Swansea’s promotion bid suffers another crucial blow at Turf Moor with our resident Swans fan Abi Davies in attendance:-
Swansea City travelled to Turf Moor with the hope of ending their poor away run of 3 consecutive defeats, while Burnley themselves were trying to get back to winning ways after losing their last 4 Championship games. Burnley’s current form has seen them drop to 12th in the league, having been tipped for the play-offs under a month ago.
With Norwich playing and winning on Friday night, the pressure was mounted on Brendan Rodgers’ side to get a result on the road for the first time since February 22nd. There were two changes to the Swans side that was held at home in midweek as Leon Britton came in for the injured Joe Allen (thigh strain) and Darren Pratley was handed a start in place of Stephen Dobbie.
After missing the The Clarets Tuesday night defeat at Nottingham Forest due to a hip problem, Burnley’s leading goalscorer Jay Rodriguez returned to the starting line up in place of the suspended Marvin Bartley after the midfielder was sent off in midweek.
The Swans were awarded 2 free kicks within the opening 2 minutes of the game, however it was the home side who had the first real shooting opportunity as ex-Manchester United player Chris Eagles found space on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot fired wide.
The visitors started to gain the upper hand with Scott Sinclair coming close to providing the opener after 9 minutes. Darren Pratley and Nathan Dyer were combining and linking up well early on and it was these two who created the Welsh sides next big chance of the game, as Pratley latched onto a great ball into the area from Dyer after the winger had shown great skill to skip past the Burnley defence, however Pratley’s shot from 10 yards out hit the woodwork.
Sinclair had the same fortune as his team mate moments later, as his header beat a static Jenson only to be kept out by the same post that denied Pratley.
Chris Eagles was proving a nuisance down the right wing posing the home sides biggest threat, as he was able to peel away from Welsh full-back Neil Taylor on a number of occasions supplying dangerous deliveries into the penalty area.
However it was Swansea’s loan signing Fabio Borini who was next to try his luck in front of goal, his free kick from 28 yards was struck marginally wide of the right post.
Brendan Rodgers side continued to apply great pressure as Garry Monk tested a seemingly nervy Burnley keeper who’s indecision almost cost him as he came out to collect the ball.
Nathan Dyer was arguably the best player for the visitors in the first half, with the pocket dynamo shining despite coming up against a defender who towered above him in Andre Bikey.
As Swansea continued to press, the home supporters began to air their frustration- with boo’s ringing around the stadium.
However, despite looking a much improved side to the one we have seen on the road of late, The Swans left the field at half time having not been able to capitalise on their dominance in possession, and yet again fans began to wonder whether we would be made to rue missed opportunities.
The Swans picked up where they had left off after the break with Bikey’s mistake within the opening minute of the restart allowing Borini to have the first effort of the half, however his shot skimmed past the face of goal.
The deadlock was eventually broken on 53 minutes as Rodriguez lost the ball to Pratley, who played a great ball through the centre of the pitch for Borini. The Italian youngster’s perfectly timed run saw him beat the offside trap and with a great strike was able to net his 4th goal in 5 games. The Swans were worthy of their advantage, however they were unable to hold onto the lead as four minutes later Chris Eagles cross into the area deflected off Ashley Williams and past Dorus De Vries.
Just like the Hull fixture in midweek the Welsh side found themselves failing to keep composure and conceded shortly after taking the lead.
With little over 20 minutes of the match remaining, Brendan Rodgers opted to make a double substitution with Tamas Priskin and Luke Moore coming on for Darren Pratley and Swansea’s top goalscorer Scott Sinclair, as they went all out to try and claim a precious victory.
Burnley overturned the deficit with 13 minutes remaining when the referee deemed there had been a foul on Rodriguez by Angel Rangel inside the area. Chris Eagles slotted the penalty past De Vries making the score 2-1.
The away side struggled to deal with Eddie Howe’s men pressing high up the field, marking the Swans defenders therefore cutting out De Vries’ favoured short clearance out from goal.
Stephen Dobbie may have felt aggrieved to be introduced into the game with just 8 minutes left on the clock. Nevertheless the Scot immediately demonstrated the threat he possesses with his movement in and around the area. With the game and 3 points slipping away from them, Borini tried one last ditch effort from a tight angle but failed to work the keeper.
Graham Alexander came on with 3 minutes remaining to round off a great afternoon for Burnley, as he became only the 2nd outfield player in the history of English football to make 1,000 professional appearances.
I feel the Swans missed the presence of Joe Allen in midfield on Saturday, as I don’t think Leon Britton seemed to show the same work rate as the Welsh international has done of late.
The win sees Burnley move to within 5 points of the play-off’s with 4 games remaining, while a 4th straight defeat on the road means Swansea drop into 5th.