Swans stay second despite defeat from Abigail Davies
Having been hailed by the press for their Barcelona style of play following victory over Leeds last weekend, The Swans knew they would face a different test taking on an Iron side on a pitch seemingly showing more sand than grass.
Despite 20 league places separating the two sides before kick off I felt in some respects the odds were against a City win, due to this small and almost unplayable surface not suiting the Swansea City style.
Brendan Rodgers made 2 changes to the side that beat Leeds, as The Swans lined up with Leon Britton starting in place of Dobbie, while there was also a place in the side for Craig Beattie who replaced Luke Moore as loan striker.
The Swans started brightly, looking to use the wings as they have done with great success over recent months. Showing diversity early on, they provided numerous long balls forward from defence whilst also enforcing their usual fluid passing movements into the game. The visitors delivered an early scare as Craig Beattie set up Sinclair, who’s powerful strike forced a good save out of Josh Lillis.
The away side continued to create chances and should have found themselves 1 up midway through the first half, after Joe Allen linked up with Nathan Dyer on the right wing, Craig Beattie then got involved in the passage of play supplying a perfectly weighted ball through to Allen who had continued a brilliant run into the area -only for the Welsh internationals shot to be blocked by the Scunthorpe keeper.
Angel Rangel also came close to opening the scoring in the first half but the attacking full-back fired his shot just wide of the far post.
Although it had been thought that the Swans wouldn’t be able to play their normal game, they continued to do so into the second 45 showing a dominance in possession that Iron fans will not be used to seeing at Glanford Road.
As we have so often seen over recent seasons, Nathan Dyer’s quick feet and trickery earned the Swans a free kick just outside the area- Gower delivered the set piece into the box only for Ashley Williams’ effort to be tipped over the bar by Scunthorpe’s keeper.
While Joe Allen had his appeals for a penalty turned down, the high-flying Swans were unable to take advantage of further chances through Beattie and Williams – who both saw their efforts fire high over the cross bar. With 66 minutes on the clock Rodgers made his first change- trying to reignite the success the Swans have shown in front of goal over recent weeks, he introduced Stephen Dobbie- a player I think should have started the game, especially with the absence of Darren Pratley.
With 20 minutes remaining, Scunny forward Garner broke down the left wing and after skipping past Ashley Williams, came up against Alan Tate who brought down the striker and despite pleading his innocence conceded a penalty. Garner stepped up to take the spot kick and on 71 minutes broke the deadlock with what proved to be the only goal of the game, giving Ian Baraclough’s side a crucial victory in their bid for Championship survival.
The most disputable decision of the game came late on as the Swans had another penalty shout turned down as they searched for a late equaliser.
Brendan Rodgers side entertain fellow promotion chasers Watford on Tuesday, where they will be looking to claim their third consecutive home win- despite sharing the anchor midfield role with Britton of late, I would start Joe Allen in midweek as his work ethic, skill and determination to win back possession made him stand out at Glanford Park.