Date:Saturday April 9 2011
9th April 2011
Swansea City gave their promotion hopes a major boost this afternoon thanks to an impressive 3-0 victory at home against an in-form Norwich City side.
Fabo Borini helped us on our way, scoring a fine opening goal from a free kick before Mark Gower doubled our lead with an equally good strike from outside the penalty area.
Norwich City piled the pressure on in the second half as they looked for an equaliser but the Swans defended well and held on thanks to goalkeeper Dorus de Vries, before Tamas Priskin scored a very late goal on the counter attack to seal the win.
Swansea City knew coming up to this game that anything less than 3 points would make automatic promotion extremely difficult as Norwich were 4 clear of us before today's 5.20pm kick off.
Brendan Rodgers was boosted with the returns of Angel Rangel and Stephen Dobbie - who both missed last weekend's disappointing defeat away at Preston North End, as Alan Tate and Darren Pratley were dropped to the bench.
Paul Lambert's team were on fine form coming into this game, having not lost in the previous 9 and they were in confident mood from kick off. Not many teams come to the Liberty Stadium and enjoy more possession, but despite the stats suggesting the Swans had 53% of the ball, the Canaries enjoyed long spells when they put our defence under pressure.
The game got off to a high tempo start, and it was Norwich creating the better openings early on, and de Vries was called into action after just a few minutes - making a superb double save to keep the scores level. Pacheho's effort was palmed away but it fell nicely to their top scorer Grant Holt, but he saw his shot also saved by the in-form dutch keeper.
After a bright start from the visitors, a clumsy and needless tackle on Fabio Borini gave the Italian the opportunity to fire at goal from 25 yards. Borini's technique was very similar to Didier Drogba's as the youngster struck the ball with the inside of his foot, placing it into the top corner with enough pace to see it fly past the diving goalkeeper and into the back of the net. A super goal from a super player and the atmosphere and noise level went up another notch after good vocal support from both sets of fans before kick off.
The Canaries looked for a quick response after Borini's goal after just 5 minutes and Grant Holt was causing the Swans the most problems, but he couldn't the target with some good opportunities in front of goal.
Further chances went begging and they were punished for these as Swansea City doubled their lead after 29 minutes thanks to an unstoppable strike from Mark Gower. The midfielder doesn't score goals often but his goal today, followed by an excellent celebration was simply superb. The ball came back out from the box to Gower who was waiting just outside the penalty area. He only had one thing on his mind as the ball was set up nicely for him to fire the ball into the bottom corner with a powerful half volley shot that the goalkeeper could do nothing about.
Nathan Dyer, who was having a rather quiet game compared to his usual standards at home, created a chance for Borini through on goal but he was denied by a good intervention from Ruddy.
It was end to end stuff for most of the first half. Angel Rangel did well to go on a good run before having a shot saved, while at the other end Norwich City were getting the ball into good areas but the defence remained strong enough to go into half time still leading 2-0.
Paul Lambert brought on Jackson for Surman at the start of the second half as he looked to give his side more attacking support as they looked to get back into the game.
Despite being 2 goals in the lead, the game was far from won for the Swans as Norwich City showed plenty of potential and quality that suggested they could definitely get a goal or 2 at least.
The second half saw the Canaries dominate large periods, as the Swans had to make full use of the ball whenever they got it. We were backing off them in our own which invited them to attack the final third, while our defensive clearances were often gifting them back possession.
Dorus De Vries was called into more action, and had to make another double save to deny the visitors what looked like a certain goal to boost their chances of getting something from the game.
As Norwich threw more men forward, Swansea City were able to counter attack on a few occasions, as they won a few corners to try and kill the game off with a third goal.
It didn't look like it was going to come, as we headed into a very nervous ending to the game, as we all know about Norwich's knack of scoring late goals.
Loanee Tamas Priskin then came on to a chorus of boos from the Norwich City - for playing for their rivals Ipswich Town. The new signing didn't do a great deal when he first came on but his late goal deep into injury time was excellent. The defence cleared yet another Norwich City attack and the ball fell to the 24 year old on the half way line. He turned his marker and raced towards goal. Nobody was back for Norwich to defend, he beat the onrushing goalkeeper before easily passing the ball into an empty net to make it 3-0.
It has to be said, 3-0 flattered us. It wasn't our best performance as Norwich had a lot of the play, and they showed why they were in 2nd place and one of the most in-form sides in the Championship. But, like we've experienced in too many games this season, the opposition didn't take their chances, and they had enough clear cut opportunities to get at least a draw today. Thankfully for us, we remained disciplined and organised at the back, and had de Vries to thank for helping us to maintain a clean sheet.
Player ratings, photos and video clips to follow.
Date:Saturday April 9 2011
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