Dyer and defense save Swans

Posted by Max Hicks

Tom Dulat/Getty ImagesOn a day when Swansea performed well below par, it fell to ex-Southampton youth product Nathan Dyer to save the day.

It is ironic the task of salvaging something from a game in which the Swans arguably deserved nothing fell to the one player for whom denting Southampton's survival hopes hurt the most.

Nathan Dyer, who joined the Southampton academy as an eight-year-old and learned his trade in the Saints 'promising young players' factory, provided the Swans' equalizer Saturday less than 10 minutes after Southampton's industry had provided a deserved goal.

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It was another bold statement from Dyer, recently the odd man out in the Swans' triple winger carousel. Once again, Dyer was introduced as the token 'impact sub', this time taking the Swans' floundering, fuzzy attack by the horns and creating an opportunistic goal almost from nothing.

Michu was instrumental: the Spaniard's pressure on inexperienced Saints goalkeeper Paulo Gazzaniga rushed the Argentine into playing a short and unfriendly pass to unappreciative centre back Maya Yoshida, whom Dyer stripped before saving the Swans' faces with a precision finish.

It was enough for the Swans to avoid embarrassment, but Southampton will feel unlucky not to have taken three points. Swansea played well defensively against a potent Southampton attack, Ash Williams back to his best and Garry Monk dominant while Ben Davies appears to be following Neil Taylor's career arc; raw at first but growing into his Premier League boots with each passing game, this time making a goal-saving block. Swansea seems to have a production line of its own at left back.

Notable was Rickie Lambert's absence from the scoresheet. The Swans defence did well to contain the striker, the latest in a recent line of lower-league scorers to make good at the domestic top level, following the likes of Grant Holt and the Swans' own Danny Graham.

Graham missed the game with injury, which no doubt made Michael Laudrup's decision to again start Michu as the lone striker that much easier, although he might have appreciated having the option. The Swans' top scorer hasn't found the net for four games now, and there were signs the pressure might be starting to take its toll. Michu came out of the dressing room alone several minutes before the start of the second half, seemingly unhappy with something or other.

As an attacking unit, the Swans performed with the uncomfortable air of recent grievance, a mild post-argument fugue settling over the forwards who struggled to communicate or execute as fluidly as usual. Whether there actually had been an argument is between Laudrup, his players and the dressing room walls, but something was interfering with the Swans collectivity, and it wasn't the Premier League's worst defence.

It is unfortunate the Swans were not able to take as much advantage of Southampton's porosity as other sides have, but on reflection, the point gained was a let-off for a side that failed to play to anything beyond 60 percent of its potential. With next week's trip to the Toon launching a tough four-game stretch (Liverpool and West Brom at home, Arsenal away), Swansea need to regroup quickly.

Positives: Getting a point despite playing poorly. Welcome back, the real Ash Williams; Nathan Dyer.

Negatives: Failure to flow in the face of an open floodgate.

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