Swansea 2 Crewe 1
Under the floodlights Swansea City hosted Crewe in the second night match at the Liberty Stadium this season.
After the dismal performance against Huddersfield on Saturday, Swansea city fielded a different looking side with Andy Oakes finally getting the nod ahead of a much-beleaguered Willy Gueret.
There were changes afoot on the Swansea bench with Chris Jones called up for the game. There were major injury concerns for the Swans with Kevin Amankwaah only fit to make the bench and Lee Trundle and Bayo Akinfenwa missing from first team duty.
Crewe also had their fitness concerns Jon Otsemobor, Rodney Jack and Michael O'Connor were ruled out due to injury. There was a huge disappointment with only 10.031 fans turning out to watch the game - the lowest gate since we moved to the Liberty Stadium; this was a partial reaction to the Huddersfield loss.
Crewe were only one place below the Swans preceding this game, so this was always going to be a tightly fought match.
Swansea started at a high tempo with the flanks providing the early outlets for Swansea Attacks. Swansea looked to create the opening chances however the visitors opened up the Swansea defense with Luke Varney taking possession and unleashing a shot that sailed off target. Crewe built on this early pressure and had a few more chances to put the visitors ahead.
This chance fell to the same man in Luke Varney who looked sharp in the initial passages of play. Varney from 25 yards out unleashed a shot as a by-product of a knock on from Maynard.
Swansea started to gain possession in midfield due to some very good work from Darren Way and Darren Pratley. As Swansea surged forward a good cross came into the box and Rory Fallon used his strength and headed the ball goal ward beating Williams in the Crewe goal only to be denied by the woodwork.
Andy Robinson then picked up the ball and surged forward unleashing a shot and from about 15 yards out saw his effort punched clear by Williams in the Crewe goal. Williams was certainly asserting himself with some good saves. The Opener came in the 23rd minute from a wonderful pass by Leon Knight which Rory Fallon used his aerial presence, first controlled the ball on his chest and then to bring it down to volley superbly beating Williams completely.
Rory Fallon was a threat all game and this would have done no end of good for his confidence. Swansea were caught on the break and Maynard opened up the Swansea defense and used his pace to get past Iriekpen and was one on one with Andy Oakes. Maynard surged into the box and was felled by Oakes a clear penalty. There was much controversy, as it seemed that Mr Taylor had played advantage to Crewe only to bring back play and award a penalty to the visitors.
Much to the protestations of the Swansea players, from the penalty spot Gary Roberts equalized for Crewe. Alexandra at this point were gaining in confidence and surged forward to get their second as Gary Roberts surged into the box and got a powerful shot off, Oakes at full stretch parried his shot. Half time score 1-1.
Swansea was looking to start the second half in the shape of the start of the first with a high tempo. The Initial staged of the Second Half proved fruitful for the Swans as Swansea secured two good free kick opportunities but wasted them more by the haste to get the second goal.
After a period of persistent play, Swansea pulling Crewe players out of position. Tate's cross field ball to Williams who surged forward to just outside the box created enough space for a beautifully paced and accurate cross met by Rory Fallon who headed the ball straight at the feet of Leon Knight who dully put it coolly into the Crewe Net.
This goal was well worked from the Swans and under pressure Knight did well to score. Darren Way looked odds on to score the third, but again the Swans were denied by the woodwork.
Way was immense all game and his consistency will be vital in the next two matches. Williams had the run of the game when he picked up the ball well within his own half surged forward into the Crewe half beating a few Crewe defenders and getting a shot off which was only inches wide.
This certainly was Tommy's best performance in a Swansea shirt and really was a sign of what he is truly capable off. Crewe substituted in favor of two strikers in Lowe and Rodgers in pursuit of an equalizer. They continued to press but Lawrence and Iriekpen were aided by a much-improved Williams and Alan Tate who dealt with the Crewe threat.
Swansea kept their foot on the accelerator and looked to finish the game off. They kept their cool and played it into the corners for the last 5 minutes looking to run down the clock. Mr Taylor blew time on a good Swansea performance and I think it's safe to say I think the Side looked much more balanced and Andy Oakes has taken his chance well and should start against forest.
A well earned win for the Swans, we were the dominant side a good home win now let's build on this. On a side note Kenny Jackett has a temporary reprieve the forest and rovers games should tell us where Mr Jackett's future might be. An improvement but much more needs to be done.
Match Report thanks to Lisa Higgins (sbrjack)
Swansea: Oakes, Tate, Iriekpen, Lawrence, Williams, Britton, Pratley, Robinson, Way, Fallon, Knight.
Subs Not Used: Gueret, Amankwaah, Tudur-Jones, Jones, MacDonald.
Booked: Oakes, Britton.
Goals: Fallon 24, Knight 53.
Crewe: Williams, Baudet, Cox (Rodgers 85), O'Donnell (Lowe 66), Jones, Roberts, Vaughan, Rix, Moss, Varney, Maynard.
Subs Not Used: Tomlinson, Higdon, Kempson.
Booked: Jones, Baudet.
Goals: Roberts 32 pen.
Rate the players here
"I just had a gut feeling to hit it - and it flew in.
"Strikers are always under pressure to find the back of the net - and I'm no different. There's healthy competition at the club with Trunds (Lee Trundle) pushing Leon Knight and Bayo (Adebayo Akinfenwa) pushing me.''
"The gaffer kept my confidence up when I was not in the side,'' added Fallon. "It made it extra special tonight getting the goal and the win for him and the fans.
"We needed to give the fans something to shout about after our last two performances - and I think we did that.''
"It was a good performance and I'm delighted with the result. It was a good game of football and we were more like ourselves.
"Now it's my job to keep it going - starting at Nottingham Forest on Saturday and then when Tranmere visit the Liberty Stadium the following Friday.
"They will be tough tests against the division's top two sides, but I know what my team is capable of. We've proved it in the past and we've got to keep proving it.
"I've just got a burning desire to start climbing the table because we need to be near the top of the league.
"Don't underestimate Crewe. They have some good footballers and are a good team.
"But if we keep playing like we did last night and keep repeating the performance the fans will keep on cheering.
"We have been up and down lately and must now show some consistency."
"We looked dangerous in the first half, but we fizzled out after half-time,"
"The full-backs didn't have the energy, and in midfield we weren't as we have been, but Ben Rix didn't let us down. He can be pleased with his performance. Considering Darren hasn't played for ages, he did all right, too."
"The biggest problem was their centre-half, Dennis Lawrence, who headed a million balls and we just fed him all night, which is not how we play," said Gradi. "He was an "eight foot" centre-half and we didn't win a header.
"With better finishing we'd have been in front, but Luke needs a lot of chances to score and Nicky didn't have a chance all night, so we have got to try to improve his all-round game."
"Their front pairing (Knight and Fallon) were a lot more dangerous than ours.
"I'd have taken all their players (in my team) as they played well and dominated the game. They passed the ball across the field to their full-backs very well and they had obviously done their homework.
"We didn't look like creating a chance in the second half and that would worry me. Even at the end we were humping balls up to their centre-half."