Soccer Magazine

The Lions Sleep Tonight

By Stuartnoel @theballisround

Abigail Davies wasn’t scared about entering the Lions Den and seeing her Swans end their playoff hopes for another season.

The Lions sleep tonight
Having already secured a place in the Championship play offs, Swansea City travelled to The Den looking to claim their first victory on the road in six attempts. Whilst Millwall went into the game knowing that anything less than 3 points would end any hopes of back-to-back promotions for Kenny Jackett’s side.

Brendan Rodgers made two changes to the team that claimed a comprehensive victory over Ipswich at The Liberty stadium on Monday, as Alan Tate stepped in to partner Ashley Williams in the heart of defence with Garry Monk ruled out due to a stomach bug. Darren Pratley also returned to the starting line up in place of on loan striker Fabio Borini- meaning Stephen Dobbie started the game out on the left wing.

The home side were the quicker out of the blocks with an early effort from James Henry which failed to test Dorus De Vries.

As The Swans settled into the game, they began to show glimpses of the free flowing football that we have become accustom to seeing from Brendan Rodgers side. With great build up play, the visitors attacks were breaking down inside the penalty area with Luke Moore not posing the threat in front of goal that Fabio Borini has done over recent weeks.

Stephen Dobbie found it hard to influence the game from out wide as I feel his real strengths lie in his shooting and link up play. Dobbie began to drift in field where he found more success and after combining well with Dyer, the Scot found space to create the away side’s first shooting opportunity- his effort was blocked inside the area.

Following on from the sublime displays against Portsmouth and Ipswich, Nathan Dyer continued to demonstrate his rich vein of form both through his defensive and offensive abilities, as he was tracking back to regain possession as well as posing one of The Swans biggest threats.

The first real chance for the visitors came in the 19th minute after a great run from the formidable Nathan Dyer, the winger played through Luke Moore who couldn’t control the ball and his effort fired high and wide of the goal.

Two minutes later The Swans were on the offence again as Angel Rangel set Dyer free, his shot forcing the Millwall keeper into a full stretch save.

Brendan Rodgers side rode their luck at times in the first half, as both Alan Tate and Neil Taylor had to make crucial interceptions to deny striker John Marquis.

After a phase of scrappy play in the Swans half, Dyer emerged with the ball once more but had no support in the box, the ball fell for Joe Allen who tried his luck with a long range effort which narrowly missed the target.

The deadlock was broken on the half hour mark and it was the away fans celebrating as Stephen Dobbie found Darren Pratley in acres of space 20 yards from goal, after hitting the post the midfielder’s strike found the back of the net.

Shortly after, Dorus De Vries was called into action and made light work of clearing a dangerous ball into the area by Henry.

As the half came to an end it was the visitors who were looking the more comfortable in possession and were worthy of their half time advantage.

Within two minutes of the restart Stephen Dobbie doubled Swansea’s lead. As Moore held off defender Jack Smith, the ball fell for the Scot who’s well placed strike found the back of the net with his seventh goal of the season.

The home side did not surrender as the Swans were made to defend an onslaught of pressure from Kenny Jackett’s side, with Steve Morison denied only by the woodwork before Dorus De Vries made an outstanding save to block Mkandawire’s attempt.

With little over half an hour remaining, Kenny Jackett brought on Josh McQuid in place of Steve Morison despite Millwall’s leading goalscorer providing their biggest threat.

After another great performance from Stephen Dobbie he was replaced by Scott Sinclair who was involved immediately, linking up well with Neil Taylor the substitute came close to providing The Swans with their 3rd goal, however his effort fired into the side netting.

Albert Serran replaced Leon Britton in the 83rd minute after the midfielder had, as ever put in a solid performance.

For the third consecutive game Nathan Dyer stood out as the best player on the field with his tireless work ethic and off the ball movements adding to his ability to weave through defenders with his blistering pace and skill.

Three points meant back-to-back victories for Swansea for the first time since February as well as keeping their 20th clean sheet of the season.

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