Our very own Abi Davies has returned to the Earth’s orbit after a celebratory weekend toasting the pride of South Wales.
Suffering their sixth defeat of the season at Ewood Park last weekend, I felt Saturday’s fixture against Fulham was an important game for Swansea to win given that their next two games are away from home against incredibly stern opposition. However coming up against a Fulham side full of confidence having claimed a 1-0 victory over Liverpool on Monday night, Brendan Rodgers’ side knew that taking 3 points from Martin Jol’s side would be no mean feat.
The Welsh side were without influential midfielder Joe Allen as he served his match suspension following the red card received last week. Luke Moore was the player to benefit from Allen’s absence as he made his first Premier League start for Swansea.
Having been drafted into the side last weekend in place of the injured Danny Graham, Lita retained his place in the side to face Fulham despite Graham’s availability, meaning Swansea’s top scorer had to settle for a place among the substitutes.
The Swans were bolstered by the return of Steven Caulker who had been out of action since September’s defeat at The Emirates due to damaged knee ligaments.
The visitors got the game under way, and following a slow start the home side began to enjoy the better spells in possession early on as they controlled proceedings, not allowing Fulham to settle into any rhythm.
It was evident from the outset that we were not going to allow the visitors any time on the ball as we pressed them high up the field, rarely allowing them out of their own half, with Luke Moore and Leroy Lita impressively closing down and forcing errors out of our opponents.
Swansea were stringing together some great passes and movements however failed to work Schwarzer as a decent final ball into the penalty area evaded us.
Swansea’s best chance of the first 45 came mid way through the half when Luke Moore’s effort from the edge of the area fired marginally over the cross bar.
Fulham’s biggest threat was coming through Andy Johnson, as the midfielder worked his way into advanced positions on a few occasions however Swansea’s defence, strengthened by the return of centre-back Steven Caulker remained solid to deny the visitors any clear cut chances.
Commanding play in midfield, Swansea were looking in fine form pushing forward, with Scott Sinclair having arguably his best game of the season, playing with more versatility, moving in field and not constantly hugging the touch line.
Despite Swansea’s dominance in possession, once more we couldn’t take advantage in the final third as the scores remained level going in at the interval.
The Swans started the second half much like they had started the first – in the ascendancy.
Following some great build up play, the Swans finally made their possession count ten minutes into the second half as they took the lead courtesy of a Clint Dempsey own goal, having got a huge deflection on Scott Sinclair’s initial shot.
The visitors were given an instant chance to get back on level terms, as once more Swansea looked to be at their most vulnerable straight after taking the lead. Dempsey played Ruiz through and the striker found himself one on one with Michel Vorm. The Swans keeper stayed tall to pull off a fantastic save.
Swansea seemed nervy as they started to sit deep and allow Fulham to press, relinquishing any attempt to double their advantage. The Cottagers were given the perfect opportunity to get an equaliser when they were awarded a penalty after Jazz Richards was deemed to have fouled Frei inside the area. The ref had no hesitations pointing to the spot and Dempsey stepped up to take. However a phenomenal save from Vorm kept Swansea in front with less than 5 minutes of normal time remaining.
Swansea secured victory two minutes into injury time when Mark Gower’s fantastic delivery found second half substitute Danny Graham who managed to hold off the defenders to get an influential touch to take the ball past Schwarzer.
The score remained 2-0, thus seeing Swansea climb to 11th in the league.
Neil Taylor continued to impress on Saturday, as he remained defensively solid throughout as well as posing a constant threat pushing forward, delivering numerous perfectly weighted balls into the box as well as making timely runs forward adding to our attacking threat.
Michel Vorm received mass plaudits as well as the man of the match award for his display at the weekend and rightly so as the Dutch international kept his 7th clean sheet of the campaign