FA Premier League
Swansea City 0-2 Everton
A re-visit for me today, but a welcome one, and a chance to see my beloved Blues play at the Liberty Stadium for the very first time. The last time the Blues played in Swansea was at the Vetch Field back in 1982, Everton running out 3-0 winners, but that was in the days before Rupert Murdoch invented football and the Premier League.
I first visited the Liberty back in 2005, when it was simply called the New Stadium, for a drab goalless League One clash against Oldham Athletic. Leon Britton is the only survivor from the team that day who also started today.
The Swans rise has been steady as Brendan Rodgers continued the good work started by Roberto Martinez (who was also playing that day back in 2005) to guide the Swans the promised land of the Premier League.
Rodgers' Swansea side have been receiving plaudits galore for their style of play but today, in David Moyes, they came up against experienced campaigner as he set up a team to play high up the pitch and stifle the Swans, who like to play from the back, and then hopefully pick them off. His game plan worked a treat.
The first half was, in truth, a non-event as Everton stopped Swansea, despite all their possession, getting into any sort of rhythm. Danny Graham had the best chance of the half but he shot tamely at Tim Howard. As the half wore on Everton started to come into the game more as an attacking threat and this continued at the start of the second period.
Once Leighton Baines scored a sublime free-kick (59) there was only going to be one winner. Everton began to dominate the attacking play more as Swansea ran out of ideas. Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic all went close before the Croatian doubled Everton's advantage. Game over.
The Blues could've added to the scoreline but 2-0 it finished as Everton became only the 3rd team, after United and Norwich, to win at the Liberty (so far) this season. A great 3 points.
The only disappointing aspect on a personal level was that I was sat in amongst the Swans fans so couldn't cheer any of the goals and had to sit there pretending to be glum, I certainly enjoyed the silence though!!
The Liberty Stadium is a fantastic modern arena, but like other new grounds such as Derby, Middlesbrough, Colchester, Shrewsbury etc etc they are just soulless bunkers, though at least Swansea supporters do generate some noise.
Swansea's home from 1912 to 2005 was the Vetch Field and, yes in some eyes, it was a dump, but it could also be argued it was a fantastic example of a proper old ground, that had bags of character. Another of these dying breeds that bit the dust.
I visited the Vetch on a February Friday night back in 2000 to watch Chester City succumb to a stoppage time winner.
A crowd of 6,336 watched Siggi Eyjolfsson give Chester a first half lead and hold onto it until six minutes from time, when Nick Richardson put through his own net, and then watch in horror as ex-Wrexham man Steve Watkin scored in the 95th minute to give the Swans an undeserved victory.
Re-visiting Swansea today has given me the opportunity to publish these photos of the Vetch, taken in 2008, three years after the ground hosted it's last competitive game. The ground wasn't demolished until 2011 and the land on which it stood is now an area of allotments.