10-Man Swans Beat Leeds
29th December 2007
Swansea City extend their lead at the top to 5 points after beating Leeds United 3-2 this afternoon.
Just over 19,000 packed into the Liberty Stadium to witness our 7th consecutive victory.
Andy Robinson scored his 3rd goal in 2 games to put us in front early on, curling in a sublime free-kick from 25 yards.
Poor defending at the back though meant the lead didn't last long, as Beckford equalised after lobbing the ball over De Vries from an acute angle.
Captain Garry Monk restored our lead though from a corner, heading home at the near post from Robinson's cross.
Despite regaining the lead, we were dealt a huge blow as Ferrie Bodde was shown red for a nasty challenge on Howson who had to be stretchered off.
Despite Leeds' 1-man advantage for the remaining 52 minutes, Swansea extended their lead on the stroke of half time. Scotland used his strength to run through on goal and calmly struck the ball low into the bottom left corner.
Leeds got a goal back within a minute of the restart however after winning a dubious free-kick within shooting range. Thompson curled the ball around the wall, beating De Vries and setting up a nervous second half for the Swansea fans.
We hung on well however and increase our lead at the top to 5 points.
Martinez made just one change from the side that romped to a 4-1 win against Cheltenham on Boxing Day. Fit again striker Jason Scotland returned as a lone striker in a 4-5-1 formation, as Bauza was dropped to the bench.
The Swans changed ends and kicked off towards the South Stand, and early on both sides were keeping things tight with very little goal-mouth action. We struggled to get our slick passing game going as Leeds were quick to close us down.
Despite of this, we took the lead after just 8 minutes to send 16,500 Swans fans into raptures. Leeds conceded a free-kick in a dangerous area - 25 yards from goal, Robinson stood up to curl in a sublime effort into the top left hand corner.
The goal got the Liberty Stadium rocking but Wise's men were level again just 3 minutes later. Poor defending let Beckford through on goal down the right, and he did well to lob the oncoming De Vries to make it 1-1.
It wasn't the best of starts of Swans in terms of our possession and we used it, but after their goal we improved vastly, getting the goal to our wingers and causing problems on the attack as we looked to regain the lead. Monk did just that on 22 minutes with a powerful header from a corner at the near post.
The Swans were now in their stride and while they looked to double their advantage, Ferrie Bodde gave us a huge blow after he was shown red for the second time this season. Leon Britton lost possession in the middle of the pitch, Bodde attempts to win the ball from Hodson but he leaves his leg out, catching the player's shin. It wasn't until a few seconds letter when the player is on the floor in agony that the so-called Premiership referee stops the game and hands out the straight red. Ferrie can't believe it and falls to the floor in disbelief.
With the Dutchman's departure, we needed Pratley to control the game and he did just that. Covering every blade of grass and put in a well deserved man of the match performance. All our play from this moment on was through Pratley and he did brilliantly well to keep the momentum going despite having only 10-men.
Much to the amazement of the Swansea fans, shortly after Bodde's sending off, we extended our lead. 2 Leeds defenders failed to deal with a long ball down field towards Scotland, the powerful striker took advantage, ran through on goal, shrugged his marker before slotting the ball underneath the keeper for his 10th goal of the season.
Martinez's side went in at the break with a healthy 2-goal lead, but there was still a long way to go, especially with a man down.
Leeds wasted no time in trying to overcome the deficit. Straight from kick-off they surged forward, eventually winning a dubious free-kick on the edge of the area. Thompson stepped up and curled a superb left foot strike around the wall and past the diving De Vries, who could only get a finger-tip to the ball. Just moments later, it looked as if they were going to equalise after another free-kick was won, but this time Thompson's effort hit the bar.
From this point on, we'd definitely take a point as Leeds started to dominate possession as we had to dig deep to maintain our lead. Despite their dominance, they struggled to break us down, and looked very much like the Swansea side earlier on in the season - failing to overcome a defensive side and resorted to high long balls towards their front men.
The defence remained strong but we weren't helped by a very fussy and biased referee who continually gave Leeds petty free-kicks and decisions their way. The clock ticked away slowly and the 3 minutes of extra time seemed like forever but the full time whistle was finally blown, much to the delight of the Swans players, staff and fans. The Liberty Stadium atmosphere was the best it has been in a while, the football being played, the optimism and confidence all around is now at an all time high!
Things are certainly looking bright at Swansea City as we extend our lead to 5 points at the top of League One, with a game in hand over second placed Nottingham Forest.
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