Swansea 1 Hartlepool 0
Swansea City go top of League One thanks to Angel Rangel's late winner tonight at home to Huddersfield.
It was a long time coming but 10 minutes from the end, the Spanish defender struck from inside the penalty area to give us a 1-0 win.
Roberto Martinez made just one change from Saturday`s game at Tranmere. Warren Feeney was missing with flu so Scotland started up front on his own in a 4-5-1 formation. A formation that just didn`t work with Scotland`s lack of enthusiasm and energy.
Leon Britton replaced Warren and started in midfield.
The Swansea boss wanted his side to put things right at home having experienced poor form at the Liberty Stadium. We changed ends, attacked towards the South Stand and started the game off very well, showing a lot of urgency to get forward and were playing as though we were a goal down in the last 10 minutes of a game, something we hadn`t shown at home since we played Nottingham Forest earlier in the season.
It was a good 15-20 minute spell from us and Paul Anderson was particularly doing well down the right wing, causing lots of problems with his pace and trickery. He sent in a low cross into the box but no one was committed, and Nolan sent it out for a corner.
Ferrie Bodde then brought the first save from the opposition`s keeper with a 25-yard free-kick.
We dominated the early possession but despite this we never really created any clear cut chances on goal.
The visitors then started to get into the game, and whenever they got forward they caused problems for our shaky defence. James Brown was Pool`s best player in the first half, and he nearly opened the scoring for Wilson`s side when he cut in from the left, but his shot hit the cross bar.
Our high tempo passing game deteriorated and it was Hartlepool who ended the first half the better of the two sides.
Garry Monk had one chance just before half time but his header from a corner went well wide of the far post.
It was a strange choice for Martinez to go with a 4-5-1 formation, especially at home. With the lazy and slow Jason Scotland up front on his own, it wasn`t working and changes needed to be made after the restart if we were to get all 3 points tonight.
There were no changes at the start of the second half unfortunately though so we remained as we were.
Martinez was forced into making his first change after 53 minutes as Paul Anderson limped off with a knee injury and was replaced by Tom Butler.
A few minutes later Hartlepool went close when Brown went through on goal, De Vries failed to gather the ball but Rangel was there to hook the ball clear.
Robinson then went close for the Swans after cutting in from the left but his shot on goal hit the side netting.
Scotland then had a rare opportunity on goal when he ran through down the right, but his powerful low drive went just wide of the far post.
The game was becoming more and more frustrating for the 11,000 home fans as we continued to struggle to break down a solid Hartlepool defence. Scotland was useless up front on his own and we were all waiting for the introduction of either Bauza or Duffy.
After 72 minutes, Duffy finally came on, and while we expected Scotland to go off, it was Pratley who made way for the striker.
Things were still not improving and it looked possible that Hartlepool could steal a win as they hit the woodwork for the second time in the game. Butler lost possession and Sweeney`s cross hit the bar before Painter cleared.
With around 10 minutes remaining, Scotland was finally replaced by Bauza who was involved in our winning goal just a few moments later. Was it a coincidence we scored straight and Scotland`s departure? Bodde picked out Bauza in the box, he laid the ball back a few yards to Rangel who coolly slotted the ball into the bottom left corner.
It was harsh on the visitors as again it wasn`t an inspiring performance from us at home. Apart from the opening 15-20 minutes, we again struggled to create good chances on goal and break down teams at home.
They nearly got an equalizer late on but De Vries made a superb save from Sweeney`s shot from close range. He dived down to his left to palm the ball out for a corner as Sweeney swiveled on the ball to get a shot at goal.
It looked to be heading for a disappointing draw at home as we didn`t look like scoring, but Rangel`s late strike puts us top of the league. You can`t moan too much at our league position but we still need to improve at home. We still can`t break down teams and our defence also looked on edge when Hartlepool were attacking tonight.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.