Swansea 1 Shrewsbury 0

Saturday, 30 April 2005, 0:00
4 mins read

The final day of an era for league football at the Vetch. A carnival atmosphere both inside and outside the ground but sadly the football did not befit the occasion as the Swans huffed and puffed their way to a solitary goal victory at the Vetch meaning that their promotion challenge will go right to the wire.

Victories for Yeovil and Scunthorpe mean that the Swans will hope to better any result that Southend can manage next weekend whilst a Scunthorpe slip up at today’s opponents will do nicely if it is not to be the trauma of the play offs and another sell out crowd at the Vetch.

It was a somewhat surreal feeling walking around the ground today with queues forming as early as 12.30 to get into the ground whilst the corporate hospitality was being enjoyed in the car park behind the east stand. The pubs were already full to overflowing as Swansea basked in a day of spring sunshine that was to signal the end of an era, despite the fact that we already knew there was more to come.

Inside the ground, the pre-match entertainment included the wedding of Cyril the Swan and Sybil the duck together with performances from Katherine Davies and Max Boyce. But the real applause was saved for a walkaround by over 30 Vetch legends of the past and it took you back to hear the North Bank singing for Curt, Tosh and Speedie amongst others.

But on the pitch, there was the matter of an important game for the Swans. With the club going into the match in fourth place, every person in the ground knew that three points were to be vital if fourth was to be converted into third or better after next week’s game at Bury.

Kenny Jackett sprung the changes, relegating Kevin Austin to the bench – preferring Andy Gurney at full back whilst Paul Connor was restored to the starting line up in place of Lee Thorpe. Kevin McLeod was in for the suspended Andy Robinson.


Gurney Iriekpen Monk Ricketts

Forbes O’Leary Martinez McLeod

Connor Trundle

Subs: Murphy, Tate, Britton, Thorpe, Austin

And it was a dream start for the Swans as they went a goal up inside ten minutes – a goal that should have taken any nerves away and allowed them to do what they needed to do. Trundle was beaten in the air but McLeod was awake enough to be first to the loose ball and his through ball played Forbes in one on one with the keeper. And what a composed finish as he steadied, picked his spot, and hammered the ball past the keeper to send the close on 11,000 Jacks in the ground into ecstasy.

Surely on today of all days this would mean that we would see the football that the old ground deserved to see today? Not at all as Swansea struggled for the remaining 82 minutes to stamp anything onto what was a dreadful game of football.

Indeed, it says it all that the man of the match – announced 15 minutes before the end – was Willy Gueret who produced two world class saves in the first half to keep the Swans with their noses in front. Defending has not been our strong point since the turn of the year and Andy Gurney in particular was having a torrid time down the right hand side as he was constantly beaten for pace.






R Olivier



Willy’s first save was a diving save from a point blank header that had goal written all over it and his covering defenders just managed to get it clear before it reached another Shrewsbury attacker.

Willy Punches Clear

The second was equally as good as he palmed the ball upwards from underneath his cross bar to ensure that the score was 1 to 0 at the break, a scoreline that perhaps flattered the Swans on what should have been a special day. At the other end, a Martinez long range effort was about as good as it got for the Swans with Trundle not in the game and possession given away too easily. How many times has that latter statement been made in match reports this season.


The weakness on the right hand side forced Kenny into a change at half time as Austin replaced Gurney, with Sam moving across to right back to try and counter the threat from the visitors down that side of the park.

But it changed little as we were served a dire display of football from both teams over the second period with neither really troubling the goalkeepers although Shrewsbury had a great chance at the death but their man could only see a point blank header being tamely headed towards Willy.

Kenny tried to change things but you had to question the wisdom of Britton for Thorpe when surely Macca was the one that had to come off having done nothing since his assist for the goal. And come of he did soon after when Thorpe replaced him. The crowd tried to get the team going with sound generating from all areas of the ground but it was to no avail.

Forbes 8
Card Count
Sent off
Match Pictures

It is all about getting the results at this stage of the season and few will complain if we have done the necessary by this time next week but it’s hard to see that coming at this moment in time based on the performances of the past two weeks.

Connor Challenges From A Corner

The crowd announcement of ‘stay off the pitch’ may as well have said ‘get on the pitch’ for all the difference it meant as predictably the invasion came on the sound of the final whistle, leaving Sam Ricketts engulfed as the North Bank arrived on the pitch.

The return of the players five minutes later in the directors box came but the reality of the situation was there was nothing to celebrate other than a somewhat lucky three points on the afternoon.

We can still go up, perversely with a big run of results in our favour we could end up as champions but it is all set for a nerve jangling afternoon next Saturday at Bury where the equation is that if we win, we have to hope from favours from either Shrewsbury or Grimsby or maybe even both. If that doesn’t happen then it will be another farewell to the Vetch in three weeks time.

One thing is for certain we have to step up a gear if we want to avoid the annual lottery of the play offs. Three points was what counted but the old girl deserves a better send off than it got this afternoon.


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

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