PROMOTION – SWANSEA ARE CHAMPIONSHIP BOUND

Saturday, 12 April 2008, 16:38
3 mins read

It wasn't pretty by any stretch of the imagination and for long periods of the first half it looked as if it may never happen but – do you know what? – I don't really care – we have played well enough over the course of the 43 games played to date to be classed as the best side in this division and that is exactly what we are (or we will be when we beat Yeovil next week)

Gone are the likes of Cheltenham Town, Port Vale and Walsall from the fixture list and in come the likes of Cardiff City, Preston North End and quite possible Wolverhampton Wanderers.   It is now official Swansea City will play second tier football next season for the first time since 1984.

And it was the unlikely hero in Guillem Bauza who mugged Gillingham in much the same way as Bournemouth had to us just seven days previous.   Two late goals – against the run of play – the only difference being the goals came in the first half rather than the second half.  And he finished them both clinically after Gillingham's keeper failed to keep out two Andy Robinson shots just as it looked as if the Swans would go into the interval a goal down with the champagne very much on hold rather than ice.

But it's moments like that that make being a football fan so special as the 1500 travelling Jacks and almost 2000 back at the Liberty stadium rose as one to celebrate the clinical goals that would seal the promotion that has always been the season long goal.

There was much optimism amongst all Jacks going into this game – boosted no doubt by the news that Carlisle had been beaten at Elland Road earlier in the day and with Paul Anderson, Bauza and Marcos Painter all back in the starting line up there was beginning to be a degree of familiarity about the team

Dorus

Tate     Williams     Lawrence     Painter

Anderson     Britton     Pratley     Robinson

Scotland     Bauza

In truth though it was a pretty unspectacular game start to finish as neither side every really imposed themselves on the game with too many loose balls – some totally crap refereeing decisions and a general feeling of nervousness amongst two sides who could find themselves separated by two divisions next season.

Gillingham took the lead when former Swans player Dennis Oli shot low into the corner of the net as the Swans were on the back foot for a short period and with the home side having missed already the games best chance to date when they fired over when well placed to make Dorus work.

At this point the Swans were struggling and people started to wonder if the promotion party would be put on hold for another seven days.  All loose balls and decisions were going Gillingham's way and the Swans were not really looked like stretching their lead whilst Gillingham tried but – bar a couple of half efforts – never looked like getting back into the game.   As the fourth minute of injury time expired the final whistle meant it was all over and the Swans finally had reached the finishing line – and done it three weeks early.

looking like a side ready to seal a Championship place.  That was until the game ticked towards first half stoppage time.  A low Andy Robinson shot was spilled by the keeper and Bauza just beat Scotland to the ball to give the Swans a lifeline.

And less than two minutes later the same combination – Robinson shot, keeper spill and Bauza shot into the net gave the Swans the lead and the Swansea suite at the Liberty must have seen the nosiest action that it has done since the stadium opened as the Jacks celebrated as one – 45 minutes from promotion once more.

The second half passed with little action of note if truth be told.   The Swans tried their hardest to kill the game off but never

The celebrations at Gillingham were there for those to see back home at the Liberty and the party had well and truly started – a party summed up by the big Spanish Mercedes leaving the stadium with Rangel blasting the horn and Orlandi waving through the sunroof.   That is what it's all about.

A victory next weekend will seal the league title but whatever way you look at it from this point of view, there is only one outcome.

THE JACKS ARE GOING UP

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