Rushden 1 Swansea 1

Saturday, 1 February 2003, 0:01
2 mins read

Brian Flynn made just one change to the side that started last Saturday with Roberto Martinez coming in for Andrew Mumford but continuing with the much criticised 4-3-3 formation (described by the Sky Commentators as ‘brave’)

Rushden, as you would expect from a side at the top of the table started well and Burgess had two shots within the first five minutes without really troubling Roger. Then it was the turn of Lowe to head a Hall cross straight at him before Smith just one minute later slid in on Lowe to give Rushden their first corner. From the corner Roger found himself flapping at the ball but thankfully for us the ball was cleared for a corner.

After that early spell, Swansea went into a patch of their own where they played some nice football. Nugent was unlucky not to find Thomas with a cross from the right and Britton had a shot well saved by Turley. But the goal was on it’s way and it came in the 16th minute. Britton looked for all the world as if he was going to shoot but instead he lifted the ball into the area and in an almost carbon copy of last week, Nugent rose unmarked to head the ball home and put the Swans ahead.

It could have been two just five minutes later when Johnrose broke clear but as he tried to lift his shot over Turley it was blocked by the keeper. Nugent thought he had put the Swans 2 up on the half hour but much to his disbelief the referee disallowed the goal for an innocuous push by Thomas. You can guarantee that you will see a challenge like this in the Darlington game on Tuesday and it will go unpunished. But as the commentators said “when you are at the bottom you get no luck”

For the rest of the first half though the Swans didn’t need luck and despite Rushden having plenty of possession they were not troubling Roger with too many shots from their point of view not finding the necessary target. As the teams went off at half-time, Swansea were well worthy of their lead but many wondered what Swansea would we see in the second half?

The answer to that question was, in the main, a well organised side that soaked the pressure well and bar one moment never looked threatened at the back with Rushden shots being confined to long rage efforts that more often than not missed their intended target.

Lowe was the main culprit for Rushden with his shooting and while he always looked capable of making something happen too often he was found wanting when he needed to do something. His best effort was a long range free kick that was saved at ground level by Roger.

Howard had a decent chance for Swansea when he drilled a low shot which Turley had to save at full stretch whilst Britton and Durkan (on for Williams) also worried the Rushden keeper.

Rushden though were destined to equalise and this they did in the 71st minute when Bignot crossed from the right and Hall rose unmarked to glance a header past Roger into the corner of the net. At this point we would have settled for the final whistle there and then but the expected Rushden onslaught didn’t really happen and Swansea defended deep but they defended well by doing so.

O’Leary and Watkin were late substitutions for Howard and Thomas but Swansea held on with some ease to take a well deserved point. This was the same Swansea that battled last weekend against Lincoln and against the division’s second best side we did not look out of place at all. Another 18 of these performances and I would think that we will stay safe from relegation and to me this was a point that we probably didn’t expect to get. This was the bonus we now need to make sure that we move onto Darlington at home on Tuesday and pick up the three points that we need there.

Four points out of the last six is what we needed – we have the start now we need to build on it.

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