Dyer recalls famous Forest rearguard

27th March 2019
First team

This weekend Swansea City face Nottingham Forest at the City Ground for the first time since the play-off semi-final between the two clubs in 2011, and it brings back fond memories for the sole surviving Swan.

Nathan Dyer - now the club's longest-serving player just shy of a decade on from making his permanent move from Southampton - started both legs as Brendan Rodgers' side set up their unforgettable trip to Wembley.

Everyone remembers Leon Britton's opener in the second leg at the Liberty, as well as Darren Pratley's dramatic clincher from the halfway line.

But the foundations of that magical evening in SA1 had been forged out of a steely rearguard effort on the banks of the River Trent four days earlier.

That game ended 0-0, with Swansea having to play all bar the opening two minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Neil Taylor for a challenge on Lewis McGugan.

It was a heavy blow but Swansea weathered it and, thanks to some heroic defending and superb goalkeeping from Dorus de Vries, they ground out a priceless draw at the City Ground.

“It was a game that not all of us had been involved in before, so we were just really excited to get started," says Dyer as he prepares to return to the site of that brave Swansea effort.

“I remember the tackle and the referee producing the red card. Straightaway, we all thought ‘oh no!’

"Forest were a strong side and we were a man down against them wondering how it was going to go. As a team of 10, you can either stand up and be counted or you can crumble.

"We showed a lot of maturity and it was a massive result for us.

"Playing the first leg away from home is always hard, so holding on the way we did was massive.

"Overall, we were very happy with the performance and knew we could start afresh in the second leg with an advantage."

The Swans head to the East Midlands on the back of three defeats, although there have been plenty of positives to take from the manner and swagger in their play in possession, and Dyer hopes performances can be turned into results.

"Over the past two or three games, we’ve played unbelievably well," he said. 

"We went into the Manchester City game feeling confident in our ability to play football. A lot of the boys hadn’t played against a team of that calibre before and it can be a daunting process.

"However, having the blend of youth and maturity in the team ensured we held ourselves together. We showed a lot of teams what we can do as a team and as individuals.

"Forest are a massive club with a lot of history. It’s going to be good to go back there and relive old memories against a good side. Hopefully, we can play well and get the three points."