Saturday 6 November 2004 – League Two – Swansea City 1 Bristol Rovers 0
Match Report – Nigel Gigg
After disappointing results at Grimsby and Southend, Swansea needed to get back to winning ways today for the visit of Bristol Rovers.
Swans have made the Vetch something of a fortress of late, having not conceded a goal at the Vetch since Saturday August 21st some 78 days ago.
A packed ground with good support from Bristol Rovers with an around 1000 supporters making the journey across the Severn Bridge. Andy Robinson was still to recover from injury, and Leon Britton deputised.
Team: Gueret, Gurney, Monk, Austin, Ricketts, Forbes, Martinez, O’Leary, Britton, Connor, Trundle.
Subs: Murphy, Tate, Fiskin, Maylett, Nugent.
A bright opening saw both sides prepared to throw men forward. It would have been no surprise to Swansea to see that Junior Agogo seemed both fast and skilful in the early stages. Paul Connor had the game’s first strike on goal, with a header over the bar from Lee Trundle’s cross. After this, the game soon seemed to lose it’s way, with both defences very much having the better of things. Adrian Forbes became the first booking of the game after 20 minutes after a two-footed lunge when the ball was already lost.
Roberto Martinez was the pick of the midfield, and on 25 minutes, after Kris O’Leary had hit a wayward pass straight to a Rovers’ defender, Martinez won an excellent challenge, cut in field and fired a great shot from 25 yards that bounced just in front of Kevin Miller in the Rovers’ goal who did well to hang onto the ball.
With 5 minutes to half time, Andy Gurney had a header saved by Miller.
The half time blank was probably about right. Swansea had had the best of the chances but Bristol Rovers had passed the ball well and looked dangerous at times. Although the constant pushing by strikers Agogo and Thorpe was penalised by the referee time after time.
As the players left the field at half time, the referee and several of the players had to separate Thorpe and Gurney, who were looking to continue a feud that had lasted for most of the first half.
The second half started as the first had finished with both teams looking threatening. Referee, Mr Hall took the action he should have taken in the first half and booked Lescott and Thorpe for Rovers and Gurney for Swansea. The latter two had probably deserved their bookings 30 minutes earlier for constant offending.
Rovers looked far more threatening now and Welsh international Trollope had 3 excellent long-range shots, two saved by Willy and the other just wide. The referee had obviously found his cards at half time as his fifth and sixth bookings followed in quick succession with Martinez and Rovers’ Ryan falling victim.
With 25 minutes left, Kevin Nugent replaced Paul Connor, who once again had worked hard but unfortunately with little effect. Kevin Nugent soon became the seventh booking with a needless kick at goalkeeper, Miller, with the ball safely in his possession.
In the first half, Adrian Forbes had pushed further forward and infield to what we normally see. However, he now played as an orthodox right-winger as Swansea tried everything to break down a stubborn Rovers defence that was being excellently marshalled by ex-swan Christian Edwards. With 15 minutes remaining, Junior Agogo was replaced by Jamie Forrester and it is testament to our defence that Agogo was frustrated all afternoon and didn’t have a single strike on goal.
With just 5 minutes remaining, a cross from Andy Gurney was originally lost by Kevin Nugent, but he won the ball back with a challenge that saw the ball finding Lee Trundle. He headed goalward and was bundled over by a challenge from behind from Ryan.
Lee Trundle stepped up to the spot for the ensuing penalty but fired his kick straight at Kevin Miller with the ball cannoning off him for a corner. There was disappointment everywhere but at the Rovers’ end. Incredibly, the referee then ordered the penalty to be retaken for apparent movement by Kevin Miller in the goal.
Lee Trundle made no mistake with the second, smashing the ball into the corner, to the left of Kevin Miller. The goal sparked huge celebrations around the ground, especially on the North Bank which had been remarkably quiet in the second half.
Swansea held out comfortably to record yet another one-nil win.
The plus points today were once again the defence, with both the back four and midfield four all deserving credit. On the downside, our lack of goals and more importantly, chances, is a worry. Today, the fullbacks, Ricketts in particular, had difficulty getting forward. Neither O’Leary or Martinez prepared to go near the opposition penalty area and this leaves just four players, at most, involved in attacks. They are all too often outnumbered by defenders and we are reliant on some Trundle magic to create our chances.
Gueret – 7 – A couple of long range shots and a few crosses were all he had to deal with.
Gurney – 7 – Lucky not to be booked much earlier, but that said, defended excellently.
Monk – 8 – Outstanding, won just about every challenge in the air and on the ground.
Austin – 7 – Started shakily against his old club, but got better as the game went on.
Ricketts – 6 – Did okay in defence but failed to get forward as much as usual.
Forbes – 7 – Good all round performance.
Martinez – 8 – Excellent display, intercepted the ball time and time again in the first half.
O’Leary – 6 – By his recent high standards, had a quiet game today.
Britton – 7 – Took 45 minutes to really get into the game, but a constant threat second half.
Connor – 6 – Battled throughout but with no end product.
Trundle – 7 – A difficult day for old magic daps but eventually got his goal.
Nugent – 6 – His tenacity at first losing the ball lead to the goal.
Maylett – 6 – Only on for a short period.
Match Report – Clive Gareth & David
So that bandwagon rolls on as the home record gets more and more impressive. A crowd of 8,778 including just over 1,000 who made the shortish journey over the ‘Bridge’.
With both Robinson and Iriekepen unable to make the squad the Swans lined up with a formation of 4-4-2.
Gurney, Monk, Austin and Ricketts
Forbes, O’Leary, Martinez & Britton
Connor & Trundle
Sub Murphy, Tate, Maylett, Fisken and Nugent
Our conversation before the game centred on the fact that although we now have a stronger depth of squad, the bench looked weaker than for some time.
The atmosphere built up nicely for the start of the game with both sets of fans in full voice. The game started it much the same vane with the opening 10mins being played at a very high pace. High pace, but no flowing football, as neither team had time on the ball before the challenges came in. The first chance on goal came to the Swans, when Trundle put over a cross from outside the area. With the ball coming at pace and slightly unsighted Connor could not properly connect with the ball sending his header over the bar. The tempo of the game dropped markedly as defences took control. Neither keeper was being bothered, as attacking build ups, by both sides, were either broken up or opportunities wasted by poor passes. Close to 20mins saw Forbes booked for what can be called an over exuberant challenge. A fair yellow card as there was no need as the ball was not there to be won. It was not long before he was involved in a much more positive way when a deep cross from Connor to the left of goal saw him jump well heading downwards towards goal, but being cleared by the Rovers defence. A long range effort from Martinez followed but lacked power and was easily saved by keeper Miller. Gurney playing against one of his old clubs saw a header from a corner saved by Millar. Rovers themselves hadn’t threatened Gueret in the Swans goal, but both Thorpe and Agogo looked as if they could pounce if the defence weren’t on top of their game. As the teams went off at half time Gurney and Thorpe had to be separated by Austin, as they seemed to want to continue an ongoing battle, but both teams could reflect on the amount of effort they had both put in but the game had lacked action that fans needed to see.
The Swans came out early for the second half for a short warm up routine. Rovers seemed the more determined to get the early upper hand as both Lescott and Thorpe received yellow cards in a short space of time. With both teams wanting the 3 points the game now had an extra edge to it, with mid half yellow cards going to Ryan of Rovers and Gurney, Martinez and Nugent for the Swans. Nugent had replaced Connor in a hope of changing things around. Unlike the first half Rovers did get shots in on goal where Gueret had to save well on one occasion from Trollope. The Swans replied in a positive fashion but still the defences were on top. The Swans fans were on their feet however when Lee Trundle picked up the ball just inside the Rovers half on the right. The run saw him close in slightly to the left of goal where he shot, it lacked power however but did get a deflection for a corner. Maylett replaced the tiring Forbes on the right wing. It looked like the stalemate would not be broken, but you can never say never. A bouncing ball in the area found Trundle to the right of goal inside the area. He turned for goal and was bundled over, the referee, without hesitation, pointing directly to the spot. After a long spell of arguing by the Rovers players Trundle sent a powerful shot centre goal, but blocked by Miller. Again without hesitation the ref pointed that the shot needed to be retaken due to Millar being off his line. More delay as further arguments continued.
It looked as if Gurney offered to take the pen but Trundle was not to be denied, this time sending the ball into the corner of the net. Rovers who had earlier replaced Agogo with Forrester sent on Walker and Gibb for Campbell and Trollope. Although the last few minutes were uneasy, they passed uneventful as the Swans secured the 3 points.
Gueret – Another safe performance. Backbone to a solid defence.
Gurney – Intimidates the opposition with his presence but needs to be careful with the yellow cards
Monk – Shaky start but got stronger as the game got on.
Austin – Mr dependable always puts in a solid performance
Ricketts – Defended well and made himself available to start many attacking moves.
Forbes – Another game where he is fully committed, tends to be more defensively than in attack
Martinez – A solid performance involved in most things, but does offer a few hospital passes to team-mates.
O’Leary – One of his less influential games but Rovers did play mostly on the wings.
Britton – Very quiet in the first half but as with O’Leary the action was mostly away from him.
Connor – A better game than of late. Did win many headers but is not direct enough. Tends to drift to the wings.
Trundle – A strange performance. Kept plugging away. Mostly trying to perfect the ‘over the head and turn’ routine. Other options were available. Like Connor sometimes needs to take the direct route. Kept his nerve well for the pen.
Nugent – Used his experience in the short time he was on.
Maylett – Only on for 10mins but seemed over eager, slipping and over running the ball. At least it showed enthusiasm.
Everyone played their part in a hard fought win with no-one below par, it was just one of the games that a result had to be ground out
A fair result would have been a draw. Both teams put in a lot of effort in stopping the other team play. The Swans might just have shaded it as they did show the willingness with good build up pieces in the second half. In the Grimsby report we stated that ‘cracks were showing’ especially in attack. This was obvious again today. Take Trundle’s party pieces out of the equation (which sometimes are counter productive) then we don’t hurt teams. We are a solid outfit and are easily capable of being in with a shout at the end of the season. That is if we can improve our scoring record. We are woefully short of options. Our options tend to be in defence and midfield where we can carry short term injuries, this can’t be said up front. We know that Kenny Jackett is having players in on trial so this shortfall is recognised.
1-0’s get three points as well as a 5-0 win does, but it’s not good for the blood pressure and heartbeat.