FA Cup 1st Round Replay – Bristol City 1 Swansea City 0 – Tuesday, 26th November 1996
Match report by Richard Major
That pretty much sums up the game. After they scored with just 18 seconds gone I had fears of a total humiliation but, fortunately, in the first half they had no real chances in front of goal despite having nearly all the possession. Our only real chance in the first half fell to either Torpey or Penney (I couldn’t tell whether it was an 8 or 9 from the other end) who managed to miss a completely open goal after a Heggs cross. I really hope whoever it was slipped as they went for the ball to skew it so wide otherwise they really have no excuse.
The second half was much more interesting and I still don’t know how we managed not to force extra time. The half began with some of the most blatant time-wasting ever seen in professional football. A Bristol player went down injured and despite the fact he could still walk it took him five minutes at least to get treated and then wander very slowly to the edge of the pitch. Normally the stretcher bearers are on within seconds but they were suspiciously slow today. Then, after all that, just as play is about to resume, the manager decides that the walking wounded cannot carry on and will have to be susbstituted. We then wait while the sub gets all his tracksuit gear off and there’s a frantic hunt for the right numbers to be found and shown. The ref was useless throughout the game but this was one of his finer moments.
After that, Swansea began to really fight back. We had loads of possession and lots of chances but there always seemed to be one Bristol player left over on the goal line to clear the ball. How we never scored I don’t know. The game went at quite a frantic pace and this seemed to spill over into off-the-ball incidents. There had been a few niggles but it was the arrival of Dai “Psycho” Thomas which really triggered things. He wasn’t long on the pitch before he got involved with the Bristol goalkeeper who hadn’t released the ball quickly enough for a corner to be taken.
The team frustrations spilled over into the crowd which led to complete police & steward overreaction. One person maliciously threw a missile (cunningly disguised as a Sainsbury’s carrier bag full of newspaper confetti I think) towards the pitch which nearly hit a steward. The police, always quick to stop trouble(!), dived in to arrest the dangerous criminal but this achieved little other than inciting more trouble. I reckon we must have had half of Bristol Constabulary in the away stand by the end of the match.
Apart from the result, there were a few things to cheer from the game. In the second half I thought we played some pretty good football at times but Molby is soooo right when he says we need a decent striker. We simply did not put away the decent chances we had created for ourselves. Moreira also had a pretty good game – he has a real talent for turning a player and crossing the ball but unfortunately he is painfully slow – he would struggle to beat Molby for pace.
The only other joy was that Freestone had a nightmare of a first half. Goal kicks went straight into touch and he almost allowed the ball to bounce between his legs into the goal at one point. The joy? Well, if any Man. City scouts were watching then there’s no chance of them signing him now…
Looking on the bright side…well…ermm…we can concentrate on the league now and there’s always the Auto Windscreen Shield to look forward to.