Report – Swansea City 0 Bristol City 0

Tuesday, 15 September 2009, 22:00
3 mins read

REPORT – WALES ONLINE

NO goals from Swansea City yet again – but at least Paulo Sousa had every right to feel hard done by this time.

The Swans boss’ claims of an unlucky defeat and an impressive offensive performance at Preston jarred against the actual disappointment seen at Deepdale.

But, back at the Liberty, the Portuguese can point to a hatful of opportunities that could – and probably should – have been converted to seal a win over rivals Bristol City.

Still, the woodwork and some wastefulness ensured it was a third draw of the campaign for Sousa’s side and no league win at home.

But, after the weekend woes, perhaps the performance and getting the basics right was what really mattered here – and by and large the hosts delivered.

Add into that there was a shining return for man of the match Joe Allen and the re-emergence of a certain Ferrie Bodde as a play-making option and there are positives to take into Saturday’s trip to struggling Barnsley.

It is not all plain sailing yet, though.

While Allen brought the purpose back to midfield possession, things are still not clicking in the final third and discipline in positioning wasn’t always there.

And, although Swansea had a final flurry that should have seen them beat Adriano Basso in the Bristol City goal, it took too long for the Brazilian stopper to be truly tested.

But with Angel Rangel and Garry Monk back from suspension things do look like getting easier for Sousa, while Bodde’s 20-odd minutes as a replacement not only served a reminder of what he can offer, but will also stand him in good stead for the coming weeks.

Yet, while the Dutchman’s comeback from knee ligament lay-off was quite rightly celebrated, it was Allen that showed what a class act he can be here.

Allen displayed a maturity that belied his teenage years, illustrating why Sousa lamented his loss so much in the opening game at Leicester.

As well as the Wales youngster, in was Cedric van der Gun for his first start, Gorka Pintado and Fede Bessone; gone was Mark Gower through injury, the tied Lee Trundle and rested Marcos Painter.

Yet to drop Leon Britton in the middle was a decision brave and bemusing from Sousa, the scampering energy of the fan favourite not easy to be replaced.

Still, what Swansea had lost from Britton, they had certainly gained in creativity and vision from Allen, the 19-year-old taking no time at all to take the game to the visitors and smashing a sixth-minute drive just over.

It was refreshing after the back foot the Swans midfield had planted themselves on at Preston, although Jordi Lopez was again doing himself no favours with sloppy distribution.

With a midfield as combatitive as Bristol City’s it was something Swansea’s defence could do without, although Jazz Richards held his own against former Ajax wideman Evander Sno.

And Richards was involved in keeping the Robins at bay with their first chance 12 minutes in, the young full-back and Dorus de Vries combining at the far post to stop Liam Fontaine’s header creeping in from Jamie McAllister’s corner.

With Sno and Ivan Sproule on the opposite flank, there was certainly pace to Bristol City’s attack, something that showed two minutes later when the former left Lopez in a heap before the resulting shot deflected fortunately wide off Alan Tate with de Vries beaten.

But there was no doubt that Swansea were the more enterprising of the two side, Allen bringing a freshness around the edge of the box that several times came close to putting Nathan Dyer clear.

Van der Gun was another who impressed and showed plenty of initiative, working well with Andrea Orlandi and setting the Spaniard free down the left just after the half hour, only for him to try and clip a cross to no-one rather than drilling it.

Yet, making amends, his delivery from a 37th-minute corner couldn’t have been more perfect and the glancing header from van der Gun was inches from finding its way past Basso, the woodwork getting in the way.

Still, as much as Dyer weaved down the left, as much as Allen kept the Swansea midfield on top in terms of tempo and possession, the half came and went with no breakthrough.

They would still search, van der Gun’s header from a set-piece finally forcing Basso into a save with Ashley Williams an agonising fraction away from the rebound.

But failing to get in behind the opposition was proving problematic once more, Sousa bringing on Craig Beattie but only in a like for like.

Finally the call for Bodde would come, initially pushed to the top of the midfield rather than lying deep where he has proved to be so instrumental.

And it was still Allen who was pulling the strings, his slip pass to Beattie really should have been finished off by the Scot on 74 minutes only for Basso to save the left-sided effort.

With Britton on with Bodde, Swansea’s intentions were clear – yet Bodde blew his big chance as pressure saw him unmarked on the edge of the area, only for him to dally on the ball rather than set Dyer clear.

Yet the golden chance was still to come – and to be wasted – when a pass from Richards had Lopez through on goal only for the ex-QPR man to poke a nothing shot straight at Basso.

And Swans had to be thankful de Vries pulled off a last-second save to deny Alvaro Saborio’s header at point-blank range.

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