Tuesday 23rd September, the Carling Cup 3rd round, a 1-0 win against rivals Cardiff City will live long in the memory of Swansea City fans.
The fixture had been 9 years in the waiting but it was worth the wait as the Swans fully deserved their win and entry into the 4th round draw of the League Cup. It was an exhilarating game from start to finish with a breathtaking atmosphere thanks to the Swans faithful.
Jordi Gomez was the hero of the night, curling in a low free-kick from 20 yards in-between the wall early in the second half as the Liberty Stadium erupted with a roar of cheers and delight from the home fans. The atmosphere has been somewhat lacking at times at the Liberty but tonight was simply incredible, deafening even.
Roberto Martinez made a few changes from Saturday`s side that drew 1-1 at home to Burnley. Wingers Tom Butler and Mark Gower seemed to have a rest on the weekend and returned to the starting line-up. Darren Pratley and Marcos Painter were missing from the squad as Spanish duo Fede Bessone and Jordi Gomez replaced them. Jason Scotland also got his place back up front on his own.
It was Cardiff that started off the better side, they kicked off and had a good 10 minute spell, passing the ball amongst themselves with confidence as we struggled to get into our stride.
The visitors could have been 2-0 up within the first 20 minutes or so. MacPhail had the first golden chance, heading over the bar after a good run into the box at the far post. Joe Ledley then went close but Ashley Williams did well to block his shot from close range.
The Swans finally got some rhythm into their play and we started to maintain possession for long periods. Rangel and Gower were linking up well down the right flank and the Spaniard got into an excellent position near the byeline, he tried pulling the ball back to Jason Scotland in the box but he was outnumbered and the Cardiff defence easily cleared.
We began to dominate now and Bodde and Britton were particularly excellent in the middle of the park. Gomez also added a bit of attacking flair in midfield, which maybe we have been missing so far this season.
The loanee had our best chance so far in the game, doing well to volley inside the penalty area but Enckleman was equal to it and made a good save.
Cardiff were trying to hit us on the break when they could but Monk and Williams remained strong and particularly the latter was winning every ball in the air.
Our dominance wasn`t paying off though and our rivals had an excellent chance to punish us near the half-hour mark. Our offside trap was beaten as a Cardiff player run on to a through ball down the left, but a low shot was well saved by the feet of De Vries and luckily Williams was there to clear in front of a gaping open goal.
Jason Scotland was having one of his better games up front and he too had a few decent efforts on goal. He hit the side netting near the end of the first half and in the second he had a penalty appeal turned down. Roger Johnson didn`t make contact with the ball but it would have been harsh for the referee to award the spot kick in that situation to be fair.
It was a typical Swansea performance really, dominating possession and we were playing some fantastic one-touch pass and move football. It really was a joy to watch at times and thankfully we got the goal that we deserved on 57 minutes.
Gomez made a run towards the penalty box but he was brought down and he won the free-kick just a few yards outside the box. The Spaniard stepped up, found a gap in the Cardiff wall to curl a shot beyond the keeper and into the bottom left-hand corner.
The noise level within the Stadium was already thunderous but it reached an all-time high when that goal went in.
Martinez`s side hardly took their feet off the gas as they kept up their pace and flowing attacking football. The game was never safe with just the one-goal and we`ve been guilty before of not winning games convincingly.
Our continued dominance meant Cardiff hardly had the chance to score the equalising goal.
We were given a boost during the second half as the referee gave MacPhail his marching orders after receiving his second booking for a needless foul on Gomez. The Spaniard was surely the most-fouled player on the pitch which proves how much of a threat he was during the game.
Butler went close to doubling our lead, sliding in at the far post but the ball flew wide of the target. Martinez then made his first change, replacing the injured Mark Gower and bringing on Gorka Pintado.
The former Grenada CF striker wasn`t highly involved in our play but he did have an effort going just over the bar following a good counter attack from the Swans.
The referee finally blew his full time whistle to give us a memorable win over our rivals Cardiff City and we`ll be looking to put more misery on the Bluebirds supporters when we meet again in the Championship in November.
Swansea: De Vries, Williams, Monk, Bessone, Rangel, Bodde, Britton, Gower (Pintado 66), Gomez, Butler, Scotland (Brandy 85).
Subs Not Used: Tate, Orlandi, Tudur-Jones, Serran, Krysiak.
Goals: Gomez 57.
Cardiff: Enckelman, McNaughton, Purse, Roger Johnson, Comminges, Ledley (Whittingham 64), McPhail, Rae, Parry, Bothroyd, Eddie Johnson (McCormack 46).
Subs Not Used: Heaton, Kennedy, Blake, Morris, Dennehy.
Sent Off: McPhail (75).
Booked: Ledley, McPhail, Whittingham, McCormack, Comminges.
Ref: Alan Wiley (Staffordshire).
De Vries – 7
One good save to make but little else to do.
Rangel – 8
Got forward well and solid defensively.
Monk – 8
Williams – 8
Continuing to prove what a superb signing he is. Won everything in the air and made some vital blocks and tackles.
Bessone – 7
A decent performance from Bessone and will definitely add competition for the left back place. Got forward a lot more than Painter does.
Butler – 7
Not one his best performances this season but still not a bad one. Had a few decent chances.
Bodde – 8
Superb again, excellent long range passing and did well not to get sent off in this derby!!
Britton – 9
A class above, superb. Won tackles, never stopped for 94 minutes and was everywhere.
Gomez – 8
Got the vital winning goal and looked impressive whenever he had the ball. Has a sweet left foot and was fouled constantly, proving he was a threat all game.
Gower – 8
His best game in a Swansea shirt and was disappointing to see him go off injured.
Scotland – 8
Probably his best game this season. A better first touch than we usually see from him and Cardiff struggled to cope with his strength.