Championship – Swansea City 1 Burnley 0 on Saturday, 28th August 2010
Swans picked up another three points in a hard won game that turned out to be the proverbial game of two halves. Swans dominated the first half with the only downside being the missed chances. Poor referreeing and Darren Pratley’s stupitidy saw Swans reduced to ten men in the second half and although Tyrone Mears copycat act of stupidity evened up the numbers Swans were left hanging on as Burnley pressed for an equaliser.
Brendon Rodger’s was keen to point out that a win today would see the Swans win 4 of their opening 6 games. On the other side of the coin a defeat today would have seen Swans lose 3 of their opening 4 League games!
The game started poorly for both Neil Taylor and Ashley Williams and had Chris Iwelumo been sharper Swans would have found themselves 1-0 down in the first 30 seconds. Thankfully, Iwelumo was slow to react to the half chance and Swans were soon into their stride.
Swans first chance came on 4 minutes. A free kick from the right was flicked on and across the goalmouth by Alan Tate but no Swans player gambled on a run and the chance passed by. It wasn’t long before Swans were in front though. Referee Steve Tanner, who otherwise had an awful game, played an excellent advantage and Stephen Dobbie freed Alan Tate on the right with an excellent pass. Tatey crossed low and hard and Scott Sinclair acted quickest of all to get in front of his marker and scoop the ball home.
Swans kept the pressure on Burnley and Nathan Dyer was giving full back Danny Fox a roasting time after time. Nathan Dyer created a great chance for Stephen Dobbie that the striker should probably have scored from but Burnley’s giant keeper Brian Jensen saved.
It was Dyer again who created the next chance, this time setting up Darren Pratley. This time Jensen was well beaten but the crossbar came to Burnley’s rescue.
Although Swans were almost totally dominating the game, Burnley did look dangerous on the break and Dorus de Vries had to be at his best to keep out a Martin Paterson effort after the keeper himself had gifted the ball away with an awful kick out. Burnley had another great chance on 37 minutes, when although looking offside, Chris Iwelumo found himself unmarked 8 yards out with a free header but he somehow contrived to miss the ball altogether.
Swans finished the half the better and would have been disappointed that the the game was not already beyond Burnley by half time.
The first action of the second half was to have major ramifications later on. Darren Pratley raced onto a through ball from a quickly taken Swans free kick. He was on the edge of the box when his legs were taken from him by Andre Bikey. Referee Mr Tanner blew immediatedly and raced to the scene of the offence reaching for his card. A penalty or free kick on the edge? A red card or yellow card for Bikey? No, to everyone in the grounds amazement Mr Tanner showed Prats the yellow card for diving. It was a poor decision and in his heart of hearts Mr Tanner must have known it.
I hate to be over critical of referees but my heart had sunk when I saw he was officiating today. I have rarely seen him have a good game. Whether it was this incident that sparked it but his performance went from poor to appalling. He wasn’t helped by the linesman who had waved play on at one stage when Stephen Dobbie raced onto a ball when he was about 7 yards offside. The player himself looked to be pulling up before the linesman, who bore an uncanny resemblance to the late Bernard Bresslaw, waved him on.
Pratley’s reaction to his yellow card was all too predictable. He banged the floor and behaved like a spoilt brat and was probably lucky not to receive a second yellow. A few minutes later he dived into a challenge a yard from the touch line, as the red mist seemed to have enveloped him. He didn’t learn his lesson and with everyone around me talking about the need to take him off, he once more dived into another poor challenge, this time on the half way line. It was Mr Tanner’s easiest decision of the day.
Prat(s) walked off to a standing ovation, what for I’m not sure.
Stupidity can obviously spead like a virus. One minute after Pratley was sent off, Tyrone Mears, the only other player at that stage to have been shown a yellow card, dived into a challenge that flattened Nathan Dyer. It probably deserved a straight red but the second yellow was sufficient to see Mears join Pratley. Do they have naughty chairs in dressing rooms?
Linesman, Mr Bresslaw caused some hilarity in the first few rows of the West Stand by using the communication system to tell or ask the fourth official to bring him a drink. Cocoa would have been more apt than the isotonic drink he was given. Where do they find these people?
Swans made a couple of changes with Joe Allen replacing David Cotterill and a few minutes later Andrea Orlandi coming on for the excellent Nathan Dyer.
The changes saw Swans switch to a 4-3-2 fromation with the three midfield players all playing deep and central. Unfortunately this meant that Scott Sinclair and Stephen Dobbie were starved of the ball and lacked support. Burnley dominated the latter stages of the game but Swans hung on to earn a valuable three points and can go into the International break well pleased with their start to the season.
de Vries 6 – Forced to kick with Burnley pushing up and distribution poor.
Tate 8 – One tackle out of this world and attacked like a winger.
Monk 7 – Still not at his best.
Williams 7 – After one mistake early one had another solid game.
Taylor 7 – Has stepped up to the plate and looked at ease.
Dyer 9 – Outstanding performance. Needed an injection prior to kick off. God knows what was in it.
Pratley 6 – Let himself and his side down.
Cotterill 8 – Superb first half. One twist and turn left Bikey for dead and made him look second rate.
Gower 9 – Another superb performance.
Sinclair 8 – Took his goal really well and looks a terrific signing.
Dobbie 8 – Excellent workrate, will be disappointed not to have scored.
Allen 7 – Worked hard and broke up several Burnley attacks.
Orlandi 7 – Had to sit deep and fight and did what was asked of him.
Kuqi 6 – Obviously well liked by players and everyone willing him to do well but its just not happening for him at the moment.