Our very own Abi Davies puts on her new Christmas Jumper, packs her Turkey sandwiches and heads down to the Liberty for the last time in 2011.
Having picked up 15 points from our opening 8 home games, Swansea City were hoping they could continue in a similar vein of form when they played host to fellow promoted side Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday. Swansea were looking to gain revenge for last Boxing Day’s game at Loftus Road, which saw Brendan Rodgers’ side condemned to a crushing 4-0 defeat.
Having made impressive second half appearances against both Newcastle and Everton, Kemy Agustien was rewarded by a place in the Swans starting XI, as he was favoured ahead of Mark Gower for Tuesday’s game against Rangers.
The only other Swans change came in defence as Neil Taylor missed out due to a knee injury, Angel Rangel made his first start since picking up an ankle injury against Aston Villa, whilst Jazz Richards was drafted over to left back.
Despite Warnock conceding prior to the game that many teams are starved of possession when they visit South Wales, Taarabt and Barton did well in early exchanges to dictate the play as Vorm was forced into action twice early on to deny efforts from Helguson and Mackie.
The home side then began to find their feet and played their way back into the game, with Allen, Routledge and Graham combining well on the right flank. The Swans took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy of a Danny Graham strike, after the forward connected beautifully with a Wayne Routledge cross to score Swansea’s first goal in three games. The striker came close to doubling the Swans lead moments later, denied only by a fantastic block from Hill. Danny Graham was proving a handful for Rangers, posing a constant threat for the home side.
Swansea had optimum chances to kill the game off in the first half, but not capitalising on their opportunities meant they lead by the slenderest of margins going in at half time.
The Swans didn’t really get going after the interval as they allowed QPR to play their way back into the game, with slack defending the home side allowed the visitors too much time on the ball.
A double substitution from Rodgers saw Luke Moore and Nathan Dyer introduced in place of Angel Rangel and Wayne Routledge, in hope to reignite Swansea’s urgency pushing forward.
However, before either substitutes could get a touch, QPR hauled themselves back on level terms when Britton’s misplaced header found its way through to Mackie who calmly slotted the ball past Vorm as the Swans conceded only their third goal at The Liberty this season.
Taarabt came closest to providing a winner when his curling effort was tipped over the cross bar by Vorm. Despite Rangers pressing hard to find a winner, Swansea survived the onslaught in order to hold out for a point.
Failing to work oppositions goal keepers sufficiently has further reiterated our need to buy an additional forward in the January transfer window. In order to retain our Premier League status, I feel that we need to be taking maximum points from fixtures like this and even at this stage of the season I can’t help but wonder whether these failings to capitalise on pressure applied and finish games off will be rued come May.
Scott Sinclair delivered numerous dangerous deliveries into the area during the first half of the game, but without Neil Taylor, Swansea failed to pose the same threat down the left wing.
Kemy Agustien delivered a stand out performance for the home side on Saturday as the midfield had far more shape and structure with the Dutch midfielder sat just ahead of the back four. Even when played as emergency right back in the second half, Agustien was highly impressive.
The Swans next challenge will be one of their sternest of the season as they host Harry Redknapp’s Spurs, in impeccable form, Tottenham boast blistering pace and skill throughout their squad and have players that can cause problems from all areas of the pitch. Swansea will hope to have Neil Taylor at their disposal for the game as a full strength defence will be essential to block Spurs attack.