Clive, Gareth and David Hughes (The MAGS) at Roots Hall
With most of the approx 400 Swans fans arriving 20 mins before the start, the team came out for their warm up to only a handful of fans and an eerie silence with a short applause as Rog came to the goal at the away end. De Vulgt played at right back with O’Leary partnering Todd in the centre. The rumours in the week seemed to be confirmed that both Mazzina & Bound had made themselves unavailable for selection.
The team took the field to a warm vociferous welcome and immediately showed their appreciation in coming straight to the away end to applaud the fans.
Most of the first half was played between the two penalty areas with the Swans just about shading it. The events of the week did not seem to have adversely affected the players who put everything into the performance as they fought for every ball in what was very warm conditions. Southend did have a couple of chances both by the same player the first when he broke into the area from the right and luckily for us scuffed his shot which Rog dealt with easily. Only a few minutes later he again cut in from the right across the edge of the area finding a shooting chance and blasted at goal. Rog stayed large saving well from what would have been a certain goal. We had a few half chances, but the goal again was a gem. After a period of Swans domination play broke down the right and with the Southend defence drawn across the field Appleby?? found Howard in acres of space on the left, allowing him time to finish with a crisp shot into the far corner. Half time saw the Swans fully deserving their lead.
Appleby was replaced by Romo for the start of the second half. Southend came out a more determined outfit with the Swans constantly being pushed back and unable to clear their lines. 50/50 balls were being won by Southend and their superior physical strength was starting to show. It came as no surprise when the equaliser when hesitancy in defence allowed a cross to reach one of their players who caught Rog wrong footed and placed the ball in the net. These spurred the home team and for the first time the home fans. A penalty given against Cusack for holding?? Was put to Rogs left as he dived right. The third came very soon after when after a period of pinball football the ball was blasted past Rog high into the corner. How cruel football can be. With us now resigned to defeat Roberts chased a ball and his never say die attitude got him to the right hand side of the area where he hit an unstoppable shot past the keeper into the far side of the goal. The customary celebration of shirt off was not rewarded with a booking, maybe the ref understood the relief of scoring after the dreadful week. With the thought that we could still get something from the game, Southend broke through the middle and with O’Leary tussling with their player a second penalty was awarded with O’Leary receiving a red card The penalty was a replica of the first and Southend were ahead 4-2. Sidibe and Tyson had been brought on to replace Mumford & Williams during the later stages of the second half, but with no real effect.
It was a bad result as the players had given their all, moments of lost concentration or hesitancy had cost us dearly. No blame can be given as this was a very difficult time to play a game of football. The look on the faces of some of the players at the end showed how sick they felt. Roberts was the first to the away fans, giving away his shirt. It seemed that the other players would applaud from the half way line, but encouraged by Cusack joined in the mutual appreciation with many also throwing their shirts to the fans.
One further point which cannot be left out of this report, was the excellent support given by the fans. It started from the first minute and continued to the end. Some chants were aimed at Petty but as soon as Lewis was spotted in the main stand a full barrage of abuse was aimed at him, but more importantly the sounds of ‘ Swansea till I die’ and ‘We love you Swansea’ echoed from the away end.
Where do we go from here, the players showed their commitment today, the ball does not bounce your way when your down, after a dramatic week they have received another kick, they deserve better. The fans have shown their passion today lets hope they and the many others who could not travel will be rewarded with owners who feel likewise. Owners that will not alienate the fans.
WE ARE IN IT TOGETHER