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16:54 15th August 2009

Swans beaten by Boro in home opener

The Swans are still without a Championship point after this 3-0 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.

Despite a promising start the visitors opened the scoring just after the half-hour through Adam Johnson but Paulo's side did have chances to level, especially during a dominant start to the second-half.

Marvin Emnes made it two and the Swans still had chances to claw their way back into this contest, but as time ticked on substitute Tuncay wrapped up the win for Boro with a late strike from close-range.

The Swans welcomed Middlesbrough to the Liberty Stadium for the first time and manager Paulo Sousa made three changes to the side that beat Brighton.

Two of those changes came at the back where Ashley Williams and Angel Rangel came in to replace Fede Bessone and Matty Collins respectively.

Shaun MacDonald also returned from Wales Under-21 duty to take the place of the injured Jordi Lopez in midfield.

Swans: Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Garry Monk(C), Ashley Williams, Alan Tate; Leon Britton, Shaun MacDonald (Jazz Richards, 63'), Andrea Orlandi (Gorka Pintado, 76'), Mark Gower (Casey Thomas, 63'), Nathan Dyer; Stephen Dobbie.

Not Used:David Cornell (GK), Marcos Painter, Fede Bessone, Chad Bond.

Middlesbrough: Danny Coyne, Tony McMahon, David Wheater, Robert Huth (C), Jonathan Grounds, Mark Yeates (Julio Arca, 85'), Gary O'Neil, Rhys Williams, Adam Johnson, Leroy Lita (Jonathan Franks, 79'), Marvin Emnes (Tuncay Sanli, 68').

Not Used: Jason Steele (GK), Justin Hoyte, Andrew Taylor, Seb Hines.

Attendance: 16,201 Away: 630

Referee: P Taylor (Hertfordshire)


The Liberty crowd was buzzing as the referee got this opening home clash underway and within two minutes of the start Nathan Dyer started to show glimpses of what the Boro defence can expect.

The pacy winger peeled clear of Jonathan Ground after playing a neat one-two with Stephen Dobbie before over hitting his cross; it didn't matter, however, as Mark Gower was flagged for offside.

Middlesbrough, though, showed their experience and were awarded three corners in the space of as many minutes.

And it was from their third set piece, taken by Adam Johnson, that David Wheater connected with a header to strike the post while the follow up strike from skipper Robert Huth was blocked by Ashley Williams.

The home side soaked up the pressure and were given a spell to play their normal game, with Dyer the architect of the Swans' first attempt on 12 minutes as he fed Stephen Dobbie to send a weak shot wide of the target.

But the Scottish striker did hit the target five minutes later, shooting straight at Welsh international stopper Danny Coyne following Alan Tate's run down the left.

Dobbie also saw a deflected shot trickle safely into the arms of Coyne, Leroy Lita header from Gary O'Neil's cross sailed over the bar, but the former Reading man was in an offside position, while Mark Yeates rifled a powerful shot inches past Dorus de Vries' right-hand post just before the half-hour.

The game's first yellow card was shown with 30 minutes played to Boro defender Rhys Williams, who opted to play senior international football for Australia instead of Wales, for a challenge on Mark Gower.


And two minutes later the Liberty crowd witnessed the first goal of the afternoon, unfortunately coming at the wrong end, as midfielder Adam Johnson fired across the face of goal and into the corner of de Vries' net.

Fans of both clubs were treated to a tense finish to the opening period with Lita offering Boro's best chance of a second in attack while Dobbie had the Swans' best effort of the closing stages.

Angel Rangel burst out of defence, carrying the ball deep into the Boro half before finding Dobbie on the edge of the box, the Scot opted to strike instead of picking out a frustrated Rangel who'd carried on his run into the area and was left unmarked.

Dobbie's effort, incidentally, was blocked inside the area.

Half-Time: Swans 0 Middlesbrough 1

The Swans made a strong start to the second-half as they won three corners in quick succession; the first from Andrea Orlandi was cleared for another corner, the second was taken short by Gower to Dyer whose strike deflected wide while the third, also from Gower, was headed over by Ashley Williams.

But the home side created their best chance of the game on 47 minutes with Dyer and Rangel linking-up well with a one-two down the right, the latter burst into the area and picked out Dobbie whose mis-hit strike drifted wide.

Despite the encouraging start the hosts fell further behind on 52 minutes following an error in defence; Ashley Williams gifted possession to Mark Yeates, the ex-Colchester man found Marvin Emnes and striker thundered a fierce strike past de Vries and into the roof of the net from 18-yards.

The Swans attempted to offer an immediate reply as Dobbie again failed to hit the target, this time pulling his shot across the face of Coyne's goal, while Garry Monk headed an Orlandi corner wide of the target moments later.

Orlandi had a crack at goal himself just after the hour as his free-kick was tipped over the bar for a corner, and from Gower's resulting flag-kick Monk came to within inches of connecting which would have been a goal bound effort.

Paulo made his first changes of the game on 63 minutes as first year pros Jazz Richards and Casey Thomas were brought on to make their Championship debuts in place of Shaun MacDonald and Mark Gower respectively.


Adam Johnson fired over before substitute Tuncay found space to force de Vries into pushing his attempt wide.

But the Swans went on a sweeping counter attack as Ashley Williams cleared his lines, the ball fell to Casey Thomas who sent Nathan Dyer on his way but the winger couldn't hit the target with his low effort.

The game was all over with just under 10 minutes remaining as Boro grabbed a third, Adam Johnson's corner from the right finding Tuncay in the heart of the area who was left with a simple finish to make it 3-0.

The home side never gave up and were denied a consolation goal in the last minute through a fine double save from Coyne, the Welshman stopping Nathan Dyer and then substitute Gorka Pintado's strike from close-range.

Stephen Dobbie fired an injury-time free-kick into the arms of Coyne to mark a disappoining end to the afternoon at the Liberty Stadium.

    Data provided by Press Association