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17:17 28th December 2009

Ten-man Swans held by Palace

Albert Serran saw red as the Swans were held to a goalless draw against Crystal Palace at the Liberty Stadium.

The defender was harshly dismissed just 17 minutes into this game following a challenge on Neil Danns which the referee deemed to be illegal.

The hosts started well with Gorka Pintado forcing 'keeper Julian Speroni into tipping his low effort onto the post before the controversial sending off.

Palace did look strong going forward, especially through Victor Moses, but the Swans' defence stayed strong with man of the match Dorus de Vries making some fine late saves.

Swans boss Paulo Sousa made three changes to the starting eleven for the Bank Holiday visit of Crystal Palace.

Albert Serran came in to replace Angel Rangel in defence while Joe Allen and Tom Butler replaced Andrea Orlandi and Nathan Dyer respectively.

There were also returns to the bench for Garry Monk, Mark Gower and Stephen Dobbie.

Swans:Dorus de Vries; Albert Serran, Ashley Williams, Alan Tate(C), Fede Bessone; Leon Britton, Joe Allen (Garry Monk, 24'), Darren Pratley, Cedric van der Gun (Nathan Dyer, 60'), Tom Butler; Gorka Pintado (Andrea Orlandi, 80').

Not Used:David Cornell (GK), Mark Gower, Stephen Dobbie, Lee Trundle.

Palace: Julian Speroni, Nathaniel Clyne, Johannes Ertl, Jose Fonte, Lee Hills, Clint Hill, Neil Danns (Sean Scannell, 90+1'), Shaun Derry (C), Darren Ambrose, Victor Moses (Freddie Sears, 69'), Calvin Andrews (Alan Lee, 58').

Not Used: Alassane N'Diaye, Nick Carle, Ryan Smith, James Comley.

Attendance: 18,794 Away: 440

Referee: A Taylor (Manchester)

The Liberty Stadium was jam packed for the start of this festive fixture with the majority of supporters in full voice from the off.

Despite an encouraging start from the visitors' point of view it was the home side, attacking the North Stand full of Swans fans for the first time this term, that had the game's first attempts at goal.

A third minute Tom Butler corner was cleared to the returning Joe Allen but he fired wide while a low, powerful drive from Gorka Pintado was tipped onto the post by Palace 'keeper Julian Speroni two minutes later.

The Swans continue to press and attack the Palace box with the five across midfield and Pintado in attack certainly looking lively.

But a controversial moment was to follow shortly after the quarter-hour mark when referee Anthony Taylor dismissed Albert Serran for a challenge on Neil Danns.


The defender and Palace midfielder were chasing the ball back towards Dorus de Vries goal when Danns went down under strength of Serran - but to the bemusement of the Swans players, bench and supporters he brandished a red card.

Following a few minutes of discussion Darren Ambrose finally got play under way, sending his set-piece high into the South Stand.

With a player missing at the back Paulo Sousa was quick to introduce skipper Garry Monk to make his return from injury, replacing Joe Allen who only moments before picked up a yellow card.

Palace started to come back into this fixture with their one-man advantage, Ambrose sending a shot wide of goal before the former Newcastle player delivered a dangerous free-kick into the area which Clint Hill sent over the top from a header.

Cedric van der Gun and Fede Bessone gave the home support something to cheer in the closing stages with runs down either flank while Darren Pratley was proving to be a nuisance for the Palace defence.

Darren Pratley also saw a deep free-kick cleared from the penalty spot deep into stoppage-time to complete a frustrating opening period for the hosts.

Half-Time: Swans 0 Palace 0

There was an explosive to the second period with the home side given a glorious chance to open the scoring just two minutes in.

Gorka Pintado was played through on goal and brought down just outside the area by Clint Hill - the defender was booked as was the Swans striker for remonstrating with the referee to book him.

Butler pulled the free-kick across the box to Cedric van der Gun, he sliced his effort to Alan Tate whose weak effort was calmly collected by Speroni.

Nathan Dyer was introduced in place of van der Gun on the hour and was in the thick of the action straight away.

The winger charged forward in a counter attacking move with Pintado where the Spanish front-man lost out, while in a separate move Dyer kept hold of the ball for far too long in the middle of Palace's half and was robbed of possession by Victor Moses.

And with 20 minutes remaining the same player was brought down just outside the area for what the majority inside a bitterly cold Liberty Stadium thought should have been a free-kick - the referee waved play on to the disappointment to players, management and fans alike.

Andrea Orlandi went on in place of Pintado 10 minutes from the end and within minutes sent a dangerous free-kick into the area, the ball ending in Speroni's hands, while Palace substitute Freddie Sears forced an excellent save from Dorus de Vries after charging down one-on-one with the Dutchman.

Barcelona product Orlandi was Speroni into saving his low drive four minutes before the end while the Eagles pressed for a winner with time running out - de Vries again denying Sears, this time with his legs, while Johannes Ertl drilled a half volley inches over the top of goal as the fourth official indicated a minimum of five minutes.

Swans skipper could have had the final stay deep into injury-time when he powered above the visiting defence to connect with Orlandi's corner, but unfortunately flashed his header across the face of goal.

    Data provided by Press Association