Report - Swansea City 1-1 Watford
8th March 2011
Former Swansea City target Danny Graham denied Brendan Rodgers' side a victory against Watford on Tuesday night as the striker netted on 78 minutes to cancel out Stephen Dobbie's first half opener.
The Swans have now dropped 5 points in the last 2 games as they've missed two opportunities now to pick up points to extend the lead from their promotional rivals below them as thankfully we stay in 2nd place on goal difference.
Rodgers made two changes to the team that lost 1-0 at Scunthorpe United on Saturday, as he went back with the side that beat Leeds 3-0 the week before. Stephen Dobbie returned to his attacking midfield role in place of Leon Britton and Craig Beattie made way for Luke Moore.
The Swans were looking to bounce back from Saturday's setback at Glanford Park and considering our recent form, we were in confident mood at home and would have fancied our chances of getting 3 points against Rodgers' former club.
We started brightly in front of 14,400 fans at the Liberty Stadium. The Swans were enjoying a lot of possession and had a flurry of quick corners early on to please the home fans.
Mark Gower was orchestrating a lot of our attacking play, spraying the ball wide to the wingers, whilst Joe Allen was also slick with his passing and helped us to get forward at every opportunity.
Nathan Dyer was having a lot of the ball down the right flank but Scott Sinclair wasn't involved quite as much on the opposite side. His partnership with left back Neil Taylor was particularly working well. Sinclair was dropping deep to receive the ball, but he's much more of a threat when he's running onto through balls played down the wing.
Watford were doing a lot of chasing in the opening 20 minutes or so, but they were closing down well and they created a couple of chances on the break. De Vries was forced into a save from a long range effort, while top scorer Danny Graham failed to hit the target.
Swansea broke the deadlock just before the half-hour mark, as after our patient build-up play we finally found a clear opening. Mark Gower created the pass through for Dobbie to finish well past the goalkeeper.
The hosts were looking to play the rest of the half out but Watford created a good opportunity before the break when Dorus de Vries was forced to make a great save near the byeline to keep out Will Buckley's shot.
Scott Sinclair had our last chance of the half when he curled a decent effort just wide of the far post, while Watford went close again as they looked to get the scores level. Danny Graham, who we were giving far too much space in the opening 45 minutes, broke through the defence despite looking to be offside, but de Vries again did well to keep his shot out.
HALF TIME: SWANSEA CITY 1-0 WATFORD
Swansea City needed to produce more of the same in the first half and look for that second goal to kill the game off, but Rodgers' side struggled any clear cut chances in the remaining 45 minutes.
Stephen Dobbie and Nathan Dyer fired off target but that's as good as it got for us as the visiting goalkeeper had nothing to do.
Watford knew that they had to limit our threat and make it difficult for our main attackers, and as a result Nathan Dyer, Scott Sinclair and Stephen Dobbie found it difficult to cause problems for the Hornets' back four.
Despite Mackay's side constantly throwing forward their big number 5 defender for extra aerial threat, the Swans were unable to benefit on the counter attack with one of their centre backs out of position.
The 1-0 scoreline was still looking pretty comfortable around the hour mark and the home fans were creating an upbeat atmosphere with help of a drum, and singing songs we've never heard at the Liberty Stadium before - particularly Depeche Mode's "I Just Can't Get Enough". "Attack, Attack" repeated was far more appropriate though as we really needed to start getting into good positions inside the penalty area but we just weren't doing it. Mark Gower wasn't as instrumental with his range of passing as he was in the first half, and I think we needed someone like Darren Pratley to give us that boost and forward momentum that we really needed.
It was quite a surprise really to see no movement on the Swansea bench as it was clear that it wasn't working for us in the second half. Moore was anonymous, Dobbe was linking up with the striker and the wingers weren't threatening.
We were punished for a lack of creativity and clear chances with just 12 minutes to go when Danny Graham found the net courtesy of poor defending. The League's top scorer was given far too much space to net in front of goal as Alan Tate failed to do his duties and was caught out at the back. Deeney provided the assist for Graham to finish.
It was a massive blow for the Swans as we really needed the 3 points to give our promotion push a boost and to recover from Saturday's disappointing defeat at Scunthorpe.
We had plenty of the ball for the remaining 12 minutes and injury time but we were still unable to create anything or get close to getting into a goalscoring position.
Our only chance came right at the end when Alan Tate, trying to redeem himself, tried his luck from 25 yards but he saw a good effort go just wide of the post.
A game of two halves. The first where us fans could admire our typical stylish passing football. The second though, was frustrating to say the least, not only because we conceded a poor equaliser late on but we showed little attacking quality to try and get that second goal that would surely have got us 3 points.
Swansea: Dorus de Vries, Angel Rangel, Alan Tate (c),Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Joe Allen, Mark Gower,Stephen Dobbie, Scott Sinclair, Luke Moore, Nathan Dyer.
Subs: Yves Ma-Kalambay, Darren Pratley, Albert Serran,Cedric van der Gun, Craig Beattie, Jazz Richards, Leon Britton.
Watford: Scott Loach, Lee Hodson, John Eustace (c), Martin Taylor, Adrain Mariappa, Don Cowie, Troy Deeney, Danny Graham, Will Buckley, Ross Jenkins, Dale Bennett.
Subs: Rene Gilmartin, Marvin Sordell, Andy Weimann, Piero Mingoia, Matty Wichelow, Adam Thompson, Chez Isaac.
Ref: L Mason