It looked like Swansea were going to have a very good day. Despite going 2-0 down to lowly Stoke City (before halftime!), the Swans had recovered brilliantly. A brace from Wilfriend Bony and a neat strike from Nathan Dyer had them back in control and set to win in comeback style. And then things fell apart again, culminating in a late penalty and a 3-3 draw.
The fireworks began early. Swansea captain Ashley Williams picked up an ankle injury in challenging for a corner and was forced off for treatment, and the visitors were merciless in exploiting his absence. Jonathan Walters charged straight at where Williams would have been, and neither Chico Flores nor Ben Davies were able to stop him from barrelling past them, latching onto Peter Crouch's pass, and pinging a shot in off Gerhard Tremmel's far post.
Down 1-0, the Swans were still looking confident that they'd be able to get back into the game. They nearly did so through Bony only for the Ivorian to poke wide (albeit in acrobatic fashion), but were immediately punished for going forward by a quite lovely Stoke riposte. Crouch sprayed the ball to Walters on the right flank, who returned possession to the big striker, who picked out Stephen Ireland's unchecked run into the box. The former Villa man's first touch was perfect, allowing him to shift his feet and guide a shot under Tremmel for a 2-0 lead.
Swansea's profligacy continued. Asmir Begovic was forced into a spectacular double save after an Erik Pieters error let Bony in one on one -- the striker was denied by a good tackle and then Wayne Routledge's effort was pushed aside. But the hosts' magical act of not scoring had to come to an end, and end it did in the 56th minute, when Jonathan de Guzman's excellent cross was headed in by Bony from close range.
Game on. The momentum was now with the hosts, and it wasn't long before they were back on level terms. Dyer, who came on just before Bony's goal, was the scorer, doing brilliantly to fire off a shot despite being under heavy pressure. Said shot was placed perfectly, trickling past a sprawling Begovic and into the far corner. 2-2.
There was only ever going to be one winner from that point. Swansea cranked up the pressure, and the Potters eventually cracked. The goal came from Bony, who had already made up for his first-half misses with the header that got the hosts back into the match just before the hour mark. This time he did one better, pulling back off his defender then sweeping in a low cross from Jonjo Shelvey to seemingly cap off a quite incredible comeback.
The drama, as it turned out, was not yet over. Angel Rangel had already found himself in trouble for an off-the-ball skirmish with Crouch, picking up a yellow card, but worse was to come for the Swans right back. In the 94th minute, he threw himself into the way of a cross, blocking the ball with his chest. The referee, however, saw things differently, ruling that Rangel had handled the ball.
The free kick led to a corner. The corner led to another handball, this time committed by Wayne Routledge -- and in the penalty box. A spot kick was awarded, and Charlie Adam stepped up to convert, ruining the good vibes around the Liberty Stadium and ensuring that Stoke came away with a point.
Swansea City starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Gerhard Tremmel; Ben Davies, Ashley Williams, Chico Flores, Angel Rangel; Leon Britton, Jonathan de Guzman (Jonjo Shelvey 71'); Roland Lamah (Nathan Dyer 55'), Pozuelo, Wayne Routledge; Wilfried Bony.
Goals: Bony 56' 86', Dyer 74'.
Stoke City starting lineup (4-2-3-1): Asmir Begovic; Erik Pieters, Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron; Wilson Palacios (Charlie Adam 72'), Steven Nzonzi; Marko Arnautovic (Matthew Etherington 54'), Stephen Ireland (Marc Wilson 72'), Jonathan Walters; Peter Crouch.
Goals: Walters 8', Ireland 25', Adam 96' (p).
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