Football: Devine Intervenes to Leave Swans in Need of Miracles; Swansea City 0 Exeter City 1 - Club's 83-Year Football League History Hangs by a Thread Again after Exeter Spoil Easter at the Vetch

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), April 22, 2003 | Go to article overview

Football: Devine Intervenes to Leave Swans in Need of Miracles; Swansea City 0 Exeter City 1 - Club's 83-Year Football League History Hangs by a Thread Again after Exeter Spoil Easter at the Vetch


Byline: Ian Hunt Vetch Field

THIS was not supposed to happen. The Easter weekend was meant to be the time Swansea City banished the spectre of Conference football once and for all.

Instead, the club's 83-year Football League history once again hangs by a thread after their second defeat in two days made it a disastrous holiday period.

With just two games to go, the Swans remain two points above the drop zone and close to the point where their fate is taken out of their own hands.

Exeter's priceless 1-0 victory at the Vetch yesterday brings them firmly back into the relegation shake-up with Brian Flynn admitting it is now a contest between four teams.

It could be just as well the game in hand the other two strugglers have - Shrewsbury and Carlisle - is against each other.

As it stands, only a miracle will prevent the Swans going into the final game of the season against Hull needing at least a point to avoid relegation.

And, on the basis of their two Easter performances, don't bet on them to get that point.

Shapeless and disorientated against Orient, Swansea created more chances against the Devon club, but still they were vulnerable in defence and wasteful in attack.

In front of the biggest - and most tense - Vetch Field crowd for three years, a whopping 9,115 supporters, the Swans were busy enough but simply lacked the cutting edge they are going to need to avoid dropping into the Conference on May 3.

It was staggering that Sean Devine's 69th-minute winner was the only goal of the game, such was the number of chances Exeter carved out.

But what else were they going to do?

Four points adrift of safety going into the game, Exeter - with celebrity board member Uri Geller in the stands - knew defeat at the Vetch plus wins for Carlisle and Bristol Rovers would send them down.

How agonising it must have been for Chris Todd, the Swansea-born defender lining up against his old team-mates for the first time since being cast out by former player-coach Nick Cusack last summer.

His options severely reduced through a series of injuries, Flynn made three changes to the team humbled in a one-sided contest at Orient.

Kris O'Leary and John Williams came in for Jason Smith and Kieron Durkan while Kevin Nugent returned for James Thomas, whose persistent ankle problem had ruled him out again. …

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