On a cold day at the Vetch, Swansea made predictably just the one change in their starting line-up although club captain Roberto Martinez was fit enough to take a place on the bench.
Duffy O'Leary Iriekpen Howard
Britton Johnrose Robinson
Durkan Nugent Trundle
The game started brightly enough with both sides looking as if they were going to make it a cup spectacle with players prepared to run at defenders. From the off it was evident that Stevenage were to be up for this as they challenged every Swansea player who had the ball although they seemed lacking in the ability to create something themselves. Trundle, Durkan and Robinson all had shots to trouble former Sunderland goalkeeper Perez in the Stevenage goal.
Stevenage though should have taken the lead around fifiteen minutes in when an obvious foul on Izzy was missed and as Swans appealed the visitors played on and a shot just passed the post with Roger well beaten.
At the other end, the Swans were having little joy and Trundle was being beaten to the ball as Stevenage were wise to his tactic of moving backwards for the ball to come to him. But we did take the lead halfway through the first half when Robinson met a ball at the far post and it rebounded off the bar straight to Kevin Nugent who was never going to miss from point blank range.
To be fair from there on in the remainder of the first half passed with little incident. Richard Duffy made one well time tackle just as it looked as if Stevenage would get an equaliser.
The start of the second half suggested a different game though as the tackles flew in and two goals in as many minutes threatened to really light up to what had been up until then a dull game. Stevenage equalised around five minutes into the second half with a well taken header from Elding. But before their celebrations had died down the Swans were back ahead. Lee Trundle was felled in the penalty area and a penalty looked the obvious outcome. The referee waved play on so Trundle simply got up, won the ball back and slid the ball past Perez to put the Swans 2-1 up.
This was cue for Stevenage to lose the plot a little and an off the ball incident between Elding and Duffy saw all players from both sides involved to calm the moment down. Elding was booked - he could easily have received a red card but strangely that was the only administration that the referee thought able to hand out despite all 22 players being involved. Watson followed him into the book three minutes later for a late challenge on Duffy and words were exchanged between the young Swansea full back and barking mad Stevenage manager Graham Westley as Duffy returned to the action.
Just as it looked as if the game was about to boil over it calmed down and again chances became at a premium but in the most fell Swansea's way. Robinson went close before Trundle beat two men in the Stevenage area but his shot was well saved by Perez. Elding believed he had equalised with around ten minutes left but had already been flagged offside and Izzy cleared a shot off the line with Roger already beaten.
But it was Swansea's name which entered the third round draw tomorrow and I'm sure everyone will be crossing their fingers that Number 64 gets a dream draw?
Man of the Match for me? He's come in for some stick over the last seven days, and I have been as guilty as anyone but for me Richard Duffy stood out. He won much in the air and made some well timed challenges. There was no doubt he was being wound up by Elding but he came through it well. Praise as well for Robinson although it was not one of his better games and also for both O'Leary and Izzy. Johnrose is no Martinez in the centre of midfield and two or three times he tried to play his way out of the central defence - against a better side he would have been punished.
The win is there and wonder where we will be on the first weekend of 2004!
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