Swans v West Brom Report

Wednesday, 23 August 2000, 0:00
2 mins read

Another 0-0 draw is obviously not going to do anything to quieten those who have been calling for John Hollins to sign a striker before it’s too late. But the truth is, tonight the Swans played a standard of passing football that most of us rarely saw in the whole of last season. Furthermore, having kept a valuable home clean sheet, they stand a good chance of causing an upset at the Hawthorns and knocking another higher league side out the League Cup. It was a fine first half performance, despite the somewhat erratic behaviour of Roger Freestone. Twice the home ‘keeper strayed way out of his area but failed to clear the ball away fully. On the second occasion, he had only Lee Hughes’ woeful shot on a practically open goal to save his blushes. Aside of the Number 1, it was a controlled and skillful first half. Price, standing in at full-back for the injured Steve Jones, linked well with the constantly attacking Stuart Roberts on the right hand side. On the left, Lee Jenkins replaced Jon Coates and it was Jenkins who proved the surprise package, putting in an aggressive yet skillful performance that could well see him keep his place in the side to play Colchester at the Vetch on Saturday. The third change made by manager John Hollins was the replacement of Nick Cusack (in the centre of midfield) with Kristian O’Leary. The midfielder had a far less impressive game and seemed somewhat lacking in ideas going forward. It was a mistake from him after one of the Swans’ many first half corners that almost allowed £2 million pound man Jason Roberts the chance to break away and score. Only a fine tackle by Mike Howard prevented an almost certain West Brom goal. That was followed by a jinky run from Walter Boyd who turned three defenders only to be denied by the swift reaction of the huge WBA ‘keeper who blocked his run. A minute later, Steve Watkin found himself clear of the visitor’s defence that was left wrongly appealing for offside. But with Watkin one on one with the ‘keeper, he took too long and the Swans had to settle for yet another corner. Half Time: 0-0 The second half was far less eventful, except for some frantic pinball action in the West Brom penalty area which could easily have given the Swans the lead. Roberts proved less effective in the second half and was replaced with the unimpressive Michael Keegan near the end. Boyd seemed to have lost interest in the game and there was little sign of his magic tricks that had lit up the first half. Steve Watkin also faded and was replaced with 20 minutes left by Tommy Mutton. The young striker looked lively but never really got the chance to impress. West Brom, to their credit, were far more organised in the second half. Freestone partly redeemed his earlier exploits by putting in a solid performance in the latter stages but he was never sorely tested by a seemingly over-valued three-pronged WBA strike force. The most contentious issue came in the final moments when the referee seemed upset at having been unable to use the new 10-yard rule and set about putting that right. He was able to demonstrate his new found powers when Jason Roberts hurled himself to the ground on the edge of the area. Micheal Keegan was accused of moving too close and the resulting free-kick was advanced 10 yards. Cue the ridiculous situation of having a free-kick 8 yards out and the entire Swansea team positioned on the line. The result was an easily cleared shot by a wall that looked far closer than the previous one. Nevertheless, it delighted the surprisingly large crowd and left most fans leaving with a smile on their face. The lack of goals remains a worry, but there were plenty of positives tonight, not least the fact that the 4758 who turned up had been rewarded with some decent entertainment – not something that happened too often last season.

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