Swansea City go up into the play-offs for the first time this season thanks to their goal difference and tonight’s 1-0 home win against Plymouth Argyle.
Jason Scotland’s second half penalty was enough to give us a vital 3 points, giving us a huge boost as we look to finish in the top 6 this season.
Roberto Martinez made more changes to his starting line-up. Mark Gower was missing from the 16-man squad again, as Tom Butler and Nathan Dyer were back in the side. Joe Allen and Guillem Bauza were also dropped to the bench as Pratley made his first start since January.
Paul Sturrock’s side arrived at the Liberty Stadium with irritating and negative tactics, picking up 6 yellow cards and an FA fine in the process.
They came for a point and to continue their unbeaten run to 5 games as the Swans struggled to break down a very defensive side.
We had a scare early on as Ashley Williams nearly gifted the visitors the lead with just a few minutes played. The defender was dispossessed by Ashley Barnes in a dangerous position but Dorus De Vries made an excellent save to keep the scores level.
It was a scrappy from us but nevertheless we were dominating possession, as we usually do at the Liberty Stadium.
We were causing problems down the flanks as Tom Butler in particular was finding it easy to beat his marker down the left. Tate also got forward well a few times to help out in attack.
The Swans won 2 or 3 free-kicks in shooting positions, Jordi Gomez struck the bar from one of them – our best chance in the first half.
Leon Britton also had a good chance to score a rare goal while the Plymouth keeper was forced to make saves from Angel Rangel and Jason Scotland before the break.
The Swans began the second half brightly, Alan Tate forced an early save from goalkeeper Larrieu before Scotland was provided a chance. He got past a couple of defenders but his shot was driven wide of the target.
Jordi Gomez was then given another opportunity to shoot at goal from a set piece. After hitting the woodwork in the first half, this time his effort was brilliantly saved and out for a corner.
As the game went on and with chance after chance going begging, you began to wonder if we’d get that all-important goal or we’d draw for the fourth time in a row.
Finally it did come, with 14 minutes remaining. Shortly after Pintado came on for Dyer, we won a penalty kick after having appeals for one rejected earlier on in the game. Larrieu could only parry a shot, he went chasing for the loose ball but Gomez got there first and was brought down by the visiting shot stopper. Of course, Scotland stepped up to take it, looking for his 50th goal in just his 97th game for the Swans. Like Scotland does, he calmly slotted the ball home from 12 yards, sending the keeper the wrong way to give us an important lead, one that sends us up into the play-offs for the first time this season.
Plymouth caused a few nervous moments for the hosts, with a couple of corners late, we managed to clear them and at the other end, the Pilgrims were lucky not to score an own goal as we looked to put the game beyond any doubt.
We held on for the win, and hopefully now we can keep this going and get another 3 points on Saturday when we’re home again, this time against Neil Warnock’s Crystal Palace.
Match Stats here
Match Photos thanks to Paul Owen. Click the photos for more.
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“We are in the top six and that is a reflection on our second-half performance.”
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‘I’m disappointed, I don’t think we deserved to lose the game.
For more views from Sturrock, Click here