MEMORY MATCH: Alan Tate
27th February 2017
In the latest installment of our 'Memory Match' feature, former Swans defender Alan Tate recalls a victory at Crystal Palace during the club's Premier League promotion-winning season of 2010-11.
Swansea City were in excellent form when they travelled to Crystal Palace in October 2010.
Prior to the Selhurst Park fixture, Brendan Rodgers's men had won five of their previous eight matches in the Championship, drawing two and losing just once.
In contrast, the Eagles were bottom of the division but had a talented line-up including current star man Wilfried Zaha and former Champions League winner Edgar Davids.
Alan Tate was included in the Swans back four that afternoon and recalls coming up against Davids.
"He was a top-class player during his career with the likes of Ajax, AC Milan and Tottenham, and he was a big name in Palace's team at the time," says Tate.
"Once you're out there on the pitch, though, your focus is on doing a job for your team and you don't really notice too much about the performance of your opponents."
Davids played a part in Swansea's opener after just six minutes of the match.
His foul on Joe Allen saw a free-kick awarded to the Swans which Darren Pratley took, picking out Angel Rangel.
The Spaniard crossed for Scott Sinclair and the winger scored his 11th goal in 13 games.
"Scott Sinclair's goals were massive for us that season, with him getting 20-plus (27 goals in all competitions) that campaign," remembers Tate.
"The season before, we had a very well-organised team, but we sometimes struggled to see teams off.
"Scott brought an injection of goals into the team that would often give us that extra security in matches."
Despite their poor start, Palace had a decent amount of possession during the remainder of the first half, though they never really tested Dorus de Vries in the Swans goal.
After the break, Kieran Djilali had two good attempts for the Eagles but failed to hit the back of the net. The South Londoners would pay the price, with Pratley doubling Swansea's lead 19 minutes from time.
"Prats was a really good player and quite underrated outside of the clubs he has played for in my opinion," says Tate.
"He's a proper box-to-box midfielder and had been our top goalscorer (with seven goals) the previous campaign."
Nine minutes after Pratley's strike, Allen made sure of Swansea's victory.
The midfielder collected a pass from Nathan Dyer and went on to beat Julian Speroni in the Palace goal with a cool finish.
"That would have been one of Joe Allen's first goals for Swansea - his first came against Cardiff, of course," says Tate.
"I remember it being a really good goal, with plenty of passing leading up to it and Joe eventually sidefooting it home."
Swansea's 3-0 win at Palace cemented their lofty position in the Championship table at the time, and the clean sheet for de Vries meant the Swans had gone some seven hours and 35 minutes without conceding a goal in the league.
That record was extended with a 1-0 win at Cardiff City the following week.
With Garry Monk suffering from a number of injuries during the 2010-11 season, Tate played at centre-half for much of the campaign.
He was a major presence in a defence that conceded just 42 goals in 46 league matches, giving the Swans the second best defensive record in the second tier come the end of the season.
And it was, of course, a campaign which brought unforgettable success, with the club promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs.
"Every match, we were fortunate to have either a back four or back five full of quality," comments Tate. "It was a defence full of experience and one that knew how to win games.
"Monks was out injured for a few periods that season, so I'd often play centre-half alongside Ash (Ashley Williams).
"I was here when Ash first joined Swansea City and I saw him develop over the years into the top, international centre-half you see today.
"He wasn't necessarily a leader back then. It was more myself and Monks (Garry Monk) that were the shouters on the pitch.
"But he grew in stature and became a fantastic leader as well as being a top player.
"Everyone knows about Monks' quality - he was a perfect club captain who led by example.
"Then we had quality full-backs in the likes of Angel Rangel and Neil Taylor.
"Both have been fantastic servants for Swansea City and they are great guys as well. Both are modern full-backs. They are as good going forward as well as defensively.
"They were part of a good defence in a very good side."
For more memorable matches, clickHERE