League Division Three – Barnet 0 Swansea City 1 – Saturday 15th March, 1997.
Match Report by Jeremy Kivell
I’m normally very worried when we have a defender making his debut in a league match. Remember Mark Harris’s first game for Swansea? Yesterday, I needn’t have worried, as Swansea overcame a Barnet side lacking in any real creative footballing ideas.
To be perfectly honest, this game shouldn’t have been close. We were by far the better side in the first half and for most of the second period, but failed to convert several chances.
To be fair, Barnet started the better side. Playing up the considerable slope, they forced four successive corners in the first couple of minutes.
However, after this danger was eventually cleared, Swansea totally dominated the next half hour, creating four gilt-edged opportunities before finally taking the lead. Out-of-touch Dai Thomas was guilty of missing the two best chances, putting a shot from the edge of the area well wide, and failing to divert the ball past the Barnet keeper when put through only six yards out. The most notable of the other efforts on goal was a long-range shot from Steve Torpey which was heading for the top left hand corner before being well saved by the Barnet keeper.
Ampadu’s goal after 13 minutes was a cracker. The ball broke to him about 30 yards out. He made some space for himself, then hit a low left foot shot right into the bottom corner of the Barnet net.
The game became a bit scrappy after that as Barnet managed to get a bit more posession, but Hills, Brayson and my man of the match Steve Jones were consistently finding space down the flanks to provide dangerous looking crosses. After half an hour, one such ball from Jones was headed inches wide by Torpey at the far post.
Swansea still had a bit of defending to do before the break, as Willer was called upon to make a brilliant challenge when it looked like the Barnet striker was through on goal.
Early in the second half, Thomas missed three more excellent openings, and Torpey and Brayson were also guilty of wasting some presentable chances. Then, unbelievably, Swansea took their foot off the gas, and Barnet started putting us under pressure. A game we looked like winning by at least a couple of goals eventually ended with the Swansea fans nervously whistling for the end of the match. Barnet even created a superb chance which their striker couldn’t connect with when 5 yards out and with only Freestone to beat.
Thomas Willer had a solid debut in central defence. He’s got the physical build and posture of John Toshack, and looks strong in the tackle (ooo-er!) and useful in the air.
With other results going our way, things are looking a bit better play-off wise, but we’re still only showing patches of our past form. Hopefully, we’ll have another confidence-boosting game against Darlington at The Vetch next Saturday.
A footnote on Barnet. They’re are probably the worst side I’ve seen this season (and that includes Brighton). Their fans spent half time calling for manager Alan Mullery’s dismissal. Frankly, after this performance, I can’t blame them.
PS. Well played Doncaster! (and Darlington and Lincoln).