Thursday 20 July 2017

Swansea look to Vorm

Joe Lovejoy , at the Liberty Stadium

The last time Swansea City were promoted to league football's top division, 30 years ago, they announced themselves by thrashing Leeds 5-1. History was never going to repeat itself yesterday, and it took a penalty save by Michel Vorm, the Welsh club's new Dutch goalkeeper, to spare them a second defeat in the space of six days.

Holland's No 2 keeper gained instant favouritism with his new home crowd by plunging low to his right to keep out Ben Watson's second half spot kick.

The first question was answered early. Roberto Martinez had wondered what sort of treatment he would receive on returning to the club he served so well. He need not have worried, his greeting was appropriately warm.

To the concern of the home crowd, however, the lion's share of possession again produced precious little where it mattered, and the danger of conceding to a breakaway was underlined in the last minute of the first half, when Vorm was called upon to make his first save, at Gomez's expense.

The second half posed one obvious question: Was either of them good enough to go that step further and win? Both clearly thought they could, and Victor Moses saw a goalbound shot deflected for an unproductive corner, then Routledge fired inches wide of Al Habsi's right-hand post.

The vital first goal was only inches away after 69 minutes, when Gomez struck a post with Vorm beaten.

It should have come in the 72nd minute, when Moses shot against the crossbar and in the consequent melee Williams brought down Gomez. Watson stepped up to take a penalty and Vorm assumed heroic status.

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