Date:Monday December 12 2011
10th December 2011
Swansea City bounced back and ended a 4-game winless run with a 2-0 home win against Fulham.
After a boring and uneventful first half that saw few clear cut chances on goal, the second half was full of action. Sinclair's deflected shot off Dempsey broke the deadlock before Fulham burst into life, forcing Vorm into a run of excellent of saves before leaving his best until last, denying Dempsey late on from the penalty spot.
Swansea City manager Brendan Rodgers decided he needed to 'freshen things up' in terms of his starting line-up, and there were three changes to the team that lost 4-2 at Blackburn Rovers last Saturday.
Steven Caulker was back after a long-term knee injury to replace skipper Garry Monk, whilst there was a surprise omission on the right wing as Nathan Dyer was dropped in favour of Wayne Routledge. With Joe Allen serving a one-match ban after his two bookings last weekend, Luke Moore came in to play an attacking role behind Leroy Lita.
Luke Moore had Swansea's first decent chance as they dominated the opening 45 minutes, despite creating little on goal. The former West Brom striker received the ball from Sinclair and fired an effort from 25 yards that clipped the top of the crossbar.
It was then Sinclair who had our next chance, he did to break free into some space down the left side of the penalty area, but his low left-footed strike was always going to be a comfortable save for the Fulham goalkeeper.
The Swans enjoyed a lot of the ball in the middle third, doing what they do best - keeping hold out of it and forcing the opposition to chase for most of the half. But Fulham were an organised outfit, and were able to make it difficult for us to utilise our wide men - something that is key to our attacking play.
The home side had to pick up the pace in the second half, and that's what Swansea did, although they had a bit of luck to score the opening goal after 56 minutes. Gower's corner fell to Sinclair, and the winger did well to swivel and get a shot at goal from around 12 yards. Dempsey's attempted block redirected the ball into the net as Schwartz looked to have had it covered. It doesn't matter how they go in though, and the goal was credited to Sinclair, who was desperately looking for his first of the season from open play.
The goal saw a big reaction from Fulham, as they looked to put the scores level moments later. Dempsey tried to make amends following his deflection, as he put Ruiz through on goal. The Swans defence lost their shape, with Richards committing himself to a tackle he failed to make leaving space out on their left. Thankfully though, Vorm was on top form, pulling off one of a few top saves he made in the second period.
With Fulham putting pressure on the hosts for the first time in the game, Rodgers made a change to add more strength in the centre. Kemy Agustien made his first appearance in a few months to replace Luke Moore. Within seconds of coming on, he almost doubled our lead. Sinclair went on a run down the left, followed by half a dozen stepovers before pulling the ball back to Agustien. The Dutchman went for placement over power and he beat the keeper, but his shot hit the outside of the post.
After almost scoring, Agustien then almost turned to provider to setup fellow substitute Danny Graham. The striker waited on the shoulder of the last defender for Agustien's through pass, but as he received it he drifted wide, forcing him to cut inside and beat a defender. His left footed shot was saved and Gower couldn't hit the target with an attempted overhead kick.
The Swans were creating better chances to kill the game off, but you felt that they could be punished for missed opportunities.
If it wasn't for Vorm, they would have been. Frei cut inside from the left, beat Routledge before skipping past Richards inside the box. It looked like a well executed dive on first viewing, and on second viewing it looked like the Fulham player had simply ran into Jazz, leaving him rather helpless in trying to avoid making contact. However, with the referee's poor performance, it was no surprise to see him give it. I've seen them given but it did appear to be harsh on the young Welshman to concede that spot kick so late in the game.
Dempsey's day went from bad to worse. He might have been put off by Vorm's long wait, which saw him get booked, but his decent low strike was well palmed away by the Dutch 'penalty killer'.
Moments later, the Swans put the game beyond doubt as Graham converted Gower's loss corner kick at the near post to give us all three points.
It was a much needed win for Rodgers' side. Some players, including Vorm and Graham said before and after the game that it was one they had to win to relieve some of the pressure that has mounted recently after no wins in the last four.
The three points against a solid Fulham side sees us go back up to 11th place. We now look forward to a tough trip to Newcastle United next Saturday.
Swansea: Michel Vorm, Jazz Richards, Steven Caulker, Ashley Williams (capt), Neil Taylor, Leon Britton, Mark Gower, Luke Moore (Kemy Agustien, 69), Wayne Routledge (Nathan Dyer, 89), Scott Sinclair, Leroy Lita (Danny Graham, 76).
Subs: Gerhard Tremmel, Fede Bessone, Garry Monk, Stephen Dobbie.
Fulham: Mark Schwarzer, Stephen Kelly, John Arne Riise, Brede Hangeland (capt), Andrew Johnson, Bryan Ruiz, Philippe Senderos, Dickson Etuhu, Clint Dempsey, Simon Davies (Orlando Sa, 79), Moussa Dembele (Karim Frei, 78).
Subs: Neil Etheridge, Marcel Gecov, Bjorn Helge Riise, Aaron Hughes, Matthew Briggs.
Referee: J. Moss
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Date:Monday December 12 2011
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