Swansea City slumped to their first home defeat of the season with a disappointing performance this evening against Bristol City.
Brendan Rodgers’ side were on a high following Sunday’s win against Cardiff City, but we were brought back down to earth with a bang tonight after losing 1-0 against a solid Bristol City outfit.
Jonathan Stead’s early close-range strike was enough to give the Robins all three points while the Swans found it difficult throughout to create a threat on David James’ goal.
The main talking point before kick off was the absence of Mark Gower and Joe Allen from the starting eleven. Arguably our two most in-form central midfielders, but both were on the bench to allow the return of Darren Pratley after suspension and a first home start for Kemy Agustien. It’s easy to say after losing that it wasn’t the right decision to leave them out, but before the game we had team strong enough to get a decent result.
So Brendan Rodgers made two changes from the team that beat Cardiff City on Sunday and we lined up:
Rangel – Monk – Williams – Tate
Agustien – Pratley – Orlandi
You could ignore Bristol City’s lowly position in the Championship table as the Robins were enjoying an improved run of form under new manager Keith Millen. Judging from their performance tonight, they’ll have no worries this year under their new boss, and I’d be surprised if they don’t quickly work their way up the table.
Within just 5 minutes, the visitors created two or three good openings down the right wing, as Alan Tate had an evening to forget.
It was worrying that the Robins were able to get in behind our defence and to the by-line so easily. Early concerns were soon confirmed when Jonathan Stead found the net with less than 6 minutes on the clock.
Albert Adomah got the better of Tate once again down the right wing, his cross found Haynes who fired at goal. De Vries made an excellent quick reaction save to keep his effort out, but the ball fell to the unmarked Stead who found the net from just a few yards out.
I suppose if we had to concede it was best to do so early on, as we had 85-plus minutes to find an equaliser, but Bristol City were setup very well and limited the threat of our usual threats. They had done their homework on us, and we just couldn’t attack down the flanks and get the full-backs linking up and supporting the wingers.
Pratley was having a shocker as well, he continually conceded possession and refused to make simple passes, but Agustien alongside him was doing a better job of winning the ball and spraying it out wide.
It took us 14 minutes to force goalkeeper David James into his first save, but it was a straightforward one from Orlandi’s free-kick.
The Swans then had a let-off at the other end as Adomah was causing more problems down the right flank. His cross touched the crossbar but luckily Bristol City were unable to take full advantage. The Robins’ ease of attacking and getting forward into dangerous positions saw frustrations arise amongst the defenders, with captain Garry Monk and Ashley Williams in particular having disagreements.
Our only other real chance came from the work of Dyer and Sinclair, but the latter fired a ball across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
The referee blew the half time whistle and the Swans players walked off to the dressing room with a quiet hint of boos from a small section of the 14,700 crowd. Harsh to boo your own players, but for the first 45 minutes we had watched a poor and frustrating performance.
Rodgers’ decision to make two substitute changes at the start of the second half said it all really in terms of how poor we were in the first 45. Pratley deservedly went off, and Orlandi also made way for Joe Allen and Mark Gower.
They helped us to show an improvement in the second. We dominated most of the possession as we kept the ball far better, but we still weren’t able to make good use of it. Bristol City defended in large numbers as they looked to hold on to their lead, but as threw men forward they were able to create a few chances on the counter-attack.
We had a few decent half-chances early on, Allen fired well over the crossbar and James claimed a cross, but the Robins were able to get forward far quicker and create clearer openings in front of De Vries’ goal.
As the game went on we still didn’t look like getting close to scoring an equaliser. We struggled to work the ball through a wall of defenders and rarely was the ball crossed in to the box.
Stephen Dobbie came on for the remaining 25 minutes as Rodgers changed the system to 4-4-2. Kemy Agustien was unfortunate to be replaced as he looked good on the ball, but we needed to throw more men forward in order to bring the scores level.
Unfortunately though, Dobbie didn’t really add anything to our attack as the Robins’ 3 points were looking quite safe so far.
Emnes came closest to equalising, but his low shot was finger-tipped around the post by David James for a corner. Tate also went close inside the box but his shot was blocked on the line, but after that the visitors had a couple of chances to double their lead. De Vries made a great save to deny dangerman Adomah.
Late on, Alan Tate had a decent shout for a penalty but the referee was never going to give it, and from them it looked unlikely that we’d avoid seeing the end of home unbeaten run.
3 minutes of injury time then passed and the Swans players looked devastated and down to lose our first game at the Liberty Stadium. Not only that, but their performance was a long way off the level of quality it’s been at recently. There are also concerns now for our strikeforce. Dobbie hasn’t really impressed or made an impact when coming on as a sub, and Marvin Emnes returns to Middlesbrough, who we face on Sunday.
Swansea City: Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Garry Monk (C),Ashley Williams, Alan Tate; Kemy Agustien (Stephen Dobbie, 65′), Andrea Orlandi (Mark Gower, 46′), Darren Pratley (Joe Allen, 46′), Scott Sinclair, Nathan Dyer; Marvin Emnes.
Not Used: Yves Makabu-Makalambay (GK), Neil Taylor,David Cotterill, Craig Beattie.
Bristol City: David James, Steven Caulker, Louis Carey (C), Liam Fontaine, Jamie McAllister (Cole Skuse, 87′), Albert Adomah, Marvin Elliott, Lee Johnson, Danny Haynes (Brett Pitman, 74′), Jamal Campbell-Ryce, Jon Stead (Kalifa Cisse, 69′).
Not Used: Dean Gerken (GK), Christian Ribeiro, Nicky Hunt, David Clarkson.
Attendance: 14,741 Away: 488
Referee: G D Scott (Oxfordshire)