Swansea City overcame a battling and hard-working Scunthorpe United side to extend their winning run at home to 4 games, thanks to two late goals to give us a 2-0 win at the Liberty Stadium.
The Iron were solid for most of the match, pinning us back into our own half and they made it difficult for us to get into good goalscoring positions. But after being patient for 80 minutes the breakthrough finally came. Scott Sinclair scored his second for the club in 5 days as he put us in front. The visitors’ defence failed to clear a loose ball inside the 6-yard area and Sinclair was there to volley the ball in.
Rodgers’ side then immediately killed the game off then with a second goal just moments after our first. Nathan Dyer did brilliantly to pick the ball up just inside his own half. Dobbie made a run and he picked up his pass before running onto goal and finishing well with a low drive beyond the goalkeeper.
Scunthorpe United had battled hard and they did well to limit our threat, as the game looked to be heading for a goalless draw. They even had a chance to go ahead before we scored but De Vries made a brilliant save.
Brendan Rodgers made just one change to Tuesday’s team who beat Coventry City 2-1. He welcomed Frank Nouble into the first team and the West Ham United loanee replaced Stephen Dobbie up front.
Tate – Monk – Williams – Taylor
Allen – Pratley – Gower
It was quite a surprise to see Nouble making his debut today as he`s only just arrived on loan, plus the fact he`s only just turned 19 years of age. Despite that though he showed some promising touches early on and has some useful height and good pace up front.
Nouble had a great chance within the first minute to kick off his Swansea City spell with a goal. Mark Gower knocked the ball up to Nathan Dyer whose cross found Nouble, but he was unable to shot on target having being under pressure from defenders inside the box.
He went even closer to netting on hid debut 10 minutes later. A Scunthorpe player made a poor back pass and the young striker picked up the loose ball but he fired a shot against the side netting.
It was a good opening from the Swans against a Scunthorpe United side who had a big boost in confidence following their 4-0 win away at Sheffield United in midweek. Caretaker manager Ian Baraclough, who`s hoping to get the job full time, told the media before the game that he recognised that very few times who go to the Liberty Stadium looking to sit back and defend rarely get a point. His side didn`t do that, they played higher up the pitch than most teams we face at home and they closed us down at every opportunity.
The Iron knew that we`re a side who like to play and start attacks from the game, and we struggled to do this at times as the visitors were often in our faces. Their pressure even caused Monk to lose the ball in a dangerous position but Scunthorpe United were unable to capitalise on the defender`s mistake.
Nathan Dyer also had a couple of chances as he fired wide, while full backs Neil Taylor and Alan Tate were doing a good job in supporting the wingers going forward. Both players were contenders for the man of the match award this afternoon.
De Vries had a fairly quiet opening 45 minutes as Scunthorpe were mostly chasing us and looking to put us under pressure. They did that and it was a rather frustrating first half to watch – especially as we had yet another poor referee who booked Ashley Williams and Joe Allen.
The second half began where the first half left off – the Swans in possession for the majority for the Iron doing the chasing.
Nouble did well early on to win us a free kick in a shooting position. He worked his way inside from the right, using his space and strength well to shake a few challenges before being bundled to the ground. Sinclair stepped up to take the set piece and he curled a shot just over the bar.
Darren Pratley then had our best chance of the game so far and it was a wonder really how he didn`t score. The midfielder volleyed at goal from close range but the ball seemed to hit both the keeper and the woodwork before Murphy secured the ball in his hands.
Despite our continued domination, Scunthorpe should have taken a shock and rather undeserved lead. Baraclough, watching on from the sidelines, saw his side miss a great opportunity to score – which could have changed the game completely but De Vries made a superb stop to keep the scores level. It would have been rather harsh on the Swans, as the visitors didn`t show too much attacking play in the final third and rarely caused our defence problems. They had a few half decent efforts go wide of the target but none of which forced our goalkeeper into making a save – until now that is. The Dutchman denied Togwell after a good counter attack.
Three minutes later and Scunthorpe rued that vital miss as we eventually found the breakthrough. You wondered if it was ever going to come, as we had to try and break down a side who defended in large numbers inside the box, but it did. Stephen Dobbie`s arrival, quickly followed by David Cotterill saw things improve and it wasn`t long before they helped to create our opening goal. Dobbie and Sinclair`s header weren`t cleared inside the box and the ball fell to Sinclair who volleyed the ball home from close range. It was his second goal this week for the Swans and it rounded off another impressive performance from the former Chelsea winger.
Now we thought it was a case of simply keeping possession like we had done since the first minute of the game to keep hold of our 1-0 lead, but as the visitors pushed up looking for a quick equaliser, Rodgers` side counter-attacked and we grabbed a second. Alan Tate won possession before feeding Nathan Dyer down the right. Dobbie made a clever run round a defender down the flank and Dyer played the ball through for him to race in on goal. He fired a composed finish beyond the keeper and he looked absolutely thrilled to get on the scoresheet after being dropped following a rather disappointing performance on Tuesday night.
The 2-0 win puts us up to 6th now in the Championship and if we can begin to improve our away record, then there`s nothing to say why we can`t continue challenging for a top 6 place.
Swansea City: Dorus de Vries; Alan Tate, Garry Monk (C), Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor, Nathan Dyer (Albert Serran, 90+3′), Mark Gower, Joe Allen (David Cotterill, 76′), Scott Sinclair, Darren Pratley, Frank Nouble (Stephen Dobbie, 66′).
Not Used: David Cornell (GK), Cedric van der Gun, Jordi Lopez, Jazz Richards.
Scunthorpe: Joe Murphy, Cliff Byrne (C), David Mirfin, Niall Canavan, Eddie Nolan, Josh Wright, Michael O’Connor, Sam Togwell (Bobby Grant, 86′), Michael Collins (Martyn Woolford, 67′), Jonathan Forte, Chris Dagnall (Rob Jones, 87′).
Not Used: Sam Slocombe (GK), Andrew Wright, Michael Raynes, Matt Godden.
Attendance: 13,597 Away: 125
Referee: D McDermid (Hampshire)
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