Swansea 0 Orient 1

Saturday, 21 December 2002, 0:01
2 mins read

The rain had been falling heavily on Swansea all morning making the day look very dismal as the drive into town was punctuated with people laden down with bags of Christmas presents deciding that it was pedestrian rights of way every where and maybe the sensible thing would have been to turn around there and then but like a further 4119 people I decided that the Vetch was my destination this afternoon and in I went.

A first chance for me to see Alan Tate and Leon Britton in action as Flynn included both, not surprisingly, in his starting line up for a game that on paper you would say we would have to win.

And for 45 minutes it was hard to see any other result than a Swansea win. Some neat football, quick passing interchanges and neat approach play was made and just one team made the running for 45 minutes. Thomas had already come close on two occasions, including one shot tipped over the bar, when he sent Britton through just past the 20 minute mark only to see his diminutive colleague bought down from behind by the retreating Canham on the edge of the area. Many shouts for the production of a red card were followed by a yellow for the Orient defender, which in fairness to another inept referee, was the correct decision with another two or three defenders retreating with Britton.

Thomas fired the free kick into the Swansea player in the wall and out for a goal kick but the significance of the Canham booking followed just four minutes later. A ball into the Swansea area was collected by Freestone but Canham left his foot in long enough to make contact with Roger and despite feigning injury for which he needed treatment, Canham stood up to see a second yellow card, which of course is followed by a mandatory red.

Surely now, having been the better side already this would be Swansea’s day? Well for the remainder of the half you would have assumed so. Britton’s clever touch was there for all to see and with Tate looking invincible at the back this was a good Swansea performance which sadly ended with the sounding of the half time whistle.

I would love to know what Flynn said at half time but you can guarantee that it wouldn’t have been “You’re playing well boys, change it and look shit” but that is exactly what happened. We were simply never in the second half to the same level of the first. Sure, we huffed and we puffed but we were never going to bring the house down as too often passes went astray – sorry I mean never ever reached their target – and then it was back to the tried, tested and failed method of long high balls for players to chase in vain.

And of course, with the way that this year has gone, you had to have the traditional goal against going in at some stage. Our defence can be so generous at times that you would have expected them to all don red cloaks and white beards for the way that they ensured that Orient took the points. Howard and Theobald stood back and watched as Ibhere and another attacker passed and moved all around them before passing the ball across the area where Tate (Chris not Alan) was on hand to guide the ball past Freestone and cheer up the 96 visiting supporters no end.

Sadly for us our best chance fell to Williams who faced one on one with the keeper managed to hit him (with the ball I hasten to add) and substitute Steins came close with a quick turn and shoot but, as Flynn has said before, we need to start playing for 90 minutes and not just 45 – that is pure conference football as far as I can see.

In summary, we were very good for 45 minutes and very bad for 45. We probably didn’t deserve to win but we certainly didn’t deserve to lose. And we really could have done without being in the bottom 2 for Christmas.

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