Jackett’s Millwall Spoil Swansea Party

Friday, 7 March 2008, 19:00
4 mins read

Maybe there was a touch of irony about the result and maybe it was predictable – "former manager comes back to haunt previous employers" type headlines are the kind of things that you see quite often in this game but make no mistake, this a blip and we will be celebrating promotion in under two months time.

This wasn't Swansea at their best but they were up against a Millwall side who were in our face from the off – well one minute after the off when they found themselves a goal to the good after some generous space was afforded to them by the Swansea defence.   Milwall chased, they hurried and they closed us down and for large periods they gave us no room at all as Swansea struggled to get their passing game moving.  And, for once, a team managed by Kenny Jackett managed to hold on when the opposition started to clawback the advantage courtesy of a Jason Scotland penalty – his 22nd goal of the season.

But, in truth, on the night, the Swans were not the better side – and it has not been too often that we have said that this season, and for that reason alone we have enough confidence to believe we will bounce straight back against the Tranmere scousers on Tuesday night.

The Swans were pleased to see that both Jason Scotland and Andy Robinson had shaken off knocks picked up in last week's win over Huddersfield and Roberto was able to name an unchanged side from that which started at the Galpharm last weekend.  There was still no Garry Monk so KOL continued to deputise alongside captain Alan Tate in the centre of defence

Dorus

Rangel     Tate     O'Leary     Austin

Britton     Bodde     Pratley

Butler     Scotland     Robinson

Guillem Bauza was another returning face on the substitutes bench meaning that Darryl Duffy was again nowhere to be seen – surely to be one of the casualties of the summer changes at the Liberty?

There was pretty much no reception – good or bad – for Jackett as the teams took to the pitch before kick off but he was soon to be celebrating a Milwall goal as both Tate and KOL failed to make any connections with clearing headers and a resulting cross from the Millwall right was headed into the corner of the net by Grabban – there was less than a minute on the clock.  Or at least we assume there was the goal was so quick the scoreboard hadn't even clicked into action and was still giving us the team news.

The goal had stunned the Liberty but with 89 minutes left there was every reason to believe that the Swans would get back into the game.   As ever, it was Ferrie Bodde in the middle of the park who was dictating the way the play would come and he was increasingly feeding the ball out to the right hand side where Rangel and Butler – interspersed with bouts of Britton – are forming an understanding that will worry better sides than we have faced this season.

And it was Bodde who looked as if he had given the Swans the equaliser when he struck what looked to be a perfect shot from outside the area but sadly for the Swans it drifted just wide with the keeper beaten.   Swansea were looking shot shy at this stage though and Scotland, Rangel and Pratley all passed up opportunities to shoot when it seemed like pulling the trigger was the right option – certainly to the bulk of the Liberty crowd it did that way.

Tom Butler was felled in the area amidst huge appeals for a penalty but the referee gave a corner inexplicably – if it wasn't a penalty then it had to have been a goal kick it seemed.    Was this already dictating it wasn't to be Swansea's night?

Half time came and went with the Swans a goal down but still with a fighting chance of pulling things back.   It needed a rousing second half performance but it just wasn't quite there for us this evening.  Or maybe it needed one of those magic "sit back and defend your lead" half time talks that we seemed to be used to for the last couple of season's but this time to be said in the opposition dressing room.

There was little joy for the Swans though as Millwall were always there when we seemed to create any space and they were defending their lead with some ease which promoted Roberto to make the change – moving to a 3-5-2 formation by swapping O'Leary for Brandy and really trying to stretch Millwall.  It didn't work immediately and it was Swansea who were on the back foot when, just five minutes later, the Swans found themselves two goals down.   Simpson was able to get his shot away under pressure from Austin and the slight deflection seemed to take the ball away from Dorus and the visitors had a two goal advantage and dreams of equalling a club record were in tatters.

Those dreams were slightly revitalised just minutes later when Brandy was felled in the box and the referee had no hesitation in awarding the penalty which Scotland tucked away to move joint top of the League One scoring charts.

But that in reality was that, there was no fifteen minutes assault on the Millwall goal and no real chance to grab an unlikely equaliser and it was Millwall who came the nearest to adding to the score as the Swans long unbeaten run came to an end to the disappointment of everyone bar the 142 away supporters, 16 players and one former manager and his coaching staff.

Law of averages said it had to happen sometime – law of sod said it had to be tonight.   But the Swans don't become a bad team overnight and we will bounce back from this and, whatever happens, come the kick off time on Tuesday night we will still be top of the table and still be top of the table by some margin.   The Jacks are still going up.   No worries.

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