What a Liberty

Last updated : 24 August 2014 By Tony Scholes

A goal from our former loan player Nathan Dyer midway through the first half was enough for Swansea to collect the points but there were plenty of positives to take from this performance, if not the result, particularly in the second half when we gave the Welsh side a real scare.

It was good to be on the road again for an away game, even though it brought about the first early alarm call of the season, and it was a relatively trouble free journey down other than the torrential rain that hit us once we'd got into the Cheshire area.

A quick fuel, otherwise known as breakfast, stop around West Bromwich was the only stop and we were in the Swansea area for around 1 p.m. ahead of our first away game in the Premier League since a 2-1 defeat at Birmingham when Steven Thompson scored.

David Jones played well in midfield and came closest to scoring when denied by Lukasz Fabianski

We were met with somewhat over enthusiastic stewarding at the Liberty which delayed entry to such an extent that the queues were still building as kick off approached and there were many who were still making their way to their seats during the early minutes of play.

The game had kicked off with both teams unchanged from their opening games with Sean Dyche making just two changes on the bench. Fit again Steven Reid stepped up for youngster Cameron Dummigan and latest signing Stephen Ward replaced Kevin Long, leaving a much more experienced looking bench.

It would be wrong to suggest that Swansea weren't the better side in the first half. They were very much so for the most of it although we did come very close to taking the lead through Danny Ings after he'd linked up well with strike partner Lukas Jutkiewicz.

By then we'd had one escape when a Wilfried Bony header was cleared off the line by Jason Shackell, a piece of defending that was highlighted on this morning's Goals on Sunday programme on Sky.

Tom Heaton saved from Gylfi Sigurdsson but on 23 minutes was beaten as the home side took the lead.

It was certainly not a good goal from our point of view. Angel Rangel played the ball down the right hand side. Ben Mee misjudged it and that allowed Dyer to go clear. His shot did take a bounce just in front of Heaton but he still got a hand to it but couldn't prevent it from going in.

It momentarily quietened what had been superb away support and I wondered what might happen next. When last in the Premier League we had an amazing ability to throw games away on the road as soon as we'd gone a goal behind.

Too often goal number two quickly followed the first and quite simply, once two behind, that is just about the end of the contest.

In truth, without really threatening to get back into it, we got through to half time without any more real scares so went in just a goal behind, and the half time talk around the away end was very positive. "We need to stay in the game," one fan said to me whilst another said: "We're still very much in this and I'm sure we'll step it up in the second half."

Step it up we did, and for the most part we were by far the better side. Gary Monk said afterwards that he'd warned his players and by the time they returned to the dressing room again I'm sure they were very grateful to have held onto the points after an excellent 45 minutes from the Clarets.

We got an early corner after a Jutkiewicz shot was blocked, but the closest we came to getting that all important goal was from a Juke header just over the top and then a great effort from David Jones, after a link up with Ings, that forced an outstanding save from Lukasz Fabianski.

Roared on by almost a thousand Burnley fans we did all but get that goal. Swansea were, time and again, thankful for the defending of Ashley Williams, the outstanding player in the game. It was so undeserved that we were still on the wrong end of the scoreline when referee Craig Pawson blew his final whistle.

Whilst on the subject of the referee, he really needs to do better with his vanishing spray. On one occasion in the second half he used it to mark the position of the ball then paced his ten yards. Before using his spray again the Swansea wall moved up a yard and a half, he didn't notice and put his mark there.  It made no difference, but it might have done.

This was our first away defeat in the league since Boxing Day, surely some kind of record for us, but you wouldn't have thought it given the ovation our players received.

Dyche hit the nail firmly on its head after the game in his summary of both halves of the game, and maybe, as he suggested, we did show them too much respect during that first 45 minutes.

He was pleased with the result but also said he wasn't naive enough to not realise we need to win games and get points on the board. Defeats, whether they be 1-0 or 4-0, are not going to get us anywhere, but there were so many positive things to take from this performance that I'm sure those points and wins will be with us sooner rather than later.

I know no points from the first two games isn't the best of starts, but interestingly I've just taken a look to see which Premier League teams kicked off last season with two defeats. There are just two of them, Palace and Swansea, and neither of them were close to the drop at the end of the season.

I was asked on Friday how I'd found the Swansea fans on previous visits to the Liberty. "They have been fine, nothing like Cardiff," was my answer.

I know it is easier when you've won but I was amazed at the number of Swans' fans who approached us after the game as we made the way back to the car, to congratulate us on our performance. All of them felt we deserved to take something from the game and all of them were impressed with the way we tried to play and the fact that we turned up actually trying to win the game.

We got back in good time, taking in the t20 Blast final on the way. Sadly, sat next to a Yorkshireman in the car, the four run loss was that little bit harder to take. How fantastic it would have been had Freddie been able to win it for us.

A 1-0 defeat, then a four run defeat, and finally, back home, and the appalling Alan Shearer. Do they really pay this bloke for his nonsense? We know we didn't play well in the first half, and we know we did play well in the second half. We also know you are the man who took Newcastle down and the man who is still to make a worthwhile comment on Match of the Day.

So thanks to Chris Kamara and Steve Clarke this morning on Goals on Sunday, and it was also refreshing to hear the words of Jose Mourinho yesterday. Having beaten Leicester at Stamford Bridge, he said: "I have to say well done to Leicester and Burnley because they both played to win."

We'll continue to play to win and I'm sure we will win. How many times and how far it takes us remains to be seen, but I'm damn sure I'm going to make the most of it and enjoy it, and I really enjoyed our second half performance yesterday.

The teams were;

Swansea : Lukasz Fabianski, Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams, Jordi Amat, Neil Taylor, Ki Sung-Yueng, Jonjo Shelvey, Nathan Dyer (Jefferson Montero 66), Gylfi Sigurdsson, Wayne Routledge (Dwight Tiendalli 90), Wilfried Bony (Bafetimbi Gomis 64). Subs not used: Gerhard Tremmel, Kyle Bartley, Jazz Richards, Josh Sheehan.
Yellow Cards: Jonjo Shelvey, Gylfi Sigurdsson.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee, Scott Arfield, Dean Marney, David Jones (Marvin Sordell 90+1), Matt Taylor (Ross Wallace 72), Danny Ings, Lukas Jutkiewicz (Ashley Barnes 82). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Steven Reid, Stephen Ward, Michael Kightly.
Yellow Card: Michael Duff.

Referee: Craig Pawson (South Yorkshire).

Attendance: 20,565.