Goals from substitutes Lee Trundle and Tom Butler gave 9-man Swansea City their first home League win of the season against Sheffield United this afternoon at the Liberty Stadium.
The performance still was far from the best from Sousa’s side but the all-important thing is that we ended our winless run and got our first three points on home soil.
Again, the Swansea boss made changes to his side as he had to deal with injuries to Andrea Orlandi, Leon Britton and Cedric Van Der Gun. Therefore it was a surprise to see Ashley Williams starting as a defensive midfielder, but it proved to be an excellent decision as he helped to minimise the threat from the Blades.
Fede Bessone returned at left back along with Mark Gower. Ferrie Bodde was back in the starting eleven but he was soon replaced by Lee Trundle after suffering an early injury – barely kicking a ball in his first start in 10 months.
We lined up:
Rangel – Monk – Tate – Bessone
Dyer – Lopez – Bodde – Gower
The first half was one to forget really. Neither side were able to create any clear cut chances on goal and both goalkeepers had a quiet first 45 minutes.
Nathan Dyer was keen to impress against his former club and he certainly did that. His skill and trickery caused problems from start to finish and he linked up nicely with Angel Rangel down the right flank.
With the first half over, we were all hoping for a big improvement in the second half, and while the performance didn’t increase in quality much, the scoreline did for the Swans.
Jordi Lopez, who has been criticised by the fans lately for his poor performances was having one of his better games today, and it was the Spaniard who helped us get a goal in front. His ball through to Trundle resulted in us getting a penalty, and the scouser stepped up and placed the ball into the bottom right corner, before sprinting over to the fans to show his delight at scoring again at the Liberty Stadium in a white shirt.
Sheffield United stepped up a few gears now and we sat back and invited them to attack our penalty area. We were under pressure and you felt that an equaliser was coming, and it nearly did shortly after we took the lead.
The visitors had the ball in the back of the net but thankfully it was ruled out for offside, but on 73 minutes they got the equaliser their dominance deserved.
The Blades attacked down the wing, the ball came to Quinn and 6 yards out he cleverly flicked the ball home to put the scores level again.
Jordi Lopez was then shown red for two challenges for which he picked up two bookings and a sending off, giving us a big hinderance as we looked to hang on for a point.
Amazingly though, while it looked like we were going to hang on for a share of the points, Tom Butler came on to win us the game. After a superb forward bursting run from Ashley Williams, the ball fell to the winger, 25 yards out, he shot low at goal, despite lacking any power, it was placed perfectly, going in off the post to put us, quite unbelievably, in front.
Sheffield United were given opportunities to put the scores level again. Firstly, they were given “Fergie-time” as I called it. 6 minutes of injury from nowhere, plus we then found ourselves down to 9 men. After a man of the match performance from Dyer, he ruined it but a moment of stupidity really. The visitors won a free-kick, the ball was placed to take it but Dyer decided to kick the ball back to where he thought it should have been taken from, it’s an automatic yellow card for that sort of thing, and he was off for his second of the game.
We held on, and although it was a poor performance for the Swans, we dug deep, defended well and gave ourselves a big confidence boost by picking up a very important win.