SWansea 1-1 Millwall ~ Match Report

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At first glance you can be forgiven for thinking that a Friday night trip to Swansea is not really a fixture to relish but it is these sort of games that get my juices flowing and yes, before you ask, I have been to various psychiatrists and they have all assured me I am not as nutty as a fruitcake, I am just borderline stupid...

But, as my old mentor Mr Gump once told me “stupid is as stupid does” and this time me and MrsB left the Bonemobile at home and took our chances on the subsidised coach travel. We tried this option for Cardiff this season and it wasn’t too bad but this time we managed to somehow get onto the infamous coach one...Mr Gump had a point after all...

It actually wasn’t too bad it was just a bit surreal. Before we actually left the Den confusion reigned as the coach steward got himself confused as to who was supposed to be on his coach. A bloke at the back was asked to produce his ticket which he did and the steward went to walk off with it. Clearly the bloke didn’t trust the steward and bellowed out for him to return his ticket as the steward was going to go off and check more details. We only had three fucking coaches and neither of them was completely full so what difference it made I’ll never know.

Then we had to wait for a latecomer who apparently only lived round the corner but was waiting for a cab. We could have driven round and picked them up en route but the jobsworth steward wasn’t interested. When the late comer finally arrived they got on coach two anyway so we actually waited twenty minutes for no real reason...

The trip across the M4 was surprisingly free from traffic which shouldn’t have been much of a surprise seeing as we left about two hours before we need to but after much debate it was agreed that the coach would stop off at a service station which was not on the official schedule. Hindsight is, of course, infallible and what we should have done was stay there for an hour and a half because when we got to the actual service station in Bridgend where the old bill wanted us it was the smallest service station in Christendom.

There was fuck all there apart from a Small burger king, a WH Smith and a coffee shop of some description. Some of the more adventurous passengers sallied forth into the cold night air to find a boozer and they actually struck gold with a harvester but naturally the locals took umbrage and called the police who shepherded them back to the services.

We were stuck there for about an hour and a half as we were told by the driver that the old bill wanted to keep us out of Swansea until 6.30. What a fucking palaver.

We finally got the nod to move out and made our way to the ground and when we got there they kept all 300 odd outside and then opened one turnstile only to let us in. This was for two reasons, the first was that the turnstile was the only one serving the section we were in and secondly so they could search nigh on everyone, it was truly awe inspiring logic, the Heddlu must’ve been up all night working this out.

So what do we make of Swansea then, a third rate welsh village which is apparently the second largest settlement in Wales. The locals pride themselves in being named ‘Jacks’ which is, according to the grapevine, the name of a dog that saved lives (Yes I also have trouble understanding why a dog would associate itself with a Welshman let alone save him) and of course they can lay claim to fame of having Catherine Zeta Jones as a local but to be honest anyone of note from Swansea never goes back there and with good reason.

Give it its due the Liberty stadium is a tidy ground and the view is as near as perfect as you can get and the steak pies were right on the money. We settled down to see what sort of side Mr Jackett had picked and it was good to see a proper attacking formation for a tough away fixture.

Forde in goal, Dunne, Robbo, Shittu and Barron across the back, Henry, Abdou, Mkandawire and Puncheon across the middle with Morison and McQuoid up front.

The faithful three hundred were in fine voice as referee Whitestone finally got the game under way and we set off at a cantor and we almost nicked a goal within 30 seconds as Morison forced their full back into a wayward pass that went to Henry who then fed Morison who spotted McQuoid unmarked at the far post but his low cross was intercepted by De Vries in the Swansea goal and cleared before McQuoid had a chance to capitalise.

The game went on at a furious pace after this opening incident and we were giving as good as we were getting as both sides seemed intent on attack being the best form of defence. The real issue of course was that both defences were on top form but after only about ten minutes we lost Robbo. It looked like he had done his hamstring and he didn’t even try to continue so it looked pretty serious from the off. Ward came on in his place and I have to say he slotted in well, no ring rust or point to prove.

Henry was giving their left back a torrid time down the right flank and he got by him and sent over a wicked cross that again was well collected by De Vries before it reached McQuoid.

When they attacked our goal it was just as hairy for us but the shots they were having were not stretching Forde at all as the target was nowhere near being hit.

On around the twenty minute mark they forced a corner and to our horror the ball was gently floated in to Rangel who was completely unmarked and his downwards header went in at the post where we had neglected to position anyone. 1-0 and the Welshman were celebrating like they had found a flock of randy sheep. They naturally let themselves down big time by giving it the easy easy chant that befits a backward nation...

The lads rolled their sleeves up and got on with the job in hand, we harried and pushed them and forced them back and within eight brief minutes we were back in it after a bit of a keystone kop scuffle in the middle of their area the ball popped out to Tam Mkandawire who drove it sweetly home for his first Millwall goal. 1-1! And you’d better believe that 300 lions fans made more noise than the 13,000 taffy’s did when they scored. It was so satisfying to see their blank faces staring into space as we went loopy.

Of course, this was the cue for the welsh riot squad to come rushing into the ground and start throwing out some of our lot and to quote a steward “because you’re not supposed to stand up boy, in this stadium”... Fuckin’ Welshmen, they just can’t accept that they will never be English and it hurts them...deeply...

We didn’t really look back after the equaliser and they went for a bit of a wobble and Henry almost got to a loose ball after De Vries and his full back got themselves in a right two and eight but their ‘keeper, not for the last time this evening, thwarted our attempts at getting a second goal.

As half time approached we had a bit of a scare when a hopeful cross found Dyer free about six yards out but he made a complete balls up of it and skied his chance miles over the bar.

The whistle went for half time just after that and the lads left the pitch with a spring in their step and our applause ringing in their ears.

The second half was soon under way and with the ref and his lino’s now resplendent in their pink tops as opposed to the black ones that almost matched our colours we proceeded to play the home side off the park.

The only thing in our way was De Vries in the Swansea goal. He was outstanding. McQuoid must’ve thought, like we all did, that his header was goal bound as he rose and connected perfectly but the ‘keeper dived acrobatically across his goal and tipped it away for a corner with the aid of the cross bar.

Henry was having a storming game and when he skipped around the Swansea defence and zeroed in on goal he had options with Morison keeping pace with him but he opted for glory and his shot went past the post.

Swansea were fighting a rearguard action now and the home fans were getting on their teams backs as boos and jeers were beginning to resonate around the stadium as the Lions were dominating the game with a superb counter attacking ploy.

Mr Jackett decided to change things with about 15 minutes left as he took McQuoid off and brought on Schofield which looked for all the world like he was reverting to a 4-5-1 lets have the draw formation but surpisingly Puncheon moved up front as a partner for Morison.

Henry was again let loose as we broke yet again from a Swansea attack that was going nowhere and he got his shot on target this time but De Vries made another spectacular save to deny Henry his deserved goal.

With the game nearing completion we had two more glorious chances to take all three points and both times the chances fell to Morison. The first chance saw Morison put through by Abdou and even though he had Henry and Puncheon to square the ball to, he opted, as you would expect from a striker, to go for goal and he finally beat De Vries but missed the target.

With seconds remaining Morison again burst through after he cut out a cross ball and as he shrugged off the challenge from a Swansea defender he only had De Vries to beat but yet again the goal keeper was in magnificent form and made a great diving save to deny the striker his winning goal.

The full time whistle went soon after and although we should have been happy with a point at high flying Swansea the gut feeling was that we should’ve beaten them.

Still, a point away is not to be sniffed at and we are now starting to look like a tough side to beat and with a home game against Barnsley coming up we really need to start putting teams away more clinically.

See you all on Saturday
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