26/11/2016 15:00 v Crystal Palace

16th June 2017

Bizarre. Heartbreaking. Dramatic. Goalfest. Ecstasy.

Just some of the words you could use to sum up one of the most memorable, action-packed Premier League fixtures in history.

But the most important word for Bob Bradley and his Swansea City side on this occasion at the Liberty was quite simply: victory.

There were nine goals in this game, with the lead switching hands four times.

The Swans, seeking a first win since the opening day of the season, and Crystal Palace - beaten in their five previous games - served up a match neither sets of supporters will forget for some time yet.

When Wilfried Zaha fired Palace ahead after 19 minutes, few could predict eight goals would follow.

Bradley's side, not for the first time on a cold afternoon in SA1, would level before the break with Gylfi Sigurdsson baffling Wayne Hennessey - like he did in this fixture last season - with a trademark free-kick.

Just the two goals in the first half, seven more after the break.

Two in three minutes from Leroy Fer - including an assist from sub Fernando Llorente - put the hosts 3-1 up and a first home win looked in sight.
Far from it.

There were plenty more twists and turns left in this grand fixture. And plenty more goals too.

Within nine minutes the game was turned on its head.

James Tomkins had the better side of fortune as James McArthur's flick on ricocheted off the defender and past Lukasz Fabianski.

Then it was 3-3, with the unfortunate Jack Cork seeing Zaha's cross deflect off his head and drop into the net.

The stuffing looked to have been knocked out of the Swans as, shortly after, the lively Christian Benteke fired in via the near post to send the away fans into delirium.

At 4-3 with six minutes left, the Swans looked set for another miserable afternoon.

But agony and pain turned into joy and elation. In a remarkable finish, Llorente looked to have pinched a point for the Swans when he nudged Sigurdsson's effort into the net after the Spaniard's initial header was kept out by Hennessey in the 90th minute.

And the Swans would get themselves the three points they have so been looking forward to as Federico Fernandez touched Sigurdsson's free-kick back along goal and Llorente stabbed home to score his second goal in three minutes. A remarkable game, a remarkable finish.

It was three points worth waiting for, and was Bradley's first win since taking charge.

It proved enough to move the Swans off the bottom, and two points from safety.

After a nervy start to the encounter, the Swans struggled to impose themselves on the game.

It was the visitors who probed first, with Benteke somehow firing over from six yards after Scott Dann had initially seen his header blocked by Jay Fulton.

The Swans' first real threat was a great opportunity, with the lively Modou Barrow speeding down the right flank and then squaring to Sigurdsson, but his weak and low shot failed to trouble Wayne Hennessey.

Then, with 19 minutes on the clock, Crystal Palace took the lead.

It was simple stuff too. A long ball found Benteke, he headed on for Wilfried Zaha, who turned Neil Taylor before firing low past Lukasz Fabianski from eight yards.

Benteke and strike partner Connor Wickham were causing issues for the home defence, with Palace's tactics proving problematic.

Another cross - this time from full-back Martin Kelly - found Wickham, and his header was kept out by Fabianski, who had dived along his line.

The Swans needed some form of reply, and they got it in perfect fashion after 37 minutes.

After Jack Cork had needlessly been fouled on the edge of the box by Jason Puncheon, Sigurdsson stepped up and wrong-footed Hennessey from 20 yards.

Palace failed to let their heads drop though, and they went close to an instant reply as Zaha's header hit the crossbar before Wickham and Benteke got in each other's way as they attempted to nail the loose ball.

But the Swans finished the half strongly, with ex-Eagle Wayne Routledge volleying over while Barrow latched onto Cork's neat flick before skewing his shot well.

Bradley made his first change after 66 minutes, and it immediately paid dividends.

Llorente was introduced in place of Routledge, and the big Spaniard had a big role to play.

Seconds after coming on, he headed Sigurdsson's corner goalward. Yohan Cabaye nudged it off the line - via his arm - and onto the post. But Leroy Fer was there to slam home from close range to give the Swans the lead.

The nerves immediately settled around the Liberty, and three minutes later things got even better for Bradley and Co.

Sigurdsson's curling free-kick into the box was headed on by Jordi Amat, and Fer was there to tap home his second and the Swans' third.

It should have given the Swans some breathing space, and an opportunity to see out this game for their first home win of the season. But this game was not finished. Far from it.

The visitors pulled one back with 15 minutes to go as Dann - a constant threat at corners - headed goalwards and James McArthur's flick on deflected in off Tomkins.

It gave the visitors further belief, with wave of nerves again circling around the Liberty.

And Palace were level with eight minutes remaining as Zaha's cross deflected off Jack Cork's head and dropped into the net over the helpless Fabianski.

It was a huge body blow, but Palace weren't stopping there.

Another corner, another Dann header, and Benteke was quickest to react and he fired Palace ahead via the near post.

The Swans were desperate to get themselves back into the game.

And, once again, even with the game ticking towards the 90th minute, this encounter was certainly not over.

This bizarre, goal-filled fixture had more left in it. And, for Swans fans, it was pure elation.

The 90th minute was up when Llorente rose highest to head towards goal. Hennessey did well to keep it out, but when Sigurdsson drove back towards goal, it was the Spaniard who touched it home.

The Liberty erupted.

The momentum had swung back towards the Swans.

And there was still life in Bradley's side with seven minutes of additional time to come.

Pushed on by the Jack Army, another sublime Sigurdsson free-kick was nudged along goal by Federico Fernandez, and Llorente was there again to stab home.

Unbelievable drama, an unbelievable game.

Of course, the remaining minutes conjured up some nervy moments.

But, this time, the Swans had done enough, at last, to pick up a first home win of the season.


SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton (Jefferson Montero, 86), Federico Fernandez, Jordi Amat, Neil Taylor, Jack Cork (capt), Jay Fulton, Leroy Fer, Wayne Routledge (Fernando Llorente, 66), Modou Barrow (Angel Rangel, 81), Gylfi Sigurdsson.
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Mike van der Hoorn, Nathan Dyer, Oliver McBurnie.

CRYSTAL PALACE: Wayne Hennessey, Joel Ward, James Tomkins, Scott Dann (capt), Martin Kelly (Zeki Fryers, 73), Wilfried Zaha, James McArthur (Bakary Sako, 82), Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon, Connor Wickham (Andros Townsend, 52), Christian Benteke.
SUBS: Julian Speroni, Fraizer Campbell, Joe Ledley, Damien Delaney.