A new season, a new league and a new stadium for the Swans and they didn’t fail to dissapoint the 16,700 crowd – with a 1-0 victory over the title favourites, Tranmere Rovers.
New signing, Adebayo Akinfenwa scored on his Swansea debut when he rose high at the far post to head home Lee Trundle’s cross from the right as fans raised the roof.
Both clubs would of have seen this as a tough opening game and Tranmere looked like a side who will be challenging near the top during the course of the season.
The visitors looked good on the ball and were always creating space and causing problems for our defence. Swansea seemed to struggle to keep the ball on the floor and to repeat some of the glimpses of quality play that we saw in the first half against Blackburn in the pre season friendly.
We nearly saw a goal in the first minute as Akinfenwa had a chance early on but he was unable to get his shot on target. It was a close game from the start and 0-0 would have been a fair half time scoreline. However, the Swans took the lead after half an hour when Lee Trundle’s cross from the right hand side found Akinfenwa at the far post and he rose well to header home from 2 yards.
5 minutes from the break, the referee awarded a controversial penalty to the visitors. Ricketts was penalised for bringing down Zola but it seemed a harsh decision to say the least. Fortunately though, Willy Gueret was on hand again to deny skipper, McAteer.
Another penalty was awarded, this time to the Swans but Trundle was unable to double our lead as another penalty save was made at the opposite end.
No doubt Jackett would have been pleased going into the dressing room at half time with his team in front. We were then given a slight blow in the 2nd half as the injured Garry Monk was forced to leave the field to be replaced by Alan Tate. Tranmere pressed forward from the restart but the Swansea still managed to keep them at bay.
On the hour mark, Rovers manager, Brian Little used up all his substitutes as he brought on
Ian Hume, Danny Harrison and Steve Jennings to replace
Goodison, Aiston and Rankine. The Swans found it difficult to put pressure on their defence and were losing possession far too often.
Rovers continued to pile the pressure on Swansea’s back four while Trundle had the chance to redeem himself at the end to put the game beyond doubt. He raced onto a through ball as he beat the offside trap but he spent far too long in possession and his soft shot was hooked clear off the line.
As we headed into the final minutes, Swansea tried to waste time as Trundle and Akinfenwa both kept the ball in the corner but resulted in the latter being booked. Owain Tudur-Jones then came on for Trundle in the dying minutes not long before the referee blew the full time whistle.
Overall, it wasn’t a classic performance from Swansea and we’ll need to improve if we wish to compete in the top half. Our passing was significantly poor with many passes going astray and the defence gave Tranmere far too much time and space on the ball.
Goodfellow was a lot quieter than he has been during the pre-season friendlies and Trundle dissapointed on a number of occasions. We can’t really complain though as we opened the season with a victory and a clean sheet over one of the title favourites.