After an excellent October, Swansea City continued their impressive form during a busy November, which consisted of 6 League games and 1 Carling Cup match.
After joining on loan, goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos made his debut away at Doncaster and it took him less than 90 minutes to impress the fans with a late penalty save – something Dorus De Vries still hasn’t achieved with us. The Greek’s save kept the scores at 0-0.
We then faced Watford twice in the space of 3 days, beating them comfortable 3-1 in the League at home but we lost 1-0 in the Carling Cup, missing an opportunity to host Tottenham in the next round.
A quick flurry of goals gave us a 3-2 win away at Norwich City before suffering our first home victory of the season against Birmingham City. The Swans looked good against one of the favourites to win automatic promotion. We were leading 2-1 but substitute Kevin Phillips came on with 15 minutes remaining to score a quick brace.
It was also the game where we lost Ferrie Bodde for the rest of the season after he suffered a knee ligament injury.
Owain Tudur-Jones stepped into the Dutchman’s boots for the next game at Coventry, whilst de Vries donned a mask to make his return. Jordi Gomez’s free – kick looked like it might be enough for a win, but de Vries was helpless to stop a late Danny Fox free kick. The first of a sequence of draws that is still to be ended.
The Bluebirds were in town for the next league game, at the ridiculously early time of 11:15 for the biggest derby in Wales, Britain, Europe, the world?
Darren Pratley got the Jack’s off to a flyer; cue compulsory swim-away impression. But from then on Cardiff really did start to take control, and after equalising before half – time through Joe Ledley, converted a dubious penalty the other side of the break to take the lead. Things really were looking bleak until Stephen McPhail kindly booted the ball away for no apparent reason and made his way to the Liberty Stadium showers early once again. Gorka Pintado scored a cracking volley from MacDonald’s corner to salvage a point, and it should have been three as Cardiff looked to hold out for the draw. Bragging rights not quite shared, as we had won in the League Cup. Technically, still the best team in Wales!
Best Match – Swansea 2-2 Cardiff City
Month performance rating – 7/10 – 2 defeats and 2 League wins but we were 4 places from last month.
December, we drew every game, all 6 of them as we struggled to break down Bristol City, Coventry City and Birmingham City who all held out for 0-0 draws. We were probably the better side in all 6, but we didn’t win the games we should, and all these draws in the end proved to be the difference between 6th and 8th.
Jason Scotland scored both our goals in the 2-2 home draw against Barnsley but his second was a 90th minute equaliser.
The striker was on the mark again against Sheffield United, but his strike was cancelled out just 3 minutes from time.
Blackpool was a similar situation as a pattern emerged, his goal on 67 minutes was cancelled short afterwards and it was another draw for Martinez’s side.
After the Seasiders it was 2 games over the Christmas period, a 0-0 draw at Coventry on Boxing Day and another at Birmingham 2 days later.
As a result of all those draws, which set us a new record for most consecutive draws, saw us return to mid-table and 6 points adrift of the play-offs.
Ashley Williams won the site poll for most improved player for 2008, followed by Darren Pratley and Joe Allen.
Best Match – Swansea 2 Barnsley 2