MEMORY MATCH: Dorus de Vries
20th March 2017
In the next installment of our 'Memory Match' feature, former Swans keeper Dorus de Vries reflects on a home win over Leicester City in October 2010.
The Liberty Stadium was something of a fortress for Swansea City during the 2010-11 season.
In 23 Championship matches there during the campaign, the Swans won 15, drew five and lost just three games, giving them the best home record in the division.
"It was a great environment for us to play in," says former Swans goalkeeper Dorus de Vries, who made 203 appearances for the club between 2007 and 2011.
"The Swansea fans were so supportive and they were also very patient with us.
"With the style of possession-based football we played, sometimes the opposition would sit back behind the ball and it could take us a while to break them down. The supporters understood this and always stayed behind us."
Swansea were unbeaten in the league at home when Leicester City visited the Liberty on October 23, 2010.
Brendan Rodgers's men had won four and drawn two of their opening Championship fixtures in SA1 in that campaign.
And after just four minutes of the Leicester game, the Swans got themselves in front against a Leicester side who were managed by former England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Darren Pratley played a ball in behind the Foxes backline which Swans debutant Marvin Emnes raced on to before firing a shot beyond goalkeeper Chris Weale from the edge of the penalty area.
Emnes had just arrived on a short-term loan from Middlesbrough and subsequently scored two goals for the Swans in five appearances - one of which settled a Welsh derby, of course - prior to returning to the Riverside.
"I was really pleased for my compatriot Marvin Emnes to score on his debut," smiles de Vries.
"Marvin settled in very quickly when he was on loan at Swansea and of course lots of people will remember his goal against Cardiff City too.
"He was a great lad to have around, and was one of a few Dutch players we had at the time.
"He did really well for us, which was obviously why he ended up signing for Swansea on a permanent basis (in 2014)."
At the other end, de Vries made some important saves that day to ensure the Swans went in ahead at half-time.
He blocked a close-range effort from Matty Fryatt in the early stages of the game and also tipped over a header from Curtis Davies that was looping into the top corner.
The goalkeeper's fine display came during a season in which he kept 23 clean sheets (22 in the league) in 51 appearances in all competitions.
The previous campaign had seen de Vries break Roger Freestone's club record of 22 shutouts in a single season as he chalked up 25 clean sheets overall - winning the Football League's Golden Glove award for the Championship in the process.
"It was a great honour to have broken the record for the number of clean sheets in a season for Swansea City," says de Vries.
"To keep 25 clean sheets in a season is down to everyone in the team, not just the goalkeepers and the defenders, but the midfielders and forwards defending in front of us too."
The Swans were still 1-0 up in the Leicester game when the fourth official held up his board to indicate a minimum of four minutes of added time would be played.
It was at the end of the extra period that Rodgers's men made sure of their victory.
Emnes sprinted down the right wing and squared the ball for the onrushing Scott Sinclair, who in turned placed a shot beyond the reach of Weale.
It was Sinclair's tenth goal of a campaign that would ultimately see him net 27 times in 47 appearances.
"Scott's goals were vital for us that season," says de Vries, who is now shares a dressing room with Sinclair at Celtic.
"It seemed like he was hitting the back of the net almost every time he had a chance.
"As a team, we all benefited from each other's abilities that season and Scott certainly brought a lot to the side."
Swansea's 2-0 victory over Leicester moved them up to third in the Championship table.
Rodgers' team famously went on to finish the campaign in that position and were promoted to the Premier League via the play-offs.
"It was a great experience to be pretty much an ever-present in the Swansea City line-up that season," says de Vries, who played all but one of the Championship matches during the campaign.
Since leaving Wales in 2011, the 36-year-old had stints at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Nottingham Forest before moving to Celtic last summer.
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