Swansea City escaped from an embarrassing defeat at home to struggling Walsall as substitute Adebayo Akinfenwa scored an equaliser 2 minutes from time.
It was another big game today that we needed to win as 3 points would have seen us go 3rd, two points behind Brentford in 2nd, who we play on Friday at home.
Despite the headlines on the back of the Evening Post yesterday, Lee Trundle was fit to play and Fallon was back alongside him after being cup tied in midweek.
New loan signing Keith Lowe was surprisingly on the bench despite Jackett’s best efforts to try and sign a new defender before today’s game. Instead, Tate was at centre back with Monk, with Forbes keeping his place at right back.
Ricketts was on the bench as he was in need of a rest and Williams also returned after being cup tied on Tuesday. Martinez was finally back in the side after a spell on the subs bench.
So we lined up:
Forbes ? Tate ? Monk ? Williams
Britton ? Martinez ? Way ? Robinson
Fallon ? Trundle
We started the game quite well as we attacked continually in the first 10 minutes or so.
We were often using the right side to create chances as Robinson was always coming into the centre, giving Williams a lack of support when he fancied a run down the left flank.
Our defence though were giving the opposition far too much room to run into with their wingers especially being unmarked on many occasions.
On 18 minutes though, we went a goal down when the linesman near the West Stand flagged for a foul by Williams and he was then booked for dissent. Myself and many others thought it was the wrong decision but Tom’s protests got him nowhere. Our defence was half asleep yet again at a set piece, Devlin was unmarked just inside the box and all he had to do was strike the ball in from the low cross to give the Saddler’s a 1-goal lead.
This certainly affected our attacking style of play, as we didn’t have one at all for the remainder of the game really. We were clueless when entering the last third of the field. Forbes clearly doesn’t support Britton half as well as Tate does and they just weren’t overlapping each other well at all.
Rory Fallon should really have got the scores level with 10 or so minutes remaining. Trundle found Robinson on the left and his low cross found Fallon but he couldn’t stretch far enough to make contact with the ball from 2 yards out.
Robinson then hit the post and Britton was unable to head in the rebound.
The Saddlers also had a great chance to double their lead. Gueret made the wrong decision to come way off his line, the Walsall player rounded Gueret but Tate got back well to clear his soft shot.
At half time we needed to buck up our ideas if we were going to even get a point today. Jackett made the first of 3 changes at the start of the second half, Knight replaced Britton, the striker played on the right wing to keep the formation at 4-4-2 ? this meant he wasn’t much of a threat during the next 45 minutes.
Our flowing attacking style of football just wasn’t there and hasn’t been in action down White Rock for months now as again we struggled to break down a tough Walsall defence.
Lee Trundle was often trying to do things his own way and more often than not he was losing possession after being crowded by 3 or even 4 defenders.
As the half went on, the fans were calling out for Akinfenwa to make an appearance and he did just after the hour mark. Kenny made a double change, Fallon went off for Bayo and Ricketts came on for Forbes.
We showed a slight improvement following the two changes, Akinfenwa’s physical presence created problems and you could he was working hard to show he has a worthy place in the team.
Knight also had a few efforts from wide on the left but they didn’t bring their keeper into making any saves.
Despite the match stats, we dominated possession for large periods but long balls over the top and Walsall could have extended their lead on a few occasions. Gueret made a few good saves to keep the deficit down to just one.
Our slight improvement following the subs got us a goal as Akinfenwa got us an equaliser with just 2 minutes remaining. His shot at goal was deflected and the ball curled into the net to send the quiet crowd into raptures as we urged the Swans to get a winner.
The last 5 minutes saw play better and create more chances than we did for the first 85 minutes. Akinfenwa could won it for us but his close range shot was well saved by the keeper’s leg.
It would have devastating from Walsall’s point of view to lose this one as today’s point against another side in the top 6 gives them a boost of confidence they need to stay in League One.
Swansea on the other hand see promotion even more unlikely now after being unable to end their run of 5 consecutive draws with a win.
We face a much tougher game on Friday as we play 2nd placed Brentford at the Liberty Stadium. Jackett again will be criticised for starting line-up, Fallon must be on the bench whilst Lowe has to play to sort out our terrible defence.
Discuss today’s game with other fans on the forum here.
Check out the Match Stats of the game here
Post Match Reaction
Willy Gueret 6
Decent enough game, made some important saves to keep the score at 1-0.
Adrian Forbes 5
Didn’t really do anything going forward.
Garry Monk 5
Gave Walsall far too much space and should have done better with their goal.
Alan Tate 5
Just like Monk (above)
Tommy Williams 5
Stupid to get booked, harsh decision though with the foul which resulted in their goal. Not as good going forward as usual.
Leon Britton 5
Lacked support from Forbes, he was too relied upon for our attacks in first half and couldn’t really cope with the pressure he was put under.
Roberto Martinez 6
Tried to keep the play on the floor which suits our attacking game.
Darren Way 4
Rather anonymous for the whole game.
Andy Robinson 5
Provided no width on the left, always coming into the centre. Was involved in a lot our attacks.
Rory Fallon 4
Didn’t do too badly supporting Trundle and other players with the ball, it’s what he does in front of goal that’s the problem.
Lee Trundle 5
Far too selfish, couldn’t cope with the crowd of defenders he was always up against. Should have passed a lot more.