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Swans draw at Rotherham

2 - 2


22/10/05, 3pm

Attendance: 4,056


Barry Conlon struck in the second-minute of injury time to deny Swansea City victory at Rotherham United. Strikes from Lee Trundle and Marcus Bean had looked like putting Kenny Jackett's men back on the winning trail in League One.

Trundle, subject of a 750,000 Sheffield Wednesday bid on the eve of this trip to South Yorkshire, gave an instant reminder of his worth to Swansea with an equaliser inside a minute after Grant Leadbitter had fired Rotherham ahead.

And Bean seemed to have grabbed the glory when he stroked home a first Swansea goal just before the hour.

But Conlon, a menace all afternoon, wrecked Welsh hopes with a strike the Millers will claim was well deserved.

Having shuffled his pack for the midweek LDV Vans Trophy win at Torquay, Jackett had recalled his big guns here.

Roberto Martinez, Willy Gueret, Izzy Iriekpen and Lee Trundle were all recalled, while Kevin McLeod, Leon Britton and Marcus Bean were back in the starting line-up after injury.

Swansea's bench told everything about the options the manager had this weekend, with fit-again Owain Tudur Jones and Paul Connor included and goalkeeper Brian Murphy left out of the 16.

Also among the substitutes was Kristian O'Leary, the sole survivor of Swansea's memorable trip to this ground in 2000.

Back then the two clubs were battling it out for the old Third Division title, but they had different agendas yesterday.

Jackett's men were aiming to keep up their surge at the top of the League One table, while Rotherham were looking to end their slide towards the bottom.

Relegated from the Championship last season, the Millers made an encouraging start to life back in English football's third tier.

But they came into this contest without a win in their previous five matches, with confidence not exactly bolstered by a penalty shootout victory over non-league Accrington Stanley in the LDV on Tuesday.

Nevertheless it was Mick Harford's men who began on the front foot, penning Swansea in and almost forcing an opener inside five minutes.

When Gueret's clearance was charged down by Barry Conlon, the ball ricocheted to Deon Burton on the edge of the penalty area.

With the goal gaping, only Sam Ricketts's excellent lunge saved Swansea.

There were early sighters for Conlon and Michael Keane, too, as the visitors battled for a foothold in the game.

It was midway through the first period before Swansea threatened, Trundle hitting a first-time shot high and wide after Bayo Akinfenwa had flicked a Gueret clearance into his path.

Here was an indication that the visitors were beginning to get going and, with Martinez pulling the strings, they had more and more possession as the interval neared.

It had been a half of precious little incident - until the closing four minutes.

Swansea had been fairly resilient until one lofted pass from Michael Keane opened them up.

GrantLEADBITTER raced into the chasm in Jackett's defence, holding off Kevin Austin's challenge before sliding a shot under the advancing Gueret and into the net.

Leadbitter danced past the dejected visiting fans, but the natives were not celebrating for long.

It was less than a minute, in fact, before Britton steered a neat through ball to TRUNDLE on the right of the penalty area.

The 29-year-old did the rest, stepping inside two Rotherham challenges before rifling left-footed past Gary Montgomery at the near post.

Honours even at the break.

After the flurry of activity, peace broke out once more in the early stages of the second period.

That was until Ricketts's persistence gave Trundle the chance to cross from the left.

The centre was meant for Akinfenwa, but the powerhouse striker cleverly stepped over the ball so it ran onto BEAN.

The on-loan Queens Park Rangers midfielder took a touch to control before driving a shot through Montogomery .

The goal came in the nick of time for Bean - Tudur Jones was ready to come on from the touchline along with winger Forbes.

Now the manager was telling them both to sit back down.

The changes would come soon enough, Forbes replacing Britton and then O'Leary arriving for Martinez 16 minutes from the end.

Jackett needed to try something as Rotherham were pushing hard for equaliser.

He had Gueret to thank when Andy Monkhouse's smart through ball sent home substitute Martin Butler through one-on-one.

The Frenchman produced a brilliant one-handed stop as Swansea clung onto the lead, but he could do nothing when Burton escaped down the right at the death.

With Tate claiming a foul, the former Jamaican international squared for CONLON to stroke into the empty net and deny Swansea a return to the top of the league.

Manager Rating

Kenny Jackett looked as if he got things right until he started making substitutes. We needed to defend the lead so he brought on O'Leary for the skipper. This looked a decent decision as O'Leary is a battling ball winner but he then brought off Britton and Trundle. Was it Jackett's fault? Maybe not because we still had the defensive players on the pitch who were capable of defending the lead.

Rotherham Manager, Mick Harford:

'In the end I'm happy with a point, all credit to the players, they kept going and going. We went three up front and put an extra man in the middle and it seemed to work. The lads heads never dropped and they kept going.'

'We didnt deserve to lose today and I thought we were the better team, so the lads got a deserved draw and I would have been dissapointed if we had lost today.'

Swansea manager, Kenny Jackett:

'We got ourselves in a winning position and were ahead going into injury-time and it should have been three points for us, although I felt Kevin Tate was fouled by their man before he pulled the ball across for the equaliser.

'We came back from a goal down, got ourselves in front and we should have won. Obviously I am very disappointed.'

Swans scorer, Marcus Bean:

''Obviously I'm pleased to score, but the team winning is more important and we haven't done that.''

''Although the final result was disappointing, I did get a lot of satisfaction from scoring my first goal for Swansea.

''I don't score many, to be honest, so it was just nice to get on the scoresheet for once.''

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Date:Sunday October 23 2005
Time: 1:17PM

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Gutting when listening to the commentary of the game but that's football for you, also face a tough game against chesterfield at home but our injury list is easing and more players are returning.
25/10/2005 22:32:00
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