|Swansea City 2 v 0 Barnsley|
Saturday, 19th December 2020 Kick-off 15:00
Cooper’s Swans Bounce Back in Battling Display
Saturday, 19th Dec 2020 18:28 by Gareth Tooze
The swans hit back hard on a pitch which was treacherous come the end of the game at the Liberty. Jamal Lowe impressed in a 2-0 win which saw the game end in torrential rain and was reminiscent of the 1970 cup final at Wembley.
The 1970’s regularly looked like this for top flight football matches
Younger swans fans should look away now, the pitch today at the Liberty was like the 1970’s and those who recall those days will know that Swansea City put on a display today that showed true battling qualities. It was the swans who went ahead often 2 minutes when Jamal Lowe prodded home a hopeful headed cross the box move that has seen numerous Swansea goals this season.
Liberty stadium pitch today, not so bad but not good enough, It is being replaced this week
Barnsley dominated possession for large periods of the game but lacked quality in front of goal. Swansea manager Steve Cooper made two changes from their poor midweek showing at Derby, with Ben Cabango replacing Kyle Naughton and Yan Dhanda coming in for Korey Smith. Dhanda was a positive change, winning the ball in a battling midfield and clearly now has improved his athleticism physically and over ten yards. His work rate was impressive. Grimes too battled remarkably well for such a poor surface and once again returned to the player the swans sadly missed on Wednesday night.
Swansea took the lead in the second minute when Dhanda headed into the box before Cabango's flick was drilled into the back of the net by Lowe. Barnsley replied strongly and forced Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman into a fine save when Alex Mowatt's free-kick was punched just wide. Goalkeeper Jack Walton received a yellow card in the 30th minute when he clattered Dhanda off the ball with the Swansea man one on one with the keeper.
Swansea pushed for a second goal on the stroke of half-time but Barnsley's defence held firm meaning the hosts went into the changing room with a 1-0 lead. Cooper's side continued to apply pressure on the Tykes in the early stages of the second half when Cabango's header was expertly saved by Walton.
Barnsley enjoyed a lot of territory and possession but lacked a cutting edge in the final third and were always susceptible to Swansea's pace on the counter attack.
The Swans continued to push, with Walton again saving Barnsley when he just about beat Lowe to the ball after a through-ball from Matt Grimes. Barnsley are a slick passing team under new management and coming to Swansea on a three game winning streak they get themselves plenty of praise for this performance. Woodrow up front a hard chasing striker who has settled at Barnsley as a one goal in two striker.
Barnsley threatened for the first time in the second half but Michal Helik's mazy run was thwarted by a tremendous tackle from Ryan Bennett. But Swansea's pressure finally told in the 66th minute when Barnsley's Victor Adeboyejo failed to deal with an awkward corner from Grimes and headed the ball into the back of his own net.
Barnsley refused to throw in the towel as they battled hard to get back into the game but time and time again they were caught out on the counter by Swansea, who were also comfortable in defence. Swansea nearly ended on a high when Jay Fulton's cross found Jake Bidwell unmarked but he fired wide. Despite being wasteful at times in front of goal Swansea were superior in most aspects of play.
The result leaves the swans in third place in the championship going into Christmas on 36 points, 4 behind leaders Norwich in a hotly contested top 6. Cooper will be extremely happy tonight and he will be even more happier that both awful Liberty pitch is being replaced before the next home game against Reading and this pesky Ospreys will be playing egg chasing in Llanelli. The next time we see the swans at home it will be on a brand new surface, because today’s pitch does nothing to further Coopers desire to pass his way out of this division. However, what we did see today was a tough performance, a true battling style that was missing against Derby in the week. Lowe ran his heart out and had the Barnsley defence in bits, as mentioned he should have seen his opponent receive a red card towards the end of the game.
Swans fans everywhere will be relieved, it’s top three tonight, and at this point of the season, it’s thoroughly deserved.
Swansea City: Woodman; Cabango, Bennett, Guehi; Roberts, Fulton, Grimes (C), Bidwell; Dhanda; Lowe, Ayew.
Subs not used: Benda, Manning, Smith, Gyokeres, Routledge, Cullen, Latibeaudiere, Cooper, Palmer.
Goals: Lowe 2, Adeboyejo OG 67
Yellow card: Roberts 90+4
Barnsley: Walton; Brittain, Sollbauer, Helik, Andersen, Oduor, James (Palmer 71), Mowatt (C) (Kane 82), Frieser (Miller 57), Chaplin (Adeboyejo 57), Woodrow (Thomas 57).
Subs not used: Collins, Moon, Schmidt.
Yellow card: Walton 29
Referee: Andy Davies
Photo: Action Images
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