The Butler Did It As The Swans March On

Friday, 22 February 2008, 23:21
3 mins read

Tom Butler grabbed the only goal of the game with around ten minutes left after a sustained spell of Swansea pressure taking them past the 70 point barrier before the end of February and quite possibly earning Roberto Martinez a fourth manager of the month award to boot after 13 points from 15 available during the month.

The win stretched the Swans run of consecutive home wins to ten in the league and their overall unbeaten league record to seventeen games – just two short of equalling a club record of nineteen.

It had looked for long periods as if the goal may not come but it was once again Tom Butler who popped up at the appropriate moment to grab another goal and carry on his rich vein of form.  Luton’s task was made no easier ten minutes before Butler’s crucial strike when Sol Davis was sent off for a second bookable offence – both of them fouls on Butler.

There was little doubt that our visitors had come for a point and bar a couple of early threats never really looked like scoring and for much of the game they had all eleven men behind the ball as they tried to keep the Swans out.  But as the pressure built in the second half it did for a long period appear as if a goal was coming and so it proved as Butler’s low drive beat the outstretched arm of the Luton keeper and nestled in the corner of the goal.

Roberto had – as expected – stuck with his tried and tested line up at home with Butler and Robinson providing the width in a three pronged attack backed by the midfield trio of Britton, Pratley and Bodde – far and away the best midfield trio in this division.

Dorus

Rangel     Tate     Monk     Painter

Britton     Bodde     Pratley

Butler     Scotland     Robinson

The Swans struggled for long periods of the first half to get going.  Ferrie Bodde in particular was off range with his passing for once and the first touch of many let us down in the opening exchanges.   There also seemed a reluctance to shoot at times in front of an improving crowd – this time of 14,122.   Both Pratley and Scotland seemed to pass up opportunities to test the Luton keeper as the Swans had the majority of the play but with little impact in front of goal during the opening 45 minutes.  Luton were quick to close us down to their credit and it seemed as if Mick Harford had done his homework and worked on a way to stop the Swans taking control as we have done so often at the Liberty.

It was no major surprise to see a goalless scoreline in the first half but even with that and the seeming lack of goal opportunities there was a confidence around the Liberty that a goal would come and it would go Swansea’s way.   The second half was a very different story as the Swans had much more possession and looked more dangerous with it.  Butler in particular on the right was outstanding and seemed to be at the heart of everything that was good about the Swans as the right flank seemed to be offering more of an outlet than the left one.   Swansea were beginning to dominate more and more as the game went on and when Luton went down to ten men then the Swans really took control of the game and created some good chances without being able to apply a final touch.  In particular Alan Tate was denied by a point blank save from a header from a corner whilst both Butler and Robinson went close whilst Bodde saw a couple of long range efforts blocked by defenders.

The goal was coming and it was Butler who got it with his low shot and the delight for the players was clear as the goalscorer disappeared under an avalanche of his team mates as they celebrated the goal.   Bodde meanwhile had treatment for a shoulder injury and was replaced soon after by Kris O’Leary for the last five minutes or so – five minutes which the Swans saw out with some ease for the victory they wanted.

The team just goes from strength to strength and don’t look like losing a game at the moment as the Championship looms closer and closer on the horizon.  A huge seventeen point gap from third place Nottingham Forest is what really counts and there is every chance at this moment that we could have sealed not just promotion but the title as well before the Easter Eggs have all been eaten.    45 points from the last 51 available says its own story as Roberto leads us towards our promised land.   And who knows what will happen from there on in.

It remains a fantastic time to be a Swans fan.

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