Swansea City came up against more Premiership opposition this afternoon as Roy Hodgson’s Fulham side provided another top flight test for Roberto Martinez’s side.
The Swans boss says promotion to the Premiership couldn’t possibly come too soon for the club and while some fans would argue we’re not fully prepared for a season with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United, today we proved that we can cope perfectly well with top flight opposition.
In the previous round, Swansea City beat Portsmouth 2-0 on their own patch but Pompey were struggling under previous boss Tony Adams, while today Fulham provided a much tougher test for us.
We passed again with flying colours even though the result didn’t reflect how the match panned out.
Martinez made just the one change to his side, as Angel Rangel returned to right back after serving a one-match ban.
You could say Fulham had more of the ball following their kick off, but it was the home side who created an excellent goal scoring opportunity after just 3 minutes.
Left winger Mark Gower was looking very lively and he teamed up brilliantly with Jason Scotland. Tate provided Gower with the ball, he made an excellent one-two with Scotland who got him in a great position inside the penalty area. Gower struck with his left foot but his shot came back off the post and into the keeper’s arms.
The Swans continue to enjoy their dominant possession and our next clear cut chance came around the 23rd minute mark. It was Gower again with our best chance yet to open the scoring.
The former Southend winger has been desperate to score his first goal for the club and he won’t get a better chance than this one. Gomez picked out Rangel’s forward run down the right and his cross found Gower unmarked at the far post, but with 6 yards out his shot is saved by the goalkeeper.
Swansea City’s excellent passing play would have impressed the people watching on ITV as Fulham struggled to create a chance until 40 minutes. Dorus De Vries was called into action at last. Nevland flicked the ball on but de Vries came out quickly to slide in and claim the ball and Andy Johnson’s feet.
When we looked like going in at the break still goalless, Fulham took the lead from a corner. An in-swinging cross came in from the right, it was missed by De Vries but it deflected off Monk and went in as our captain conceded an unlucky own goal.
Martinez’s side maintained their first half dominance after the restart and we nearly equalised after 5 minutes from the restart. Again, Scotland and Gower linked up well but Gower’s left footed volley was well saved.
2 minutes later and we grabbed a deserved equaliser. Gower is involved again as he provides the ball to Scotland, he does a lovely little drag back and with his back to goal he turns his marker before unleashing an excellent left footed drive into the bottom corner.
From that point on, there only looked like being one winner but Fulham defended in numbers and prevented the Swans from taking the lead.
Orlandi came on to replace Allen and he laid the ball for Gomez to shoot just over while Nathan Dyer had a great chance but he shot wide following Rangel’s cross.
Swansea City will be hugely proud of themselves today. They were immense for most of the game and would have impressed a lot of people watching on ITV today. We proved again we can cope with Premiership opposition and while it’ll be tough at Fulham, we’ll definitely fancy our chances of progressing through to the quarter finals.
De Vries – 7
Should take blame for their goal but other than that had little to do.
Rangel – 8
See star player.
Monk – 7
Unlucky for the own goal as he was mostly strong during the game.
Williams – 7
Cleared up the loose balls well and dealt with everything that came his way.
Tate – 7
Solid most of the time but was sometimes over ambitious with his long range shots at goal.
Britton – 8
Typical Britton really, solid, determined and maintained possession for us well.
Allen – 8
Another impressive performance. He’s only 18 and I wonder now what he has to do to get in the Welsh squad. Can pass brilliantly, can tackle and showed some great skill today.
Gomez – 8
Was Pleat’s man of the match today, I didn’t agree with but he played well. Not the best today at his set pieces but he got the ball out wide well.
Gower – 8
He must wonder what he has to do to score. He linked up brilliantly with Scotland and had two great chances to score, and he should have from 6 yards out.
Dyer – 8
Very lively out wide and it looked easy for him to beat his marker time and time again.
Scotland – 8
Did little in the first half but in the second he scored a superb goal, showed superb strength and laid the ball off well to his team-mates.