'An amazing night for us all'

12th September 2018

Leon Britton has not forgotten the swing of his left boot.

That is not surprising given that he did not often let fly from outside the box, let alone do so with his weaker foot.

And it is entirely understandable given where the ball ended up.

Swansea City take on Nottingham Forest at the Liberty this Saturday.

It is the first time the two clubs have met since May 2011, when they went head to head in the Championship play-off semi-finals.

In the first leg, at the City Ground, the Swans claimed a hugely creditable goalless draw having lost Neil Taylor to a second-minute red card.

That meant victory in the return would be enough to clinch the Swans’ place at Wembley.

The second leg, which Brendan Rodgers’s team eventually won 3-1, was a classic for various reasons.

One of those was the Swans’ first goal, a long-range, left-footed effort from Britton, a player who was not known for goalscoring prowess having become his team’s midfield anchor.  

Seven years and four months on, the memories remain vivid for the recently retired Swans legend.

“Scoring that goal was amazing,” Britton says.

“Things just opened up for me, I swung my left foot and the ball flew into the back of the net.

“The whole night was an incredible one for the club.

“In the first leg we had played almost the entire game with 10 men and got a goalless draw, so everything hinged on that second match.

“It was a huge game where we needed to win to reach the play-off final.

“The way it ended, with Darren Pratley scoring from the halfway line, the fans on the pitch and us coming onto the balcony to celebrate with the fans – it is one of the best memories at the Liberty Stadium and one of the best moments of my career.”

Britton had chipped in with a few goals during his early years as a Swan, when he was regarded as an attacking midfielder and often played on the flank.

But the goals dried up as his career went on and he established himself as the master of the holding midfield role.

He played for seven more seasons after that fabulous strike against Forest, but never found the target again.

“I still see the goal every now and then on TV or social media and it brings back good memories for me,” Britton added.

“It was my last career goal for the Swans, which just shows my record in front of goal wasn’t that great!

“But if I wanted my last goal in a Swans shirt to help make some good memories, then I couldn’t have picked a much better time to score it.”