Date: 14th May 2006 at 3:17pm
Written by:

Swansea City have booked another final tie at the Millennium Stadium thanks to a brace from Leon Knight in the 2-0 win against Brentford at Griffin Park.

More than 3,000 travelling jacks cramped into a compact Griffin Park ground and with crowd congestion, the game was delayed for 15 minutes.

Kenny Jackett made 1 change from the side that drew with the Bees at home on Thursday. O’Leary started in midfield with MacDonald dropped to the bench to give us a more physical presence in the middle of the park.

Brentford started off like they did on Thursday, with quick flowing football. It was a very physical, competitive game throughout the whole 90 minutes. Rankin especially couldn’t cope with Austin’s strength and was diving his way at every opportunity to get themselves undeserved free kicks.

The Bees had a great chance early on as Tabb was found totally unmarked in the penalty area but they lacked any quality with the final shot at goal with Gueret saving comfortably from weak shots.

Despite the hosts early pressure, the Swans took their chances, as Knight scored twice in the space of 7 minutes.

His first came on the 8 minute mark. A long ball was missed in the air by Fallon and Sodje. Knight raced onto the loose ball to score a similar goal to the one at Chesterfield, lobbing the keeper from outside the area.

His second was thanks to a mistake from Andrew Frampton. Leon Britton long through ball down the line was brought down brilliantly by Leon Knight before smashing the ball into the far left hand corner.

Knight sent the travelling jacks into dreamland as we gained a 2-goal aggregate lead.

Andy Robinson was lucky to still be on pitch midway through the first half with two bad tackles in a few minutes. The referee booked him for his second reckless challenge.

Sam Ricketts’ late equaliser on Thursday certainly did gave them the momentum for the second leg as Fallon should have put us 3-0 up but he headed over what like would be a certain goal.

Martin Allen made his first tactical change after just 23 minutes, bringing on Willock for Newman.

Gueret made a number of good saves to deny Brentford a way back into the game. We were giving away far too many free-kicks though on the edge of the area and I had the feeling that they’d score from one of them, especially with the likes of Tabb and Pratley in the Brentford side.

Fallon went close again but on his weaker right foot he couldn’t get his shot on target.

We did well to keep onto the 2 goal lead at half time and the Brentford boss gambled at the start of the second, using up all his substitutions by taking off Smith and Frampton for Tillen and Brooker.

With the game not losing its physical side, Brentford had another free kick just a few yards outside the box. O’Connor’s curling shot was superbly saved by Gueret who somehow managed to hang on to the shot.

The Bees continued to pile on the pressure as we were happy to sit back with 9 men behind the ball. The only chances we had now were on the counter attack with Leon Britton causing problems out wide with his pace.

Tabb lunged into Knight which forced him to leave the pitch shortly afterwards with Forbes replacing him. I think Jackett made the right choice opting for Forbes because we needed some energy and someone who would battle for every loose ball.

Fallon again had another good chance on goal. He picked up Austin’s long ball but his left foot shot flew only inches over the bar.

Robinson then made way for Williams with 16 minutes left and the winger had an opportunity late on but he couldn’t finish the move off following Britton’s cross from the right.

The defence was coping well considering the amount of pressure they were under and Gueret was faultless in goal.

Trundle replaced the tired Fallon late on as Swansea managed to avoid a nervy ending by keeping a clean-sheet as we made our way into the play-off final.

It was an excellent all-round committed performance from the Swans and they battled hard against a strong (cheating) Brentford side. It was clear early on they were getting frustrated by our physical approach and tried their best to get free kicks whenever possible.

Another performance like that in the final and we’ll unlucky not to gain promotion!

COME ON YOU SWANS!

Brentford: Nelson, O’Connor, Sodje, Turner, Frampton (Tillen 45), Smith (Brooker 45), Newman (Willock 23), Pratley, Tabb, Rhodes, Rankin.
Subs Not Used: Bankole, Hutchinson.

Booked: Rankin.

Swansea: Gueret, Tate, Austin, Monk, Ricketts, Britton, O’Leary, Tudur-Jones, Robinson (Williams 74), Knight (Forbes 67), Fallon (Trundle 85).
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Akinfenwa.

Booked: Robinson, Fallon.

Goals: Knight 8, 15.

Att: 10,652

Ref: G Laws (Tyne & Wear).

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