Sunday, 29 January 2012

Barmy Rodgers Throws In Towel On FA Cup Bid

BARMY Brendan Rodgers threw in the towel on Swansea’s cup hopes before this tie even started.

The Irishman stripped his team of the players who have taken the Premier League by storm this season and watched the Swans crash out 2-1 to Bolton at the Reebok.

Only Ashley Williams survived from Rodgers’ last Premier League eleven and the stand-ins paid the price.

To add to the Welshmen’s pain it was old boy Darren Pratley who sent them on their way to defeat by netting the equaliser before Chris Eagles showed the true extent of Rodgers’ folly.

A full-strength Swansea side would have cantered to a Fifth-Round spot. Even with the stiffs on display they nearly nabbed a draw when sub Danny Graham headed against the post late on.

As it was, Rodgers rested the men he is relying on to keep the club in the top flight and robbed his fans of a glory-filled FA Cup run.

“I felt we deserved something from the game,” said the Swansea boss. “We were nowhere near our best but I still felt we did enough to get something out of the game.

“I made changes to make sure the team was fresh. I put a lot of trust in the players but we made too many mistakes.”

Bolton boss Owen Coyle was delighted to go through to the Fifth Round-draw. He said: “It was more than a win. We were excellent. We started the game really well and I felt really hard done by to lose the opening goal.

“The reaction was excellent. In the second half we scored a great goal and we should have added to it.”

It took Swansea’s new-look team time to get to know each other. Passes went astray and smart runs were not rewarded.

And at the back they were a shambles. David N’Gog raced through and wastefully aimed straight at keeper Gerhard Tremmel.

Chris Eagles then hooked an effort wildly off target from inside the box and Tremmel saved from Martin Petrov.

Finally, after 35 minutes, the Swans gave Bolton a scare. A sweeping move sent Leroy Lita away down the right and his low cross allowed Wayne Routledge to prod past Adam Bogdan – from an offside position.

It was not long before Swansea were scrapping for their lives once again in their own box with Tremmel getting a glove to David Wheater’s header before it crept past the post.

But out of nowhere the Welshmen were ahead. Minutes before the break, the ball rolled to Luke Moore following Dedryk Boyata’s challenge on Lita.

He spotted space behind Wheater and decided to take the stopper on for pace, embarrassing him in the process by pushing the ball through his legs before poking home.

The lead lasted four minutes. Petrov delivered a free-kick to the far post, Pratley walked away from his marker and headed home from close range two minutes into stoppage time.

Swansea suddenly upped their game in the second half. Everyone that is apart from Tremmel.

He should easily have coped with Petrov’s low drive from the left of the box.

But the jittery German fumbled to gift Eagles a chance to shoot on the turn and fire Bolton ahead.

Pratley seemed incapable of putting his former club to the sword and fired a simple chance wide.

And his generosity nearly came back to haunt him when Graham hit the post with a header in the final ­minutes.

That was Swansea’s last chance.

Bolton could not believe their luck as they dared to dream of another trip to Wembley and absolution for last season’s semi-final defeat.

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