Date: 5th August 2006 at 7:07pm
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Full report now online.

Swansea City made a terrible start to the new season with a diabolical performance against newly promoted side Cheltenham Town at the Liberty Stadium.

The Robins went 2-0 up during the second half after embarrassing defending and Leon Knight’s late goal was not enough to earn a point from the game.

Kenny Jackett handed debuts to 3 new signings. Amankwaah replaced the suspended Tate while Butler was picked ahead of McLeod on the left wing. Pratley started alongside O’Leary in the centre of midfield with Robinson on the right.

So we lined up:


Amankwaah – Monk – Iriekpen – Williams

Robinson – O’Leary – Pratley – Butler

Knight – Fallon

We started off the new season just like we ended the last. We had no shape and are unable to attack with any pace whatsoever. Our midfield of Pratley and O’Leary in the centre was far too defensive when we were on the attack, leaving spaces in the middle where we were always outnumbered.

Robinson looked busy on the right but he seemed to want to do everything himself and the Amankwaah-Robinson link-up on the right wing is never going to work. The new signing proved he liked going forward but his distribution was poor and the fact he liked to attack often left us exposed when Cheltenham countered.

Odejayi was proving a real threat to the Swansea defence early on as we seemed to struggle with his physical presence. Melligan cut inside Williams but he managed to make a last minute tackle to force his shot off target – probably the only decent thing he did all match.

Robinson tried his luck from 25 yards as the Swans could only manage half-chances early on.

We had a decent should for a penalty mid-way through the half as new signing Butler was brought down but the ref waved play on. We had another one not long later when Robinson went down in the box, but I think it was more Andy trying to force a penalty decision after the previous one wasn’t given.

Cheltenham showed that were better at passing the ball between themselves but it was the Swans who were creating more chances, despite the fact that all we were doing was lobbing it up from the defence.

Our defence didn’t communicate at all and there were a few dodgy moments when we looked like we were going to concede an easy goal.

Butler then looked to have opened the scoring for the Swans, but his curling shot hit the post and out to safety.

With 10 minutes left, we won a free kick as Robbo stepped up to take. He curled it around the wall but Higgs did well to get a hand to it.

The first half proved that we are still incapable of playing football on the floor and breaking down the opposition. We were unbalanced in midfield and were always outnumbered on the attack.

Half Time: Swansea 0 Cheltenham 0

Our terrible lack of defending ability lead to Cheltenham taking a deserved lead early in the second half.

Butler lost possession as Finnighan found striker Odejayi who made no mistake to finish past Gueret from 15 yards. Our defence were a shambles for both goals and it looks even worse than last season. Monk made a few key tackles but he was outpaced too often and continued to make silly mistakes. Pratley would make a far better captain I think.

6 minutes later and it was 2-0. McCann outran Amankwaah to lob the ball over the on-coming Gueret.

Kenny Jackett then used up all of his 3 substitutions as he took off Fallon, Butler and O’Leary to be replaced by Britton, Akinfenwa and McLeod.

All 3 players made an immediate impact. We looked far better with Britton making his runs down the left flank and Akinfenwa was doing well out-muscling Cheltenham’s defence, and already was doing more than Fallon who was idle for most of the game.

Keeper Higgs was busy for the last 20 minutes as Swansea tried to get something out of the game. Akinfenwa and Robinson had further chances but Higgs was yet to be beaten until the 77th minute.

McLeod put in a good cross that Higgs didn’t collect and Knight was there at the far post to find the net.

Knight and Akinfenwa had excellent chances to equalise and really both of them should have scored but it wasn’t to be as we lost our opening game of the season.

The report could have just been a rant about how poor we were, as we need to do a lot of improving if we are to even get close to the top 6.

We looked clueless as to what to do when going forward and the less said about the defence the better.

I can’t be bothered to say anymore.

Swansea: Gueret, Amankwaah, Iriekpen, Monk, Williams, Pratley, O’Leary (Britton 57), Robinson, Butler (McLeod 58), Fallon (Akinfenwa 58), Knight.

Subs Not Used: Oakes, Austin. Booked: Monk.

Goals: Knight 77.

Cheltenham: Higgs, Gill, Duff (Wilson 45), Caines, Victory, McCann, Finnigan, Melligan, Armstrong, Guinan (Gillespie 78), Odejayi (Vincent 78).

Subs Not Used: Brown, Bird.

Goals: Odejayi 48, McCann 54.

Att: 15,199

Ref: S Mathieson (Cheshire).

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Player Ratings

Gueret – 5
No communication with his defensive colleagues and still looks dodgy when trying to deal with crosses. Not really at fault for the goals though.

Amankwaah – 5
Don’t think he had that bad a game and he started well but he didn’t deal with McCann who scored the second. Likes to get forward and always provided Robinson with an option.

Iriekpen – 4
Not looking like the player he was last season. Made a few costly errors along with Monk as that partnership was an utter shambles.

Monk – 3
Made a few decent tackles but that’s it. He is no captain whatsoever and he was an utter shambles along with Iriekpen.

Williams – 2
2/10 and that’s being generous. Distribution was pathetic and just kicked the ball anywhere he liked. We need a decent left back. Austin is just too slow to play as a full back.

Butler – 6
Made some decent runs and was very close to scoring but he always goes inside when I think sometimes it would be best to play McLeod there who can get better balls into the box.

O’Leary – 4
Contributed nothing on the attack as you’d expect. Our midfield was far too defensive.

Pratley – 6
Probably our best player but his team-mates was making his job much harder.

Robinson – 5
Too selfish, seemed to do everything himself but in the first half he looked like the only player who would score for us.

Knight – 5
Scored one but was provided with no service at all. Fallon didn’t help him either.

Fallon – 4
Did nothing in the first half but everyone was lumping high balls up to him so all he was doing throughout the game was trying to win flick-ons.

Kenny Jackett:
“It was disappointing, they sat back but we didn’t exploit the space and our passing was too long,”

“There were defensive lapses and we let in two poor, very sloppy goals.

“But we had chances and didn’t deserve to lose. We know we can play a lot better. We don’t necessarily need new faces – those here must work harder.”

John Ward, Cheltenham boss:
“Without being disrespectful, even the hard-core Cheltenham fans would have thought this was a difficult day to get a win,”

“We lost three players during the game, and had to change the shape against what is a very good team, who put us under enormous pressure at times.

“But we stood firm. We were solid early on, and then we broke with pace.”