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Cheltenham 1 Swansea 2
Cheltenham 1 Swansea 2
Sunday, 16th Sep 2007 00:00

Swans Come From Behind Again

Cheltenham v Swansea

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This was a Jekyll and Hyde Swansea City performance as they came from behind yet again to pick up another 3 vital points on the promotion trail and in doing so catapulted themselves into 4th place in League One but six points adfrift of the surprising early season pace setters Leyton Orient.

A disappointing attendance of just 4300 welcomed the sides onto the pitch including over 1100 who had travelled to support the Swans who made just the one enforced change from the win over Carlisle United, Kristian O'Leary coming into the central midfield role for his first League start of the campaign to replace promising youngster Joe Allen who was ruled out by an injury received whilst making his full League debut.

It was however Cheltenham who started the more positively forcing the Swans to defend and none to convincingly either with Austin, especially guilty of giving away possession cheaply with his over eagerness to clear his lines. Taking the game to a lacklustre Swans outfit Cheltenham took an early lead when the otherwise impressive Monk was beaten to a header which fell between Lawrence and keeper De Vries with the result that hesitation between the two helped winger Vincent to get to the ball first before he slotted coolly beyond De Vries and into the corner of the net in front of the silenced Swansea fans.

The first 30 minutes saw the home side well on top and for lengthy periods pinned the Swans back to the extent that it was 35 minutes before a meaningful attack from the visitors which saw Andy Robinson and then Jason Scotland try their luck from distance with two very good efforts.

A subdued Swansea contingent was becoming restless, realising in the main that the central midfield partnership of Pratley, who was out of sorts again and O'Leary was not functioning properly with neither at that point being able to make a mark on the proceedings with Pratley in particular guilty of giving the ball away too easily and too often. The ball was the proverbial hot potatoe in the first half which would have bemused the unhappy Martinez who likes his players to get on the ball with confidence to assert their authority which clearly was not happening.

1-0 down at half time and the expected changes were made with Pratley making way for Butler who went to the right wing spot allowing Britton to move alongside O'Leary with the result that the Swans instantly started to play a quality of foootball which was missing for the opening 45 minutes. Painter replaced Austin which brought a better balance to the left side.

The now more fluent football being played by Swansea resulted in a well executed goal from Scotland who again worked hard demonstrating his willingness to get a shot away at every given opportunuiy occassionaly to the frustration of strike partner Duffy who continued to make his runs. It was a ball through from Rangel who had another good game which found Scotland who struck his shot firmly past Higgs despite to pleas from the home defence that the offside flag should have been shown.

Swansea continued to make the running with Rangel and Scotland both going close before Robinson checked inside with a trademark move and shot past a diving Higgs low and hard into the corner of the net with 20 minutes still left on the clock. A second half then largely dominated by the Swans although a moments panic in the defence allowed ex Swan Connor who has gone 18 League games without a goal to get a shot away which was well saved by De Vries.

To summarise then a very poor and disappointing opening half from the Swans with a second half showing indicating that there is every reason for optimism this season when some decent football was played. It was Swansea who finished the stronger of the two sides as Scotland looked to improve further on his healthy return of 4 League goals to date.

Its Leeds next up at Elland Road. Their 100% record must end at some point. And with the return of Bodde do not rule out an end to that record this weekend.

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