by Matt Williams & Editor
A HAT-TRICK from Cameron Keetch and a wonder-strike from Kane Owen sealed the victory for USW over Swansea after a rocky start.
The home side went two goals down in the first five minutes of the match, but dogged resilience paid off to give last season’s league champions a hard-fought win.
Swansea got the game underway and a fast paced tempo from the off was rewarded when they scored a sublime goal just two minutes in.
Their No.9 frontman got the goal and USW’s poor start quickly became a dream for the visitors. A goalkeeping error allowed Swansea’s No.25 to coolly pass the ball into an empty net in just the fifth minute of play.
Swansea continued to force USW to clear their lines with relentless pressure, but with neither side really creating any clear cut chances. Captain Kane Owen was the figurehead of some much-needed defensive prowess, to keep Swansea at bay.
USW had a chance in the 20th minute from a corner but the effort sailed miles over the bar. The home side began to build some possession, although their long ball approach initially failed to reap any rewards.
USW began to dominate the midfield with a real foothold and you could feel the pace of the game increasing considerably.
Just over ten minutes to go before half time and USW were back in it through a lovely finish from Cameron Keetch after a great cross whipped into the box. Game on.
Two minutes later and they were almost level, Liam Edwards dribbling past the opposition defender to force a low driven shot just wide of the far post.
Swansea built up a number of key passages of play within the USW box, but tight-knit defending from the hosts and an organised Owen at the back ensured Swansea were left as unsuccessful as they were relentless.
Half time: USW 1-2 Swansea
Lee Kendall’s side began the second half with a couple of free kicks whipped into the box, with two low driven half volleys saved by the keeper.
Keetch saw an effort saved relatively easily, keeping them behind on the scoreboard.
Just over 20 minutes into the second half though and the tide began to turn. USW had their equaliser out of absolutely nothing, through their ever industrious skipper Owen.
An unbelievable long range strike from well outside the box fired into the far post top corner. The travelling keeper stood no chance whatsoever. Pick that out.
Just two minutes later and USW were ahead, Keetch with a brilliant finish after some great link up play to give the hosts the lead for the first time in the game. Deservedly so too.
USW and their counterparts both began employing the same tactics, with long balls over the top and a string of passes to their wide players in a bid to feed their strikers in the box.
Five minutes from time and USW sealed the win with a superb lofting finish from Keetch once again, with a brilliant dunk over the outrushing keeper. 4-2 and surely game over.
Just as the game looked like it had passed Swansea, the visitors pulled one back with a smart, acrobatic finish to keep the pressure on USW.
It proved to be too little too late as USW held on for the win and a huge three points.
USW were the slightly more aggressive side in the end and deservedly got the win despite some moments of brilliance from Swansea Uni.
USW head coach Kendall was naturally pleased with the result and praised the unity in his squad, which has been hampered by injuries and non availability of players throughout the campaign.
“A win. Let’s put it that way. I felt like we were slow getting out of the blocks. But I believe in these players.”
Regarding his team’s comeback Kendall said: “It epitomises what we’re about as a team. We’ve got unbelievable individual players, but the thing we back ourselves on is our togetherness. This group are excellent in what they do in regards to team spirit.
“I’m really pleased for the players because they work so hard.”
Kendall’s side face league leaders Hartpury next week before their final game of the season the following Wednesday, the reverse fixture at Swansea.