WSM 1 Swansea 3
In front of a crowd of 485 at the Woodspring Stadium, the Swans got their first win of the pre-season with a 3-1 victory over Weston-super-mare. Kenny Jackett used the opportunity to rotate his starting-line and try some players in different positions, therefore the Swans lined-up like this:
O'Leary - Austin(c) - Watt - Williams
Britton - Boland - MacDonald
Bayo - Knight
Trialist and former Cardiff midfielder Willie Boland made his debut in the centre, and Leon Britton made a surprise return from his groin injury. With Alan Tate unavailable for the Cheltenham game, Kris O'Leary was given a chance to stake his claim for the right back slot. Lee Trundle was operating wide on the left which meant we were switching between 4-4-2 & 4-3-3 in the first half.
Britton's comeback started brightly with a few trademark jinking runs, but then with only 15 minutes gone, he was forced off with another injury. I'm not sure if it was a recurrence of the original injury or not, but he did manage to jog off the pitch so let's hope that taking him off was only a precautionary measure. Darren Pratley replaced Britton, which saw Shaun MacDonald moved to the right-flank.
Swansea created the first chance when Lee Trundle's left wing run & cross found Bayo Akinfenwa unmarked in the centre. But Bayo was always stretching as his side-foot volley was watched into the side-netting by the Weston keeper.
But just past the half-hour mark, WSM took the lead against the run of play through ex-Swan, John â€˜The Flying Postman' Williams. Tom Williams conceded a stupid foul on the left-hand side of Swansea's penalty-box, and the resultant free-kick found Williams at the back post who rose high to head home. Andy Oakes got a hand to the ball, but couldn't prevent it from crossing the line, and Swansea had conceded yet another goal from a set-piece.
Swansea tried to raise the tempo, but couldn't create a chance to equalise until the stroke of half-time. The Weston number four tried to chest a cross back to his keeper from the edge of his penalty box, but only succeeded in finding Leon Knight who made no mistake in slotting the ball home.
I spent the first half standing next to former Chelsea & Spurs midfielder Gus Poyet, now assistant at Swindon. Could he have been watching Steven Watt? I did ask him but he wouldn't say.
Jackett made two changes at half-time, with Kevin McLeod & Garry Monk replacing goal-scorer Leon Knight & Steven Watt:
O'Leary - Austin - Monk(c) - Williams
MacDonald - Pratley - Boland - McLeod
Trundle - Bayo
Swansea's two goals came in quick succession at the start of the second-half. The first came when Boland controlled a quickly taken corner on his chest, and flicked the ball in towards Bayo Akinfenwa. He found himself with his back to goal on the six-yard line, but turned cleverly to finish and gave Swansea a deserved lead. The bad news for Swansea was that Bayo picked up an injury in the process of scoring, and had to come off to be replaced by Rory Fallon.
Swansea soon doubled their advantage, when Tom Williams sent in a curling cross from the left. The ball cannoned back from the crossbar, only to find Willie Boland, who calmly controlled the ball and guided it home past the keeper.
With twenty minutes remaining, Izzy Iriekpen replaced Tom Williams which saw Kev Austin move to left-back, and Alan Tate replaced trialist Boland in midfield.
There was further cause for Swansea concern when Kevin McLeod, like Britton & Akinfenwa, had to be replaced by Leon Knight. McLeod seemed to come off worse in a 50-50 challenge, but hopefully like Britton & Akinfenwa the injury isn't too serious.
All in all, a decent performance from the Swans. Oakes had little to do again, but possibly could have done better with the goal. Kris O'Leary was solid at right-back, and will probably play there against Cheltenham if we have someone to cover for him in midfield. Tom Williams was decent going forward, but once again conceded a stupid foul leading up to the goal. The centre-backs weren't really tested, but we still need to learn how to defend set pieces. Trundle looked uncomfortable on the left, but Shaun MacDonald was full of energy on the right, and is starting to look as if he'll be an important part of the first team next year. Pratley did well again, Boland did nothing wrong, set-up a goal & scored one, but didn't really stand out.
Not quite as good a performance as against Wolves, but a decent display, and we're definitely moving in the right direction.
Thanks to Murton_Jack for the report and photos.>View Match Highlights here
Francis4356's view, taken from the forumOn Boland:"Boland played, and played well. A controlling influence in midfield, always seemed to be available to receive, and gave short passes linking well with all around him. He has an eye for an early pass that keeps the momentum going in a passing movement. Not especially eye catching just simple good quality link play. Closed down well and stayed on his feet, altho' I wouldn't consider him a tackler."
Oakes didn't have a lot to do but his kicking from hand and off the floor finds his teammates well.
Watt had a very good first half, before being rested after half time. Strong and won every header even directing headers out like passes to his team mates. Got in front of his striker to intercept and distributed well.
KOL composed and solid at right back, Austin his usual solid uncomplicated self.
Williams looks very quick and had licence to roam leaving us 3 at the back at times. He puts in a hell of a cross, and links well with Macca, who also played well and put in a number of great crosses.
Leon B looked good before coming off.
McDonald worked his socks off and for an hour was my pick of the bunch.
Bayo and Trunds look like they've lost several pounds each and for the 1st half at least put in a lot of energy.
nighty looks good altho' I still wish he moved to the ball sometimes rather than wait for it to arrive.
Of the subs Tatey looked comfortable in a midfield role, and Fallon lead well.
The only sourish note is the body language between Fallon and Trundle when paired as a twosome. They don't look at each other or talk or seem too keen to play each other in and if a pass from one to the other is misplaced they just turn their backs and walk away."
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