Report - Southampton 1-1 Swansea City
St Mary's Stadium
10th November 2012
Swansea City had to show their desire and character again to claim a point at strugglers Southampton.
Super-sub Nathan Dyer came on to score an equaliser less than ten minutes after Morgan Schneiderlin put the Saints in front with a cleverly headed goal.
Michael Laudrup named an unchanged side to the one that got a point against Chelsea last week as defender Chico Flores was unable to recover from a dead leg he picked up in the League Cup win at Liverpool.
The Swansea City manager was expecting to face a hard-working Saints side who were in much need of a win to relieve some of the pressure on manager Nigel Adkins. The board may be getting inpatient with a lack of results but the Southampton boss can be rest assured that he has the fans' support at least, as they showed it throughout with banners for the man that's got them back up into the English top flight.
Both sides looked to play the game on the deck from the first whistle but it was the Swans that enjoyed the opening 15 minutes. They sprayed the ball around with ease in the middle third as Southampton struggled to win the ball. It looked like it could have been a long afternoon for the Saints at St Mary's but when they got their first effort on goal, the momentum instantly shifted in favour of the home side. After Tremmel made a decent save from a low shot from distance, further shots came flying in but most went harmlessly over the bar.
Swansea's only real chance of the half came when Ki showed a lovely bit of skill to get the ball onto his left foot before unleashing a fine effort that was well saved at the near post.
The half time whistle blew and the Saints would have been encouraged with the first 45 minutes after overcoming a bright start from the visitors.
Southampton had worked well in the first half to limit the threat of Swansea's wide play and lone striker Michu. The club's top scorer was barely involved and things didn't change in the second 45 either.
The hosts looked to build on the confidence they had built from the first half performance, but they almost shot that to pieces when Swansea's two wingers almost created the opening goal. Hernandez cut the ball back to Routledge, but from the edge of the area he fired the ball just a yard over the bar.
That was Swansea's best chance for a long time as Adkins' piled on more pressure in their search for an opening goal to take the lead.
Luck wasn't on their side with the official's decisions though as they 3 or 4 shouts for a penalty ignored. Possibly one might have been given by a Premier League referee, as Ashley Williams looked to have shoved a player to the floor, but it probably wasn't enough to warrant a spot kick. The referee also handed out a booking for a dive in another unsuccessful penalty claim.
The home crowd must have felt hard done by with some of the decisions in Swansea's penalty area but they scored a fine goal after 64 minutes. Lambert headed a long ball across the face of the penalty box towards Schneiderlin. He did brilliantly to chest it on past Monk before heading it again and finding the net.
The Saints' were rewarded for their added pressure and chances in the second half as Swansea City showed signs of fatigue and lack of attacking creativity as they were still unable to find a way of getting Michu into good shooting positions.
Nathan Dyer replaced Wayne Routledge 8 minutes prior to the opening goal, while Shechter was brought on two minutes after it. Southampton showed just why they were struggling at the foot of the Premier League, as it wasn't the first time this season that they've made errors at the back that's cost them vital points.
Dyer's finishing ability has come on brilliantly in the last year or so and maybe when we were still in the Championship he wouldn't have found the net with the one chance he took today. A defensive error allowed the winger to steal the ball and race forward towards goal. He kept his head down to drive a low shot past the goalkeeper which found the net off the far post.
He limited his celebrations having scored against the club he began his career at when he was just 8 years of age.
With the Swans happy enough to leave Southampton with a point no doubt, the home side looked to regain the lead and the visitors found themselves lucky that they did indeed leave with a share of the points. Lambert saw a glancing header go just wide of the far post before Garry Monk was the next visiting defender to be involved in almost conceding a penalty. He blocked a player as he looked to run past him just inside the box but the referee allowed play to continue.
Swansea City failed to perform as well as they have done against the bigger sides recently, and they'll be pleased with a point on their travels. However, they were fortunate with some of the penalty claims and against better opposition they may well have lost it.