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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
10:52 29th December 2010

Easter on target to sink Tykes at Libert

Jermaine Easter scored his first goal for the club as the Swans bounced back with an entertaining victory at the Liberty Stadium.

The on loan MK Dons striker broke the deadlock just before the half-hour as he converted Nathan Dyer's cross from close-range, guiding the Swans to a first home success in three games.

There were other attempts to put the game to bed but the home side kept their lead and climbed back up to third in the Championship standings.

Brendan Rodgers made six changes to the side to play Barnsley.

Alan Tate took over the armband in place of Garry Monk and Neil Taylor, who came on at QPR two days ago, started at left back.

A new midfield trio consisted of Mark Gower, Andrea Orlandi and Stephen Dobbie, while Jermaine Easter made his full debut in attack.

The only other change was on the wing with David Cotterill replacing Scott Sinclair.

Swans: Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Alan Tate(C), Ashley Williams, Neil Taylor; Mark Gower (Darren Pratley, 69'), Andrea Orlandi, Stephen Dobbie (Scott Sinclair, 80'); Nathan Dyer, David Cotterill; Jermaine Easter (Joe Allen, 63').

Not Used:Yves Makabu-Makalambay (GK), Garry Monk, Kemy Agustien, Craig Beattie.

Barnsley: Luke Steele; Bobby Hassell, Jason Shackell (C), Stephen Foster, Kieran Trippier, Nathan Doyle (Diego Arismendi, 66'), Jim O'Brien (Jacob Butterfield, 71'), Hugo Colace, Adam Hammill, Goran Lovre, Andy Gray (Paul Hayes, 68').

Not Used: David Preece (GK), Jeronimo Neumann, Steve Bennett, Matt Hill.

Attendance: 15,093 Away: 208

Referee: G L Ward (Surrey)

Brendan Rodgers hinted before the festive period that changes could be made to the side in order to cope with the sheer amount of games to be played.

None expected that six would be made for this game as the Swans were seeking an immediate reaction to the 4-0 loss at QPR two days earlier.

One of the players drafted in, Stephen Dobbie, started in the unfamiliar role behind full debutant Jermaine Easter and had the first attempt of the day as he fired wide after four minutes.

A defence splitting pass by the Scot moments later also opened it up for Easter and David Cotterill, both of whom beat the offside trap, but after Easter slipped Cotterill lost the ball as he took it past 'keeper Luke Steele.

But Barnsley, to their credit, came to Swansea with the intention of playing football but had no end product during the early exchanges, while their hosts had the crowd on their feet as they went seeking an opener.

Ashley Williams flashed a header across goal from a corner, stand-in skipper Alan Tate saw a 20-yard drive deflect off Nathan Doyle and out for a corner, while Nathan Dyer raced on to the end of Dobbie's pass and forced Steele into saving from the angle.

The Tykes did threaten as Stephen Foster sent a header over from Adam Hammill corner on 23 minutes, but with 27 on the clock the Swans' pressure came to fruition.

Dyer played a neat one-two with Dobbie inside the box and as the former pulled it across Easter tapped home the opener from six-yards and celebrated his first goal for the club.

And on the half-hour he almost added a second when he connected with Cotterill's cross but flashed a diving header wide of goal, while two minutes later he was clean through from Dobbie's pass but stopped in his tracks by Foster.

This was by far one of the best spells enjoyed by Brendan Rodgers' side in recent weeks and after Dobbie fired wide goalscorer Easter crashed a header onto the bar from Dyer's cross - the Swans were desperately seeking that second goal before the break.

Dyer and Orlandi had further chances to extend the lead but, less than a minute before the break, Hammill was inches away from levelling as he curled a 20-yard free-kick past the post.

Half-Time: Swans 1 Barnsley 0

It was a somewhat nervy start to the second period by the home side as Barnsley exploded into life.

The Tykes spent a few minutes camped outside the Swans' penalty area and they were handed a great chance to level six minutes in as Goran Lovre found space 20-yards from goal and was inches away with his drive.

There was an immediate response as Dobbie shot over while Luke Steele was called into action just before the hour to deny Orlandi from his acrobatic effort.

With 63 minutes on the clock the home side made their first change with goal hero Jermaine Easter exiting to a rapturous applause to be replaced by Joe Allen.

But the star of the afternoon had undoubtedly been Nathan Dyer as he tormented full-backs Bobby Hassell and Kieran Trippier with his slick skills and pace. And with a little under 20 minutes remaining he weaved his way past his markers to reach the by-line, there were options inside the box and he picked out Dobbie whose strike was pushed wide by Steele at his near post.

Barnsley, however, were not going down without a fight and on 75 minutes Goran Lovre powered a header at goal from Hassell's delivery, forcing Dorus de Vries into making a fine stop as he dived away to his right.

And five minutes later the Dutchman came to the Swans' rescue again, this time to deflect substitute Paul Hayes' shot wide for a corner.

With a minute remaining, a great run from Sinclair took him to the byline before pulling a great ball back for Dyer inside the six yard area, but Steele somehow managed to block his shot with an unbelievable save.

Then in injury time, Sinclair was through himself but just as he prepared to pull the trigger he looked to be clipped by Trippier. The referee waved away the penalty appeals much to the disgust of the home crowd.

At the other end, Hayes had his effort ruled out for offside with the last kick off the game.

In the end it didn't matter though as Swansea clinched the victory and the much-needed three points to maintain their fourth place.

    Data provided by Press Association