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Match Report: Swansea City 0-0 Sunderland - Decent Away Point & Some Improvement

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Asamoah Gyan with his head in his hands. A familiat sight today at the Liberty.
Asamoah Gyan with his head in his hands. A familiat sight today at the Liberty.

Well at least we went some way towards turning things around after two terrible displays, even if we didn't get the three points we so badly craved.

Newly promoted sides are not to be underestimated, especially at home and also seeking their first win, so I'm pleased we came away with something as opposed to nothing at all.

So, let's recount what went on this afternoon down at the Liberty Stadium...

Heads were turned prior to kick off with Steve Bruce's team selection. Simon Mignolet was restored to the team when we all expected Keiren Westwood would keep the shirt. John O'Shea was also handed a debut at right-back whilst Craig Gardner also made his first start. An out of sorts Asamoah Gyan lead the line with Stephane Sessegnon once again.

And the game started well for us. After only two minutes John O'Shea nearly on target from a Sebastian Larsson corner, just over Vorm's crossbar. Would have been a dream moment for the debutant, but we'll be be forced to wait.

We seemed to dominate the opening 20 minutes. Neat play all round, and this was typified with two moments in that period. Firstly, some good one touch football between Cattermole, Gyan and Larsson lead to a chance for the Ghanaian striker, who unfortunately shot wide from a narrow angle. 

Next of all it was Sessegnon's turn to thread the ball through to Gyan, who with Colback waiting at the far post chose to shoot straight at Vorm in the Swansea goal. Can't blame a striker for shooting from the position he was in, but perhaps more sharpness and awareness and he'd have picked out Colback for an easy finish.

Gyan did show some alertness however to seize upon a weak back pass, but Vorm, once again, was quick enough to snuff out any danger.

As said, Swansea offered little in those opening 20 minutes, but shortly after the home crowd were on their feet when Scott Sinclair delivered a piledriver from 25 yards or so crashing back off the bar, which was followed up by a meek diving header from Nathan Dyer.

If that wasn't close enough to breaking the deadlock, Danny Graham was next to squander a decent chance as the Swans were in the ascendancy. With Leon Britton charging towards the goal, three SAFC defenders converged on him only to do nothing at all when he played in Graham, however there was Wesley Brown to make a world class block and keep things level.

Graham even had another opportunity as we approached the half, when he nodded wide unmarked from 6 yards out and the goal gaping. Swansea missing so many chances they reminded me a little of ourselves last week.

With that the last significant action of the half, it was fair to say whilst Swansea had some more clear-cut chances, we certainly had more of the ball and defended resolutely through out all their pressure. An even result so far.

The second half started with the same bluster as the first finished. A lovely flowing move from Colback & Sessegnon fed Gyan 12 yards out, however his heavy first touch meant there was no danger of the scoring being opened.

Simon Mignolet was then forced into his first meaningful action of the game, denying Graham's header at the back post with an instinctive save. Mignolet, along with the four in front of him looked solid all afternoon against Swansea.

On the hour perhaps our best chance came. Swansea switched off when they thought the ball had rolled out of play, it had, but you play to the whistle, this allowed Sess to tee up John O'Shea and his cross was met unmarked by Gardner, who's header went way over the bar.

With both teams trading soft blows, little was created for the remainder of the half. Perhaps the biggest chance for either being when Sessegnon played in Gyan from deep. With he and substitute Connor Wickham staring down Vorm, the out of form striker fired a tame shot straight at the Dutchman. Wickham, furious on the other side of the pitch. 

Even with four minutes added on, little else came to fruition. Wickham had a shot blocked, Colback fired over from 30 yards. In the end, the 0-0 was probably a fair result.

Team (Ratings in brackets)

Starting XI: Mignolet (7), O'Shea (7), Brown (8), Ferdinand (8), Bardsley (7), Colback (8), Larsson (6), Gardner (7), Cattermole (6), Sessegnon (7), Gyan (5)

Subs Used: Wickham (7), Richardson (6), Elmohamady (5)

Man of the Match: Jack Colback - Difficult to single out one player as most did 'alright', but Colback was everywhere today, and full of impetus going forward and had a tenacity to win the ball back. Good solid performance. Wes Brown & Anton Ferdinand also had a very decent games. 

So I think we can take positives from this one. On another day Gyan has a hattrick, but instead there's many who want to unfairly run him out of town. He's not fit, Bruce said so last week. When the sharpness comes back, so will the goals.

Another positive was that the defence was rarely troubled, and when it was we dealt with it well, whilst Connor Wickham had a fairly decent run out in his 20 minute cameo.

We're still missing a striker though. A nuisance maker up front who will allow Sessegnon & Gyan to come from deep as they prefer. He says he has 'one or two things in the pipeline'... lets hope that this pipeline isn't blocked, and we get whomever it is in sooner rather than later.

Today was alright, a decent enough result and with a break followed by two home games, there's a good chance to galvanise the troops and hopefully everyone can rally round and support the team.

Perhaps even more so than other weeks - Keep the faith.