Swansea City recovered from last week`s 4-0 drubbing at Reading in fantastic style, beating Preston 2-0 on Tuesday night and knocking Wolves off top spot with a 3-1 victory over McCarthy`s side at the Liberty Stadium.
It wasn`t the best of starts to new life in the second tier of English football, we found it difficult to convert our chances into goals, while at the back we looked shaky, particularly at set pieces.
Today however we proved that we are a capable Championship side but consistency will be the key this year.
Wolves arrived at the Liberty Stadium as impressive league leaders, winning 7 of their opening 9 games, scoring 23 goals in the process, but they`ve now experienced a bit of a blip, losing 3-0 at home to Reading in midweek and conceding another 3 goals in today`s defeat.
Roberto Martinez made three changes to the side that beat Preston in midweek. Pratley returned from injury to replace the suspended Ferrie Bodde while Orlandi finally had the opportunity to impress in the League, he started in place of Butler. Scotland returned up front after missing the last couple of games as Pintado found himself back on the subs bench.
A 17,500 crowd at the Liberty Stadium was boosted by a large away following of around 2,400. They were vocal up until kick off but were silenced 30 seconds later by a superb individual goal from Jordi Gomez. While the fans still made their way into the stadium, the Spaniard got himself into a good shooting position on the edge of the box and drilled home a low shot into the right corner. It was a good, quick attacking move early which started down the right wing with Rangel and Orlandi linking up. Scotland was also involved somewhere in the proceedings, assisting Gomez`s strike.
McCarthy`s responded well and looked for an immediate equaliser. They dominated the next 15 minutes which resulted in them getting that goal. A simple but effective one-two saw Keogh making his way into the box, and with no pressure from our defence, he had a rather easy task of putting the ball past goalkeeper De Vries from short range.
The visitors started to show glimpses of some neat and quality play that has seen them start the season so well but it was becoming obvious they were missing their main dangermen like Ebanks-Blake and top scorer Chris Iwelumo.
Despite of that, they were finding it quite easy to pass the ball amongst themselves as our defence weren`t closing them down quick enough as they enjoyed far too much time and space in possession.
The Swans had a great chance to put themselves back in the lead 10 minutes after Keogh`s goal. A Wolves defender made a poor back pass and Scotland managed to get an effort on goal but he saw his shot cleared off the line.
It was end to end stuff at this stage with both sides getting forward and creating chances. Keogh really should have got a brace but he missed the target from the same distance as he got his first goal.
With around 10 minutes of the first half remaining, Mark Gower thought he had got his first goal in a Swansea shirt but his strike was ruled out for offside. Andrea Orlandi was having a good game on the right wing and he did well to spray a pass to Gower on the opposite wing. He did what he always like to do, cutting inside from the left before getting a low shot on goal, it flew in low past the keeper and into his bottom left corner, and while Gower sprinted off to the East to celebrate, the linesman`s flag was raised for offside. We were all bemused at the decision, but it looked like Gomez got a touch to the ball in the box.
Despite disappointment at the late decision to disallow the goal, the signs were promising as we looked like we could score a few goals, something we haven`t seen too often so far this year.
We continued to create chances as we looked to regain the lead. Scotland was having by far his best performance in recent memory for the Swans, he saw a header hit the bar and moments later he got his second goal of the season. It was deserved, especially after having a goal disallowed and hitting the woodwork.
Martinez`s side were treating the 15,500 Swans fans with an excellent display and they upped their game even more in the second half and dominated the next 45 minutes.
It was a complete performance after the break, and at last we managed to go on and convincingly win a game by a decent margin.
12 minutes after the restart, Scotland scored his second of the game, and what a goal it was by last season`s top scorer. With his back to goal, he turned his marker with a brilliant flick of the ball before surging into the box, and using his strength he was able to get a superb powerful low shot into the corner of the goal. He was clearly thrilled by his fantastic individual effort and was booked for over-celebrating, having made his way over to the fans in the South Stand.
With a healthy looking 2-goal margin, Martinez looked to protect the lead and made his first change by bringing on Tudur-Jones to replace Orlandi to add some extra stability in midfield. Pintado also arrived onto the field 8 minutes later to replace Scotland.
Angel Rangel was getting forward well and causing problems down the right wing, and fellow full back Painter was also contributing in our attacks.
Swansea`s continuous attacks on goal meant Wolves found it difficult to get a foot-hold of the game and to forge a comeback as De Vries had little to do in the second half.
Leon Britton was impressive as ever, and his ball-winning and play making prowess was vital to our win today. He had a chance late on and went on a superb run from just inside the opposition`s half, but by the time he made his way into the box he only had the energy to strike a powerless shot into the keeper`s hands.
Wolves created a few worries for us in the last 10 minutes, but scoring 2 goals late on was never likely to happen and the referee blew his full time whistle.
It was a complete performance from the Swans and while previously we have struggled to convert chances into goals and win games convincingly, that wasn`t a problem for us this afternoon and it could easily have been 4 or 5. If we continue to perform like that this season, there`s no reason to rule out our chances of the play-offs this year but it`s still very early days.
De Vries – 7
Little to do but did well when called upon. Made 2 fantastic saves, denying Wolves a chance to equalise.
Rangel – 8
Got forward brilliantly in the second half and defending was solid.
Monk – 7
Struggled along with Williams to begin with as Wolves had the better of the first 15 minutes or so.
Williams – 7
Painter – 8
Was solid throughout, got forward more than he usually does and linked up well with Orlandi.
Gower – 8
He’s continuing to improve and was very unlucky not to get his first goal which was a cracker. Excellent on the wing and caused problems particularly in the second half.
Pratley – 8
Great to see him back in the starting line-up, his and Britton’s performance meant we didn’t miss Bodde in the middle.
Britton – 9
Yet again contender for man of the match. He was everywhere, wins the ball many times, battles hard and creates a lot of attacking play.
Gomez – 8
Had a quiet start to the season but along with the likes of Orlandi and Gower, he’s improving game by game, an excellent signing by Martinez and an impressive goal after just 25 seconds!
Orlandi – 8
Despite his lack of game time this season, he impressed on the right wing in place of Butler, who could find his place there under threat from the Spaniard.
Scotland – 9
His best game for a long while, scored 2, made 1 and hit the bar. Caused a lot of problems throughout as Wolves struggled to cope with his strength. He’s now proved he can hack it at this level.