Swansea City move up into third position tonight and extend their unbeaten run to 11 games after a dominant 1-0 home win against Derby County in front of 17,800 fans at the Liberty Stadium.
Paulo Sousa’s side enjoyed the majority of possession (nearly 70% infact) and impressed the near-capacity crowd with their free-flowing passing game, but it took us until the final 10 minutes to break the deadlock against Nigel Clough’s defensive side.
Substitute Joe Allen played an inch-perfect pass through to Bessone, and bursting forward, the left back fired the ball into the roof of the net from inside the box to put us deservedly in front, before celebrating with his team-mates in front of the East Stand.
Following our superb 3-2 victory against Cardiff City a fortnight ago, it was clear to see that the hard work in training is paying off. After some indifferent performances early on in the season, everything seems to be gelling together nicely. The passing was linking up much more fluently but we just need to be more clinical in front of goal, the only thing that wasn’t convincing was the scoreline.
Paulo Sousa made just one change from the team that beat Cardiff City 3-2 last week. Joe Allen was dropped to the bench and in came Andrea Orlandi to join Darren Pratley and Leon Britton in centre midfield.
Rangel – Tate – Williams – Bessone
Dyer – Pratley – Britton – Orlandi – Van Der Gun
Our first real chance came within the first 10 minutes. Dyer used his lightening pace to run onto a poor back pass, he rounded the on-coming goalkeeper but he took the ball too close to the byeline, and from an acute angle his shot hit the post.
Apart from one chance from a corner in the first half, Derby County struggled from start to finish to test Dorus De Vries in the home goal, the Dutchman was a spectator for the majority of the game.
Craig Beattie then had an opportunity to increase his goal-tally with the Swans. Darren Pratley found the Scotsman from a corner, playing a low ball into the box, the striker struck at goal but the goalkeeper made an excellent save diving down to his left to keep out his powerful effort.
Swansea City continued to dominate and it became a matter of when, not if, we’d open the scoring. We deserved to be a couple of goals in front at the break, but Clough’s side held on.
The second half was more of the same. The Rams continued to defend deep and we were always outnumbered in the final third.
The Swans were regularly trying to cut through the opposition’s defence with a through ball, obviously something they’ve been working on in training, but the final pass was usually cut out from a defender, and it became frustrating to watch that we couldn’t convert our dominance into goals.
Nathan Dyer then got forward and his low shot flew across the face of goal but Orlandi couldn’t connect at the far post.
Joe Allen then came on as Sousa made his first substitution. Off came Orlandi, who had a good game in all fairness, but the young Welshman improved things and gave us a better attacking edge.
The visiting goalkeeper made a few more decent saves from the Swans and he was keeping Nigel Clough’s side in it. They came here for a point, and had no chance of getting all three, but thankfully we finally managed to break through their backline, thanks to Joe Allen’s clever pass and Bessone’s pace. The Argentine flew past 2 or 3 static defenders and rifled the ball in off the underside of the crossbar. Bessone was ecstatic to say the least, celebrating with his team-mates in front of the South-East corner of the Stadium.
It was what we deserved. We could have made it 2-0 late on, as on the few occasions that Derby got into our half, we were winning back possession and counter-attacked as they left holes at the back but we were unable to punish a very average Derby County side.
On a final note then, Paulo Sousa has transformed his side amazingly in such little time. It wasn’t long ago that the fans were frustrated with performances at home. Our passing was simply superb, there was a far better understanding amongst the players and they knew exactly how to link up on the attack.
If we continue to play like that then we look an excellent bet for a play-off place this season.