Swans 2 Northampton 1
24th March 2007
Roberto Martinez keeps his unbeaten run as Swansea manager going as his side came from behind to beat Northampton 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
The Spaniard kept the same side that beat Chesterfield 2-0 as new loan signing Darryl Duffy had to be content with a place on the bench.
The Swans went a goal down after just six minutes when Craney conceded a free-kick about 30 yards out. Johnson unleashed a fierce drive into the top corner leaving Gueret flat-footed.
We were hardly in the game at this point as we found it difficult to break down a Northampton side who outnumbered us when going forward. Butler was lively on the right but sometimes I felt he was coming up far too deep when Amankwaah should have been supporting him in the attack.
We finally forced their keeper into making his first save of the game when Butler`s low shot was well palmed away for a corner.
We slowly started to get into the game a little and despite dominating possession since the goal, we weren`t creating anything in front of goal.
With 5 minutes remaining of the first half, we had a penalty appeal turned down. Butler sent in a low cross from the right and Abbott was pushed by Alex Pearce as he attacked the ball.
The fourth official indicated 3 minutes of extra time to be played and while it looked as if we were going to go into the dressing room a goal down, Dennis Lawrence popped up with a surprise goal. Alan Tate tried his luck from 25 yards out; Lawrence picked up the ball and slotted it home well from 12 yards out, his fifth of the season.
That goal gave us a huge boost as we came out with a huge increase in confidence. Within the first minute after the restart, we went ahead. Butler raced clear on the right wing, and with acres of space he crossed the ball in and Robinson was at the far post to slot the ball home from close range.
We looked a totally different side in the second half than in the first. We were creating far more space when going forward while chances were few and far between in the first 45 minutes.
Just moments after our second goal though, Northampton really should have scored the equaliser as Johnson`s shot struck the crossbar.
Butler was continually causing problems on the right wing and he nearly scored but he blazed his over the bar.
Our defence were still being tested though as the Cobblers had another great opportunity to score. Gueret had been looking dodgy in the air throughout the game; he completely failed to deal with a cross and the ball fell to Kenny Deuchar but Iriekpen did brilliantly to block his shot on the line.
The game was far from won at this stage as Stuart Gray`s side were missing some glorious chances to score an equaliser.
Our central midfielders were lacking attacking creativity throughout the game as Tate and Craney were particularly anonymous when we were going forward. Martinez decided to throw on Kristian O`Leary in replacement of the injured Kevin Amankwaah.
We were giving Northampton far too much room to play in midfield as the Swans` boss was continually indicating his midfield to push up and close down the opposition.
It was good to see Martinez bringing on new loan striker Darryl Duffy on 67 minutes rather than being content to defend our lead as the Cobblers were certainly showing they were capable of getting the equaliser. 10 minutes later, we used up all our subs as Williams replaced Andy Robinson.
Craney nearly put the game beyond any doubt with a fierce shot that was well saved by their keeper, while Iriekpen also thought he done the same but his attempt was cleared off the line.
There were four minutes of injury to be played as Northampton continued to throw men forward to get a point from the game. Luckily we hung on for another 3 points which takes us a place to 7th.
Again, it wasn`t the best performance by far but we did brilliantly to come back from a goal down and we defended well enough to hang on for the win. I have to add though that we were rather poor to begin with. We seemed to play too tightly and close together whereas we had a lot more freedom and space to play with in the second half.
Butler was impressive on the right but Gueret on the other hand was very poor. I think he made just one successful catch all day and he looked very suspect when the opposition were putting balls into the box.
Swansea: Gueret, Amankwaah (O'Leary 64), Tate, Iriekpen, Lawrence, Britton, Painter, Butler (Williams 77), Craney, Abbott, Robinson (Darryl Duffy 67).
Subs Not Used: Oakes, Jones.
Goals: Lawrence 45, Robinson 46.
b>Northampton: Bunn, Crowe (Cox 59), Holt, Hughes, Doig, Hunt (Aiston 73), Bradley Johnson, Pearce, Gilligan, Deuchar, Robertson (Kirk 46).
Subs Not Used: Dunn, Taylor.
Booked: Crowe, Deuchar.
Goals: Bradley Johnson 6.
Ref: K Stroud (Hampshire).
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