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No Easy Passage for The Swans In The FA Cup
Saturday, 9th Jan 2021 17:41 by Keith Haynes & Steph Thomas

Stevenage provided tough opposition this afternoon for a Swansea City side with seven changes from last weekends win against Watford. That said, the game was always in the balance as the home side competed throughout the game in freezing foggy conditions.

It was an early sixth minute goal Routledge goal that settled the swans nerves, a stooping header from the thirty six year old after a neat build up from the back via swans debutante Cameron Evans. Expectations were that this was to be the start of a dominant display, however that was never the case throughout the game today. With the impressive James Wildin sparring with Evans and Jan Dhanda Boro were more than a match for their opponents. A clever corner kick move on twenty minutes nearly earned the home side an equaliser as Swansea struggled to find the usual passes that makes their game fluid and watchable. Second balls too were hard to collect and Stevenage continually passed the ball across the back with little pressure from Routledge or Gyorkeres. This game was an opportunity for the Swede to impress but his lack of control when in possession and misplaced passes did nothing to impress early on. However he did link on two occasions with Jordan Garrick on his right who supplied two crosses which really should have been converted.

Much the same as other games this season the swans failed to convert low crosses in to the box again leaving Steve Cooper to dwell upon a new striker to latch on to these numerous and many missed opportunities. With Ayew and Roberts rested, Jamal Lowe on the bench with Grimes adding to the injured back four players who may had a game he may well be thankful that come half time his side were one up. A negative for Stevenage will be the antics of Carter who tried unsuccessfully on several occasions to gain an advantage by diving, overlooked by referee Michael Salisbury. The referee had a decent game though, only booking one player from each side throughout the game. Only outside the League Two relegation zone on goal difference, Stevenage enjoyed a good spell of pressure mid first half with Danny Newton shooting just over from Jack Smith’s cutback, while Ben Coker’s low free-kick was inches wide of the far post.

The second half saw more possession from the swans but Cooper wont be happy as Stevenage seemed to have more appetite for the game as they went searching for the goal to inspire a cup upset. Woodman was solid, and the back four, not as assured as we have seen them in recent times managed to keep the home sides chances to a minimum. However it has to be said, on another day Stevenage would have scored and a better side may well have won this game. The return of Naughton saw a player not back on his game as he struggled to keep pace with Boro's raids, Cameron Evans though looked assured and the academy product alongside Ben Cabango another development success was a huge plus for Cooper.

Jay Fulton was replaced by Korey Smith who added more steel to the midfield allowing Manning to get forward more, however again his chances were restricted as the fog moved in across the ground. Although never in doubt of being called off the fog did cause clear visual opportunities for the players and officials. As the game wore on, Stevenage did tire and after a pacey move by the swans saw Jordan Garrick cross superbly for Gyorkeres to score - the home side must have felt very deflated. All their efforts had come to nothing. Appearing in round three for only the seventh time in their history after overcoming both Concord Rangers and Hull City on penalties, Stevenage rallied, to their credit, as the clock ticked down.

A lifeline was given to them when the unlucky Gyorkeres handled in the box and Luke Norris, who joined the club in the week was given the opportunity to put pressure on the swans. His penalty was good but the diving Woodman yet again save the spot kick which completely knocked the stuffing out of Stevenage. It wasn't a classic performance, but we have all seen our teams fall to lower league opposition, and the swans are no different. Today was about winning, the reference on our forums was 'Get in, Get it done and get out' This victory earned the swans sixty five grand, and although their hosts worked hard, caused problems and on another day may have got at least something from the game, it was a deserved win.

Post match Steve Cooper disclosed his desire to sign a keeper in the coming week after a nasty injury to reserve keeper Steve Benda ruling him out for two months. He also indicated that there is a possibility there could be some positive news on the outfield player front on the horizon. Swans fans can be comforted tonight the clubs on the pitch activity is paying off - and off the pitch the manager is positive and looking forwards rather than backwards. If Cooper gets his men in the coming days swans fans can look forward to an exciting run in to what has already been a very positive season.

Stevenage: Jamie Cumming, Luther James-Wildin, Ben Coker, Scott Cuthbert (captain), Charlie Carter, Danny Newton (Jack Aitchison 63), Terence Vanccoten, Arthur Read, Jack Smith (Romain Vincelot 76), Tom Pett (Luke Norris 46), Chris Lines (Aramide Oteh 63).

Subs not used: Billy Johnson, Luke Prosser, Tyrone Marsh, Elliott List, Ross Marshall.

Swansea City: Freddie Woodman; Kyle Naughton, Ben Cabango, Cameron Evans (Jake Bidwell 72); Jordon Garrick (Oli Cooper 84), George Byers, Jay Fulton (Korey Smith 46), Ryan Manning; Yan Dhanda; Wayne Routledge (captain; Liam Cullen 65), Viktor Gyokeres.

Subs not used: Lewis Webb, Marc Guehi, Matt Grimes, Jamal Lowe, Daniel Williams.

Penalty king Freddie Woodman

Join us on our forums or comment below, the swans are in the fourth round again !

Photo: Action Images

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