Liberty Stalemate Once Again
The Liberty Stadium, Swansea
15 September 2009, 19:45
City and Swansea predictably cancelled each other out in another stalemate at the Liberty.
The Robins were rocked by losing keeper Dean Gerken, skipper Louis Carey and in-form striker Nicky Maynard to illness before kick off, meaning an enforced change in shape and personnel.
Despite not having the players to successfully revert to a 4-3-3, City had to simply role with it for the first time this season.
In came transfer-listed keeper Adriano Basso, Bradley Orr returned in place of Brian Wilson at right-back, Lee Johnson replaced Cole Skuse and there was a debut handed to Evander Sno on the left.
Most surprisingly of all was winger Ivan Sproule being chosen to flank Saborio in attack, with David Clarkson left on the bench.
The game was subject of an organised boycott from City fans as a result of the South Wales Police forcing our fans to, yet again, travel under 'bubble restrictions'. As a result, only 239 hardy souls made the 80-mile trip over the bridge and hopefully our point has been made for the last time.
Having seen an earlier effort from Swansea's Joe Allen go over the top on 5, City hit their stride and nearly stole an early lead on 12 minutes.
Jamie McAllister's corner was met by Liam Fontaine only for Swans' keeper Dorus se Vries to scramble away off the line.
Shortly after, Sproule was unlucky to see his deflected cross-shot come off Alan Tate and spin just wide of the post.
Evander Sno, being deployed in an unfamiliar left-sided role, came closer still with a rasping effort that flew inches wide of the upright after cutting in onto his favoured right-peg.
Following an encouraging start, Swansea grew in stature before the break and started causing problems of their own with Bristolian Nathan Dyer blazing just wide from a tight angle.
Debutant Cedric van der Gun came closer still, when his flicked header grazed the post from an Orlandi corner seven minutes before the interval.
Swansea were the better side after the break but failed to create any more chances of note, with another van der Gun header forcing Basso into a close range save and substitute Craig Beattie doing likewise on 75.
City's second half performance offered unsurprisingly little in attack with Saborio heading straight at De Vries from a Sno cross.
Jordi Lopez then raced onto a Leon Britton through ball but failed to beat Basso and saw Lewin Nyatanga hack clear as it trickled towards goal.
But City were unlucky not to steal it at the death when Saborio squared the ball to Skuse six-yards out but he shot straight at De Vries from point blank range.
SWANSEA: (4-3-2-1) De Vries, Tate, Bassone, Williams, Richards, Orlandi (Bodde 69), Lopez, Allen (Britton 78), Dyer, Pintado (Beattie 65), van der Gun.
CITY (4-3-3): Basso, Orr, McCombe, Fontaine (Nyatanga 71), McAllister, Hartley, Johnson, Elliott (Skuse 69), Sno (Clarkson 85), Sproule, Saborio.
Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northampton)
Played out of position on the left but retained possession superbly well and looked our biggest threat going forward. Looking forward to seeing him deployed in his customary central midfield.
Adriano Basso 6
Bradley Orr 7
Jamie McAllister 6
Liam Fontaine 7
Jamie McCombe 6
Paul Hartley 6
Lee Johnson 5
Marvin Elliott 6
Evander Sno 7
Alvaro Saborio 6
Ivan Sproule 5
Cole Skuse 6
Lewin Nyatanga 5
David Clarkson 5
Had his hand forced somewhat with the injuries and illnesses that decimated the squad but still could've done better with the players at his disposal.
David Clarkson was benched when we only had one recognised striker out there, as was Cole Skuse following a string of impressive performances in midfield.
A bolder team selection would've probably yielded a better result.
Didn't do much wrong. Swansea looked the better, more balanced side and were unlucky not to take the three points after an impressive second half. Also had an impact with his substitutes in the second half.
Good Point In The Circumstances
But, with the illness bug sweeping through the camp at the moment, we were down to the bare bones tonight and a drab goaless draw was about the best we could hope for.
Swansea's never an easy place to go at the best of times, let alone without half a first choice team, and they played well tonight. Even though we enjoyed the marginally better chances, a draw is a commendable result given the circumstances.
Bubble Must End
For too long now they've forced City fans to travel to games against Cardiff and Swansea on bubble trips, making unecessary long days out of, what should be, short journeys.
Fair play to the 239 who could be bothered to go but even that was 239 too many. The boycott spoke volumes about what our fans think about it.
The sooner we're allowed to go off our own backs and make this lazy excuse for a Police force earn their treble time, the better.