Zola gets run out in reserves against Fulham reserves at Motspur Park
Wednesday 14th March
Swans Reserves produced a battling performance to earn a point against Fulham in an entertaining encounter at Motspur Park.
Alan Curtis's side took the lead after just ten minutes when Casey Thomas turned home Gwion Edwards' cross, before James Loveridge missed a penalty shortly after. However, the home side came out strongly in the second period and levelled early on when Kerim Frei curled home from the edge of the box. Both sides pushed for a winner as Thomas saw a goal ruled out for offside, while Jose Moreira saved twice from Pajtim Kasami. The second string were without a win in their last seven league games and were on the end of a 2-0 defeat against Aston Villa in their last outing at Parc y Scarlets. Fulham went into the game sitting fourth in the table, with the Swans sitting in 7th place having won four games this season. Alan Tate continued to build up his match fitness after recently returning to first team action following the broken leg he suffered back in August, and he was joined byJazz Richards and January signing Curtis Obeng. Fulham fielded an experienced side that contained no fewer than six internationals, notably Wales midfielder Simon Davies and Norway's Bjorn Arne Riise.
On a wonderful spring day in the capital, the Swans were rewarded for their positive start when they took the lead after just ten minutes at Motspur Park. The lively Gwion Edwards was sent clear down the right hand channel and his low cross was turned in from six yards by the onrushing Casey Thomas, as the winger netted his second goal in three outings. However, the home side nearly drew level moments later when Orlando Sa was set free by a lovely pass from Buomesca Bangna but the striker saw his effort from a tight angle parried away by Jose Moreira. And the Portuguese keeper had to be at his best three minutes later as he palmed away Kerim Frei's curling effort from the edge of the box. Despite the pressure from the hosts, Swansea were given a great chance to double their lead when they were awarded a penalty after 20 minutes. Edwards was sent clear again down the right and as he surged into the box he saw his progress halted by Rafik Halliche, who bundled the winger over and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. But James Loveridge couldn't convert the spot kick as David Stockdale dived to his left to produce a fine stop. The game continued its end to end start as Fulham came a whisker away from levelling when Bjorn Arne Riise produced a wonderful solo run from the halfway line before seeing his left foot shot come back off the post.
Fulham came out the traps quickly at the start of the second half and we rewarded with their positive start by equalising just five minutes after the restart. After some heavy pressure on the Swans goal, Kerim Frei collected the ball on the edge of the box before taking a step to his right and curling his effort past the outstretched Moreira and into the bottom left hand corner. And it nearly got worse for the visitors a few minutes later as Fede Bessone gave the ball away cheaply inside his own half and as Orlando Sa strode forward the striker curled the ball inches over the bar. Moreira had to be on his toes again on 59 minutes when a quick corner routine caught the Swans by suprise and Na Bangna crashed a half volley towards goal that the keeper parried away. However, the home side were forced into their first substitution of the afternoon on 63 minutes when Orlando Sa pulled up with what looked like a hamstring problem and he was replaced by striker Lauri Dalla Valle, who impressed while on loan at League One side Bournemouth last season. With the Swans playing predominantly on the counter attack, they had a chance to go ahead with just under ten minutes to go when Darnel Situ slipped in Loveridge but the striker saw his shot comfortably saved by Stockdale. And on 80 minutes Casey Thomas thought he may have won the game as he followed up Edwards' shot that was parried away, but the assistant referee had his flag up and the goal was ruled out for offside. Both sides continued to press for a winner, most notably the home side as Pajtim Kasami saw two fierce efforts parried away by Moreira late on.
Fulham Reserves: David Stockdale, Simon Davies, Matthew Briggs, Rafik Halliche, Dan Burn, Marcel Gecov, Bjorn Riise, Kerim Frei, Orlando Sa (Lauri Dalla Valle, 63), Pajtim Kasami, Buomesca Tue Na Bangna
Subs: Ryan Williams, Grant Smith, Alex Smith, Courtney Harris
Swans Reserves: Jose Moreira, Curtis Obeng, Darnel Situ, Alan Tate, Fede Bessone, Joe Walsh, Jazz Richards, Kurtis March (Jandir Zola, 77), Casey Thomas, Gwion Edwards, James Loveridge
Subs: Ashley Elsey, Ben Davies, Adam Hurrell