Swansea City 2 Fulham 0 match report: Swansea end nightmare run to move away from relegation zone
Jonjo Shelvey and Chico Flores score second half goals
Tuesday 28 January 2014
Patience, they say is a virtue, but the Swansea City fans had theirs tested to the limit, before the introduction of fit-again Nathan Dyer paved the way for two crucial second-half goals that lifted their side clear of the relegation zone.
While there was relief all round for the Swans, Fulham found themselves plunged deeper into the relegation mire as they continue to leak goals far too easily.
Both teams talked in terms of this being a “must win” match as the spectre of the drop zone loomed closer than ever before this season and the Fulham manager, René Meulensteen, had set up his team to frustrate.
They sat back, let Swansea play their passing game and looked for a goal on the break. And when you frustrate Swansea, they can become anxious and a little careless at the back. As time wore on in the first half, and Fulham had weathered an early storm that included a strong header from Wilfried Bony and a Jonjo Shelvey shot over, the visitors pushed forward and created chances of their own.
Their Norwegian captain, Brede Hangeland, should have scored from a pinpoint free-kick by Kieran Richardson after 20 minutes and then Ashkan Dejagah headed into the grateful arms of Gerhard Tremmel 10 minutes later, after a left flank raid by Alex Kacaniklic.
Meulensteen once again went into the game without the on-loan Turkish midfielder Adel Taarabt, who had earlier in the day had been linked with an unlikely move to AC Milan. The Italian club’s official television channel reporting that negotiations were under way for a loan deal, under which Milan’s 32-year-old centre-back Cristian Zaccardo could head to west London.
Clint Dempsey (L) of Fulham shoots as Ashley Williams (R) of Swansea City attempts to block
Swansea did not parade their new signing David N’Gog, but Michael Laudrup was happy to have Shelvey, Jonathan de Guzman and Dyer back after injury. Shelvey had came closest for the home side before the break when his shot from the edge of the box hit the crossbar.
Swansea upped their game at the start of the second half and it took the combined efforts of Martin Stekelenburg and Sascha Riether to keep a goal-bound header from Chico from breaking the deadlock.
But Dyer’s introduction after 58 minutes, for his first game in six weeks, changed the game and within minutes of his arrival the home side were celebrating. The former Liverpool midfielder found the back of the net courtesy of a wicked deflection off the unfortunate Hangeland.
Fulham goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg dives in vain as a shot from Jonjo Shelvey (r) of Swansea strikes the bar
The width and threat that Dyer gave Swansea paid instant dividends and when the otherwise excellent Richardson fouled him in the 75th minute, De Guzman swung over a free-kick that Chico converted with a little help from Dimitar Berbatov’s head.
Job done and relief all round, for the home supporters at least.
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