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17:01 24th April 2010

Swans slip to Bramall Lane defeat

Angel Rangel made his return to the starting eleven following a brief spell on the sidelines with a groin injury.

The full-back was forced to withdraw from the last away game at Bristol City with just seven minutes played and he returned in place of the player that played in his absence, Albert Serran.

The only other change for the visitors was the inclusion of one old Blades player for another, with Nathan Dyer replacing David Cotterill out wide.

Blades: Paddy Kenny, Kyle Bartley, Chris Morgan (C), Nyron Nos worthy, Gary Naysmith (Marcel Seip, 70'), Glen Little, Nick Montgomery, James Harper, Stephen Quinn (Mark Yeates, 33'), Richard Cresswell, Henri Camara (Ched Evans, 64').

Not Used: Derek Geary, Mihkel Aksalu, Jonathan Fortune, Matthew Lowton.

Swans:Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams, Garry Monk(C), Fede Bessone; Leon Britton, Mark Gower, Darren Pratley (Andrea Orlandi, 75'), Nathan Dyer (David Cotterill, 65'), Cedric van der Gun (Lee Trundle, 75'); Shefki Kuqi.

Not Used:David Cornell (GK), Gorka Pintado, Joe Allen, Albert Serran.

Attendance: 25,966

Referee: S Mathieson (Greater Manchester)

This was a big afternoon for the Swans with at least a victory setting up the visitors nicely in their bid to guarnatee their play-off place.

The home side got this affair underway on a sunny day in South Yorkshire and the Swans defence were forced to deal with some early pressure.

But it was Paulo's side that created the better openings inside the first 10 minutes with both Mark Gower and Shefki Kuqi close to latching on to through balls while Garry Monk's deep cross was safely cleared by the Blades' defence.

Henri Camara fired high and wide for the home side with 13 minutes played only for the Swans to race forward and create the game's best chance so far - it was route one through Angel Rangel who picked out Kuqi inside the area, the striker's neat flick played in Darren Pratley but his snap shop was stopped by Kenny, while another attack saw Cedric van der Gun pull his effort wide moments later.

The Swans were looking dangerous as they attacked and with 23 minutes played the Dutchman turned provider, crossing low to the edge of the box to Gower but his effort was blocked by James Harper.

The former Southend man looked lively in midfeld and was certainly putting himself about in and around the Blades' box - the midfielder came close to breaking the deadlock just before the half-hour when he forced Kenny into saving again.

There was a big shout for a Swansea penalty just before the break when Darren Pratley was brought down, the referee decided to award a free-kick right on the edge of the area with the protests of the Swans' players in jest.

Fede Bessone placed the ball, curled it cleanly around the wall and came to within inches of breaking the deadlock only for Kenny to fingertip the ball around the post to safety.

Half-Time: Blades 0 Swans 0

There was another strong start by the visiting side to this second-half and they were able to test Paddy Kenny from another set-piece just five minutes in, the experienced 'keeper pushing Fede Bessone's strike around his right-hand post.

Paulo's side were dominated the 'shots on target' count but just found it hard to put the ball between the sticks as Kenny, playing his first game in nine months, twice denied Pratley in a matter of minutes just before the hour.

The Blades rarely threatened Dorus de Vries' goal during the afternoon, the Dutch shot stopper hardly had a stop to make, but a huge error just after the hour handed Kevin Blackwell's side a sickening opener.

Ashley Williams gifted possession to Glen Little just outside the Swans' area and the ball eventually found its way to Richard Cresswell who curled into the corner of the net from close-range.

Swansea picked themselves up and almost found themselves within minutes through a counter attacking move - it was three on three with Pratley releasing Gower to go one-on-one with Kenny, he pulled his shot across the face of the goalkeeper but couldn't hit the target.

Extra fire power in attack was certainly required and, with 15 minutes remaining, Andrea Orlandi and Lee Trundle were thrown on - the latter almost making an immediate impact only to have ball robbed from his feet by Harper inside the area.

But no matter what was thrown at the Blades' goal nothing was going in, while de Vries was forced to come to the rescue three minutes before the end when he touched Ched Evans' volley around the post for a corner.

He wasn't so lucky two minutes later as the home side wrapped up the points in disappointing fashion - a counter attacking move saw Glen Little pick out Cresswell inside the area, the striker took the ball to the byline and, as he attempted to pick out Evans with his cross, it struck the inside of de Vries leg and trickled into the net.

Mark Gower's injury-time free-kick was spectacularly stopped by Kenny to sum up a frustrating afternoon in South Yorkshire.
    Data provided by Press Association