Draw Again!!!

Monday, 27 March 2000, 0:00
2 mins read

But welcome news was the return of in-form striker Steve Watkin who pushed Tony Bird onto the bench. The Swans started brightly enough, but it was the Orient youngsters who had the more threatening chances. One such chance from 15 yards looked to be goalbound, but Mike Howard? bravely lunged in to block the shot and divert it for a corner. The gusty wind blowing from the Mumbles end, favoured Orient and Swansea found it difficult to clear their area. The tactics employed were also causing concern – high balls up to the front line! This was not very effective as Julian Alsop had been ruled out through injury. From another promising Orient position, Swans were indebted to Freestone who blocked a one on one where a lesser keeper may have been beaten. Orient were playing the “Cockney wanquers” by repeatedly kicking the ball away whenever they conceded a free kick, but the referee was content to allow this (must have happened 7 or 8 times throughout the match as their time- wasting tactics went unpunished. Despite playing against the wind first half, Orient’s offside trap was too sophisticated for the Swans front line to spring and they repeatedly got caught in it. This contributed to the stop start effect which marred the match as a spectacle. The subdued fans did find their voices when Price unleashed a cracker from 15 yards – but the keeper saved it. Even if he hadn’t, the goal would not have counted as Orient’s offside trap had done its job once again. Despite some muted boos at the end of the first half, the expectation of better after the halftime teamtalk was there. Unfortunately, the second half was as stop start as the first – with several niggles going on in midfield. One late tackle by Howard saw him go in the book – but only because the victim rolled over 6 times and then came to a stop in writhing agony. Martin Thomas got their youngsters to lose their rag on two occasions – and a playful headbutt on him could have seen sterner action than the actual talking to that ensued. Casey came on for the ineffective Coates around the hour mark and was quickly involved in a few moves around the edge of the box – but all came to naught. With the game entering its latter stages, Watkin and Boyd were finding more room to receive passes but Boyd’s penchant for trapping the ball with his shins and then using his speed to recapture the ricohets, was proving to be less than succesful. O’Leary replaced the solid Howard and Appleby replaced the woeful Price – but to little effect. With the game petering out into an obvious 0-0 draw, Steve Jones went down for his customary hospital scare after a smack to the head – but it was Orient who had the chance to claim all 3 points. One minute into injury time, Orient sub Ibehre was put clear of our back line with a superb through ball – but Freestone raced off his line to confront him just outside the area and use his shins to block the shot. A very difficult report to write given that very little of note happened on the pitch. It seems that the management’s main problem is getting the players to switch their style to suit the personnel selected. It’s no good playing the same way without Alsop in the team as we do with. This may seem to be stating the obvious – but it’s something the players obviously haven’t realised

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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