal, he decided not to shoot from 40 or so yards, and again we took too long on the ball, and in the end the former Chelsea winger fired wide.
Swans: Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Garry Monk (C),Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor (Albert Serran, 28'); Joe Allen, Andrea Orlandi (Mark Gower, 23'), Darren Pratley;Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair, Stephen Dobbie (Jermaine Easter, 71').
Not Used: Yves Makabu-Makalambay (GK), Kemy Agustien, David Cotterill, Craig Beattie.
Reading: Adam Federici; Andy Griffin, Matt Mills (C), Alex Pearce, Ian Harte; Brian Howard, Jay Tabb (Noel Hunt, 80'), Jimmy Kebe, Hal Robson-Kanu (Michail Antonio, 72'); Simon Church, Shane Long
Subs: Alex McCarthy (GK), Shaun Cummings, Zurab Khizanishvili, Jem Karacan, Jake Taylor.
Attendance: 14,329 Away: 580
Referee: S A Hooper (Wiltshire)