Friday 9 December 2016

Williams gets Guidolin era off to winning start

Published 19/01/2016 | 02:30

New Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
New Swansea head coach Francesco Guidolin. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
Swansea's Ashley Williams and Jordi Amat celebrate at full time. Photo: Matthew Childs / Action Images via Reuters
Swansea's Federico Fernandez and Watford's Troy Deeney Photo: Matthew Childs / Action Images via Reuters

Francesco Guidolin watched from the stands as Swansea City took a big stride towards Premier League safety with a nervy victory over Watford at the Liberty Stadium.

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The three points move Swansea above Newcastle and out of the relegation zone ahead of Sunday's trip to Everton, when head coach Guidolin will be in charge.

A rare Ashley Williams goal, headed home from inside the six-yard box after 27 minutes, was enough to give Swansea only a third win in 18 league attempts.

It was far from pretty at times but that will not worry a Swansea side who inflicted a fourth straight league defeat on Watford.

Guidolin's appointment was confirmed before kick-off and the former Parma, Palermo and Udinese coach took his place in the stand as Swansea sought to escape the bottom three. The 60-year-old witnessed a pretty drab opening with Jack Cork's wayward effort the only shot in the first 20 minutes.

Watford barely mustered an attack in the first half but might have been awarded a penalty after 21 minutes when Kyle Naughton handled right on the edge of the area. The Hornets were soon behind after Andre Ayew had tested Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes for the first time.

Ki Sung-yueng retrieved a loose ball down the right and his cross was met by Williams, who took advantage of Miguel Britos misjudging the flight by directing his header goalwards for his first goal since March 2014.

Swansea saw their own penalty shout ignored when Ben Watson leaned into Neil Taylor's shot with referee Michael Oliver adjudging the contact was more shoulder than arm.

Watford came within inches of equalising late on when Juardo almost punished Neil Taylor's error but Swansea sub Bafetimbi Gomis struck a post in stoppage time as they held on to move a into 17th place.

Irish Independent

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