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14:50 15th January 2011

Stylish Swans sink lowly Palace

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Swansea City continued their promotion push at the
Liberty Stadium as they strolled to a comfortable 3-0 victory over struggling Crystal Palace in front of the live Sky cameras.

Darren Pratley got the first-half opener with Scott Sinclair adding two more from the penalty spot after the break.

It could easily have been more but the result fired the Swans back up the second spot in the Championship - albeit temporarily as the rest of the division kicked off later in the day.

Alan Tate returned from his three-match ban to skipper the Swans in the early kick-off against Crystal Palace.

The defender slotted in to replace the injured Garry Monk and partnered Ashley Williams at the heart of defence.

Dorus de Vries, Angel Rangel and Nathan Dyer also returned to the starting eleven after missing the FA Cup win against Colchester United.

The visitors, meanwhile, included Jermaine Easter on the bench less than two days after he left the Swans.

Swans: Dorus de Vries; Angel Rangel, Ashley Williams, Alan Tate(C), Jazz Richards (Daniel Alfei, 89'); Mark Gower, Joe Allen, Darren Pratley; Nathan Dyer (Cedric van der Gun, 85'), Scott Sinclair, Luke Moore (Stephen Dobbie, 85').

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

Palace: Julian Speroni, Nathaniel Clyne, Patrick McCarthy (C), Anthony Gardner, David Wright, Owen Garvan, Neil Danns, Andy Dorman (Calvin Andrew, 57'), Wilfred Zaha, Steffen Iversen (Jermaine Easter, 61'), Pablo Counago (Stuart O'Keefe, 71').

Not Used: Lewis Price (GK), Adam Barrett, Claude Davis, Kieran Cadogan.

Attendance: 13,369 Away: 287

Referee: J Moss (West Yorkshire)

The Swans had the chance to narrow the gap on league leaders QPR - albeit only for a few hours - if they could get a positive result against Crystal Palace in this early kick-off.

The live Sky cameras were on site in dismal weather conditions at the Liberty with the home side looking to build on their crushing FA Cup win against Colchester seven days earlier.

But it was Palace who had the game's first opportunity when Pablo Counago pulled his shot wide of goal while Mark Gower had the Swans' first opportunity five minutes in, connecting with Nathan Dyer's cross but sending his diving header over the bar.

The same player hit the target five minutes later from distance but Eagles' 'keeper Julian Speroni got down to collect the ball safely.

The first-half was a period of very few chances but the Swans were the dominant force and had to be patient in their attempts to break down a Palace defence strong in numbers.

Recent recruit Luke Moore did come close on the half-hour as he was close to connecting with Rangel's cross before meeting another delivery from the same player with his head but sending it straight at Speroni.

That seemed to bring more chances the Swans' way and after Moore went close again Nathan Dyer tried his luck from the angle with a snap shot into Speroni's hands after he was played in by Scott Sinclair.

But the best chance of the half fell to ex-Baggie Moore six minutes before the break with a fine touch and strike which came to within inches of going in - the striker used his strength to take the ball to feet and turn inside the area before pulling the trigger and, as it was directed for the net, Speroni acrobatically got his hand to it and pushed it away.

Even Angel Rangel got in on the action with a thunderous shot which deflected wide for another corner, but the pressure finally paid off as they took a deserved lead just before half-time. Gower and Sinclair played a one-two on the left and the latter crossed in from the byline, Moore missed it but Darren Pratley was in the ideal place to fire home his third in the last three home games.

Half-Time: Swans 1 Palace 0

The visitors were forced to adopt more of an attacking flair at the start of the second period in a bid to get back into this clash but the majority of possession was still enjoyed by Brendan Rodgers' side.

And Palace's task could have been even greater five minutes in as a long build-up concluded with Scott Sinclair finding space outside the box but curling onto the roof of the net.

He made amends moments later, however, with the game's second goal from the penalty shot. Nathan Dyer used his pace and trickery to forve David Wright into bringing him down, Sinclair stepped-up and coolly picked out the bottom corner to score his 15th of the campaign.

And two became three less than five minutes from Sinclair and the penalty spot again; this time Patrick McCarthy was the culprit and he handled Alan Tate's header from Mark Gower's cross, Sinclair showed the same swagger to beat Speroni and put the Swans in a comfortable position.

Dyer almost added a fourth as he cut in but saw his shot deflect wide off the 'keeper, but Palace replacement Jermaine Easter, who was still a Swansea player two days earlier, could have reduced the deficit but Dorus de Vries made his first proper stop of the afternoon to deny him.

That's the best it was going to get for Dougie Freedman's strugglers as the Swans continued to dominate play. Luke Moore was looking handy in attack and on 78 minutes he almost marked his league debut with a goal but shot straight across the face.

And that was to be his final involvement of the afternoon before being replaced by Stephen Dobbie. Cedric van der Gun was also introduced five minutes from time in place of Nathan Dyer who went off to a rapturous applause.

Daniel Alfei also had a few minutes at the end to make his league debut but before he would have had any time to get going the referee called time on what was a dominant Swansea City performance.

    Data provided by Press Association