It wasn't a classic as Swans are held to a draw at Liberty Stadium

Swans settle for a point against The Cherries 



Swansea City 0 - Bournemouth 0

By Fraser Watson

To put it mildly, it wasn’t a classic. 

It was however, enough to suggest Swansea City’s players possess the hard nosed desire needed to  remain in promotion contention between now and the end of this frantic Championship season. 

Steve Cooper’s men had to dig deep at times, quite literally given the horrendous state of the Liberty Stadium surface, to hold off a Bournemouth side for whom a draw was enough to take them top of the table - temporarily at least with Reading and Norwich in action tonight. 

The debate around the pitch, on which large, cut up areas were clearly visible, was one Cooper refused to be drawn into afterwards.  

Not a soft touch

“I think we are all searching for the answer.  

“I am a big believer in don’t let anything get in your way. We have quite a lot things go against us at this club because of where we are and who we are. 

“We can be seen at times as a bit of a soft touch. I am not having that. 

“We are trying to build a mentality in the group that it’s only us that can get in the way of ourselves, not anything else. We’ll just get on with it.” 

Opposite number Jason Tindall, inevitably, was less diplomatic. 

For 45 minutes the game itself it was a contest where needle and physicality outweighed quality. The nature of the opening exchanges were scrappy and the tone was set by Swans midfielder Korey Smith, who took a yellow card for clattering into David Brooks. 

It was Bournemouth who fashioned the openings though – Junior Stanislas shooting narrowly wide after being teed up by Lewis Cooke, before Dom Solanke headed straight at home keeper Freddie Woodman.
After Solanke fired wastefully over, it was Woodman whose clumsy ball out invited Welsh international Brooks to go through on goal – only for the keeper to make amends with a smart block. 

Swansea’s main opening came through Jamaal Lowe, who continues to look out of place as a winger in a lone striker role, as his run and 20 yard shot was comfortably stopped by a diving Asmir Begovic. 

Cook flashed another long range effort inches wide before the break and then in the early stages of the second half, Stanislas also volleyed wastefully off target from inside the area. 

Swansea were far from outplayed though. With Ayew again the main outlet going forward, and Yan Dhanda providing the threat from midfield, gaps began to appear. Indeed it was Dhanda whose driving run forward culminated with an angled shot into the side netting. 

The hostility continued though as home skipper Matt Grimes took Brooks out late, with Diego Rico, Billings and Solanke all seeing yellow for Bournemouth – and the hosts survived both a frantic goalmouth scramble and a penalty appeal after Brooks went tumbling under Joel Latibeaudiere’s challenge. 

Latibeaudiere was strong at the back

Had it been given, it would have been the only blot on Latibeaudiere’s copybook, as the 20-year-old delivered an assured defensive display on his first start since joining from Manchester City.
Cooke was yet again narrowly wide with a driven effort while at the other end, a Connor Roberts free kick from out wide caused momentary panic in the Bournemouth box. 

But overall, it was perhaps fitting a second half that didn’t yield an effort on target for either side finished goalless.
And afterwards, Cooper singled out Latibeaudiere for particular praise. 

“I thought he was outstanding,” said Cooper. 

“I can’t remember the last time he played a game. He can’t play for the Under-23s at the moment, he’s just recovered from an injury before he joined us from Man City. 

“For him to play at that level and that intensity tells you everything, not just about his level, about his attitude and commitment.” 

The result leaves Swansea fourth ahead of Saturday’s South Wales derby away to a resurgent Cardiff City, who last night beat Stoke to make it 12 points from 12. 

Last night, Cooper’s men showed their mettle, if not their full potential.  
Saturday, they may need to show both in abundance. 

Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Latibeaudiere; Roberts, Smith, Grimes (C), Bidwell; Dhanda (Palmer 75), Ayew, Lowe (Gyokeres 74). Subs not used: Benda, C Evans, Manning, Fulton, Palmer, Routledge, Garrick, Cullen. 
Bournemouth: Begovic; Mepham, S Cook (C), Kelly; Smith, L Cook, Billing (Lerma 85), Rico; Brooks (Surridge 82), Solanke, Stanislas. Subs not used: Travers, Simpson, Ofoborh, Gosling, Kilkenny, Riquelme, Anthony.