WE'RE GOING TO WEMBLEY!
16th May 2011
An exhilarating and pulsating match at the Liberty Stadium last night saw Swansea City book a place in the Wembley Stadium Play-Off final, thanks to goals from Leon Britton, Stephen Dobbie and a half way line stunning strike from Darren Pratley in the 90th minute to give the game it's fantastic climax.
Brendan Rodgers' side had given themselves a massive chance at making the final on May 30th before the game when they held Nottingham Forest to a 0-0 draw at the City Ground last Thursday, despite having 10 men for 89 minutes.
The atmosphere throughout the game was absolutely electric, and it only got better and better as the goals started to fly in for the Swans in the first half. Leon Britton, not famous for scoring, turned outside the box, and curled in a stunning strike with his weaker left foot that left goalkeeper Lee Camp flat footed. Stephen Dobbie followed with an equally excellent individual effort to give us a 2-goal lead at half time.
Rodgers was forced into one change to the team that drew the first leg 0-0. Neil Taylor, sent off within the first 2 minutes, serves a three match ban so in came Alan Tate at left back.
The woodwork saw plenty of action throughout the game, fortunately it saved us on numerous occasions as McGoldrick was the first to see an attempt hit the bar after he was setup inside the box by Tyson's squared pass.
Alan Tate, who could count himself lucky for not conceding a penalty in the first leg for handball, was quite lucky again as the referee ignored penalty claims after he was tugging on a Forest player's shirt.
Fabio Borini was next to see a shot hit the bar, as he cut inside before his effort was deflected onto the woodwork.
The Swans were dominating possession but Nottingham Forest were still able to threaten Dorus de Vries' goal.
The travelling Forest fans were stunned and silenced though by Leon Britton's opening strike. The little man was allowed to turn to face goal far too easily and he had the time and space to curl home a shot into the corner of the net.
Dobbie then doubled our lead just minutes later to send the Swans fans absolutely delirious once more. The Scot did brilliantly to make his way through and past a few defenders, then changing direction, he placed a great shot past Camp from just outside the area.
Despite being 2-0 up, this game was far from over. Forest started the first leg off too slowly and it was the same today, but you just knew they'd never give up and would come out fighting for a comeback in the second half. That's exactly what happened, as they created more chances but saw more of them come back off the posts.
McGugan had a superb opportunity to get the first of 2 goals they needed to force the game into extra time. Garry Monk fouled a player just a yard outside the box, and McGugan fired a pacey shot that shook the bar.
The Swans looked sharp and confident in possession in the first half but they were struggling after the break, as Forest stepped up the pace and put a lot more pressure on us.
The hosts could have eased the pressure and guaranteed a place in the final as substitute Darren Pratley missed a great chance, with a free header right in front of goal.
Former Cardiff City striker Robert Earnshaw then came on and made a big impact, as Forest still looked to start a late comeback. They very nearly did as the Welsh international let a long ball run along side him, and with his pace he got the better of Ashley Williams before a fierce first time strike saw the ball beat de Vries at his near post. It was an excellent finish to create a nervous ending to what was an unbelievable game.
Earnshaw almost single-handedly got Forest back on level terms as he saw a lot drive across goal hit the post and thankfully away to safety.
Another penalty appeal for Forest was turned down by the referee when Ashley Williams blocked the ball with his hand, but there was nothing much the defender could do to avoid the contact.
The drama and excitement was far from over yet as Darren Pratley settled things in the 90th minute and to end the visitor's hopes of 30 minutes extra time. Goalkeeper Lee Camp went forward for a corner kick but it was punched out by de Vries and this gave Pratley the chance to race towards an empty goal, curling a long ball up from just behind the half way line that rolled into the middle of the net. An amazing and fantastic way to seal a thrilling game between two excellent sides.
KEEP SAYING IT, WE ARE GOING TO WEMBLEY!