Bodde Keeps Swans Marching On
Tuesday, 12th Feb 2008 21:35
Ferrie Bodde strikes the only goal of the game to give the Swans victory over Walsall
The Swans yet again ended the record of a side who, before tonight, had suffered just one league defeat in nineteen and at the same time extended their own winning run to nine in the league at home and 15 unbeaten overall to maintain their eight point lead at the top.
More importantly they retained their 12 point lead over third place although that 3rd place is now held by Carlisle rather than Nottingham Forest who were held to a draw by Leeds United.
And with the form that the Swans are in it seems now merely a case of when, rather than if, they gain promotion to the Championship as the season tally went to 64 points from 30 games. Indeed you could argue that just seven more wins could be enough to seal a return to the second flight of English football for the first time since 1984.
And you know that everything is going your way when your influential Dutch midfielder seems certain to miss the rest of this game as a bare minimum but a mere four minutes later has recovered enough to get up and score the only goal from 25 yards. Ladies and Gentlemen this is Ferrie Bodde - we have the power to rebuild him. Bodde was down and out and the stretcher was in evidence as he went down heavily under challenge but with Bauza stripped and ready Ferrie wasn't finished and recovered enough to grab what was another goal in a line of impressive goals and netting yours truly some cash in the process. Again.
It is very easy to see from the performance as well why Walsall don't lose many but at the same time why they don't win many either. 10 of the nineteen games mentioned above had finished in stalemate and this one was heading in the same direction as they stifled the Swans in midfield and closed down pretty much everything - a tactic that clearly has bought them the results this season.
But this Swans side are patient and wait for their openings to come and they could, and should, have doubled their winning margin had Darren Pratley not failed from the penalty spot - the Swans achillies heel this season - ten minutes from time.
As expected, Alan Tate came into the starting line up because of the injury to Dennis Lawrence but Marcos Painter returned from suspension to take his place at left back. Darren Pratley was recalled to the now familiar three man midfield with Scotland supported up front by the width of Robinson and Butler.
Rangel Monk Tate Painter
Britton Bodde Pratley
Swansea did struggle to break down a dogged Walsall side in the first half and in truth the best chances of the half probably fell to the visitors although they were nothing more than half chances and Doris was never forced into a save of note (bar one "for the cameras") The Swans were denied an obvious penalty when a ball across the box from Butler was handled - a claim that everyone seemed to see bar the people who make the decisions on these things and the chance went astray. The Swans were having plenty of possession during this period but were able to create little as Walsall defended well and never allowed the Swans the space that they so badly craved. At the back, the Swans were pretty much confident of what they were trying to achieve with very few periods of worry through the defence keeping the score to a goalless half.
There were no changes at half time as the Swans seemed to start with a little more urgency and the second half was littered with some real neat interlinking football from the Swans. Scotland was combining well with the midfield and Robinson was coming more into the game as the Swans looked for the most to build on the goal that Bodde scored - created by some good work on the left hand side involving Painter, Scotland and Robinson.
The goal broke up Walsall slightly and they were forced to chase the game leaving more holes for the Swans to exploit as they looked for a second. Bodde, Britton and Pratley were now in control of the midfield and were bringing others into play as both Painter and Rangel were afforded more opportunities to join the attack then they had done in the first half.
The penalty should have given the Swans the chance to end the game although it has to be said it appeared a generous penalty. Surprisingly perhaps it was Pratley who stepped up to take it and his shot was saved by the legs of Ince and the ball flew over the bar to safety. Thankfully though it didn't matter and despite a few half scares the rest of the game passed without chances of note for either side and the three points were a welcome relief to the Swans who took their tally to an impressive 39 points from the last 45 available.
It remains great times to be a Swans fan and as the rest of the sides below the top 2 stutter and stumble the Swans and Doncaster march on and seemingly both seem destined for Championship football next term.
MARTINEZ BARMY ARMY!
Photo: Action Images
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