Friendly Report - Port Talbot 1-3 Swansea City
16th July 2011, 3pm
After a rather disappointing start to pre-season at Neath, losing 1-0, the Swans were back to winning ways a few hours later as they comfortably beat Port Talbot 3-1 at the GenQuip Stadium.
Vital Swansea missed the first match at the Gnoll at 12pm but we were in Port Talbot for the second kick off of the day at 3.
The second match gave Swansea City fans the opportunity to see new goalkeeper Jose Moreira in action, but the major talking point was the big return of midfielder Ferrie Bodde.
Swansea City (first-half): Jose Moreira, Angel Rangel, Neil Taylor, Alan Tate, Josh Pike, Ferrie Bodde (Jordan Smith, 14), David Cotterill, Joe Allen, Craig Beattie, Lee Lucas,Casey Thomas.
Port Talbot: Kristian Rogers, Leigh de-Vulgt, Paul Keddle, Gareth Phillips, Kai Edwards, James Bloom, Lee John, Matthew Thompson, Martin Rose, Dylan Blain, Richard Evans.
The Jack Army faithful showed off their colours with their shirts and big black and white flags on a sunny afternoon. They didn't have long to wait to see Ferrie Bodde's quality and excellent passing ability. He doesn't seem like he's lost his touch at all because after just 11 minutes, he picked out Craig Beattie with an excellent ball up to the Scot, and he had the simple task of putting the ball past the goalkeeper to break the deadlock.
Bodde left the field three minutes later though, and the many Swans fans in attendance feared the worst as he walked off with what appeared to be a hamstring strain. Luckily for everyone, he only intended playing 20 minutes anyway, and he went off just as a precaution after having double training sessions recently. Youngster Jordan Smith came on to replace him.
Casey Thomas was looking lively down the right wing as he saw a lot of the ball in the early stages as the Swans dominated and dictated the game.
Lee Lucas then went very close to adding a second. The ball came out to him on the edge of the box and he struck it sweetly on the volley but it hit the outside of the post.
Craig Beattie found the net for a second time but his effort was ruled out for offside, much to his annoyance.
You can never judge the team too much in these early friendly matches. With respect to Port Talbot and Neath, they're far below the quality we'll be facing next season, and not only that, the squad have only recently returned to training so they were bound to be lacking some fitness and sharpness.
Jose Moreira was mainly a spectator during the 45 minutes he played. He watched a header harmlessly go over his bar, he caught another one and the only other thing he had to do was a punch away a cross from the left wing.
Angel Rangel then scored Swansea City's second goal after good build up play involving Beattie, which rounded off a dominated 45 minutes for Rodgers' side.
The Swans made a number of changes for the second half, as Brendan Rodgers decided to field mostly youth players. David Cornell replaced Moreira in between the sticks, whilst Shaun MacDonald featured in the centre of midfield. The 22 year-old showed some neat touches and was the main man creating things in front of goal.
The game became more competitive in the second half, as Port Talbot were now able to threaten more against a very youthful Swansea side.
The hosts got the scores back to 2-1 after a defensive mix up. A ball came across the face of goal and it was deflected into the net, giving Cornell absolutely no chance. It has to be said Cornell was very vocal throughout the second half, which is you what you need from a goalkeeper. Always providing the option of a pass back to the young defenders in front of him. But he wanted the ball a bit too often, as there were no need of pass-backs when defenders were running the ball into the opposition's half!
After the own goal that made it only 2-1, you did think maybe Port Talbot could at least draw the game but the majority of the game was now going to be played in the middle of the park, with clear-cut chances few and far between. The home side's hopes of getting a draw were all but over really when Kurtis March's excellent finish saw us restore our 2-goal advantage on the hour mark.
Special mentions today have to go to Jordan Smith in midfield who looked confident and comfortable on the ball. Kurtis March finished his goal off very well, which received a good reaction from the crowd.
Although it is early days and only a friendly, I still have doubts about Beattie and if he can offer us anything good next year, he doesn't look good enough for the Premier League. He's too slow and defenders should have a hard time denying him goals.
David Cotterill also didn't do a lot to prove his worth and I can't see where he'll fit into Rodgers' plans for next season.