|Swansea City 1 v 1 Brentford|
Wednesday, 27th January 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Woodman and Lowe star in battling performance for ten man Swansea City
Wednesday, 27th Jan 2021 21:46
There will be a vast array of fan opinions about this battling draw at the Liberty but when all is said and done the swans gained a point tonight - and once again stood strong in defence and earned that little bit of luck when it was needed.
The first half wasn’t the most exciting but like all games that receive this much pre game attention, it’s par for the course. Both sides started slowly, sparring with each other in a chess match where two disciplined sides seek out a moment of weakness. The speed of Toney up front for Brentford was clearly in the minds of Fulton and Naughton as the half progressed. Brentford looked more dangerous with several angled cross field passes out to speedy left back Henry. One of his raids down the flanks saw a cross shot that beat Woodman but narrowly off target was the first warning. The swans seemed slow in their process of getting the ball forward with numerous misplaced passes and when they did get through the Brentford midfield after an infringement by Brentford - referee Brooks pulled the game back, much to the frustration of the swans. It was poor refereeing on numerous occasions which has been absent in recent games.
Jamal Lowe and Andre Ayew received little service but seemed slow off the mark when Brentford passed the ball across their defence. More pressure from an advancing midfield was required, however it never materialised. Hourihane received the ball on the edge of the Brentford area but failed to control it as the half fizzled out. Two similar goal scoring opportunities were not taken by both sides with three players going for the same ball on both occasions. The nerves were there and as Alan Curtis commented ‘ The swans just need to get forward quicker, they are almost pondering whilst on the ball, there needs to be more pace to the passing and movement, the Brentford centre back is slow on the turn and there is definitely something there for the swans’
As the half closed a hopeful punt forwards to Toney saw Naughton drag him back as he burst in to the swans half, the yellow card was appropriate but many swans fans will be asking for a change at half time. Cooper looked frustrated as the teams left the field at the half.
Surprisingly Cooper stuck with his formation with Naughton remaining on the pitch, at least for twenty minutes. Already booked he had to watch every tackle he put in. The swans never got in to their stride in the first half and Brentford looked more dominant as the second part of the game resumed. Their passing was far more accurate and incisive down the flanks with Jamal Lowe having to concentrate far more on his defensive work than up top. It has to be said it was a surprise that Cooper stuck closely to his starting line up, the lacklustre swans needed some Injection of energy. Freddie Woodman came to the swans aide on several occasions, the only blot on his copy book being seven place kicks to the flanks going straight out of play. Memories of Roger Freestone’s boots there for older swans fans.
Naughton received his second yellow card of the game for a rash sliding challenge on the half way line which would have scuppered any thoughts of the swans changing their fortunes going forward. Swansea down to ten men were not to be denied, and a rare foray in to the Brentford half saw a quick response. On an evening when the swans seemed more concerned about Brentford than what they could do themselves though it was testament to the teams spirit they never gave up.
Off you go Kyle after a second yellow card
The Swans were second best for large parts as Brentford created numerous openings, with Ivan Toney, Rico Henry, Mathias Jensen and Sergi Canos all having efforts. When they did register it was from the head of substitute Tariqe Fosu-Henry who headed home in the 75th minute. You would have thought that was game over.
But January signing Hourihane levelled proceedings from a free-kick soon after as the Swans stretched their unbeaten home run to 11 matches to climb back into the Championship's automatic promotion places. Swansea down to ten men were not to be denied, and a rare foray in to the Brentford half provided a quick response that delighted the swans bench. Thomas Frank immediately complained that the free kick saw his keeper impeded, odd for him to be so illuminated. Animated as ever he was very quick to run across to the linesman and register his disapproval. A review of the free kick and the goal quickly showed the Brentford keeper to be at fault misjudging the flight of the ball with a little nudge from ex Brentford man Jake Bidwell in a packed area. For a referee who at one point looked like he was going to take over the game with repetitive whistling. On this occasion though he stood firm and gave the goal. Another sign of Swansea’s fighting ability when all looks lost.
Thomas Frank, complaining again
It was out of character for the swans to be so poor at home and the last defeat at Derby in mid December has seen them cement themselves in the leagues top six. Swans fans will have to learn that not every game will go their teams way, and not every game is a given three points. Tonight’s display was good with some added luck, a great goalkeeping performance from Woodman and tremendous effort from Jamal Lowe when chasing back.
Star man Jamal Lowe
Brentford unbeaten in seventeen games now are the form side for sure, however the swans are now unbeaten in eight and this league is so unforgiving when it comes to games and a quick turn around of so many fixtures. There’s the FA Cup too coming up in early February. Swansea players tonight threw themselves at every shot, selflessly defending the hard earned point. Conor Hourihane May well get the credit for the equalising goal but his industrious play was not evident for large parts of the game. Jordan Morris too, stripped off and waiting to enter the fray just before the swans equalised will be disappointed, but his chances will come. It was a battling performance with a few sprinkles of good luck, but that’s what makes a season, it isn’t all plain sailing and Cooper will be the happier manager tonight.
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Guehi; Roberts, Fulton, Hourihane, Grimes (C), Bidwell; Lowe (Manning 90), Ayew.
Subs not used: Hamer, Bennett, Latibeaudiere, D Williams, Dhanda, Morris, O Cooper, Garrick.
Goal: Hourihane 79
Yellow cards: Hourihane 39, Naughton 44 & 69, Fulton 51
Red card: Naughton 69
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard (C), Pinnock, Sorensen, Henry; Janelt (Ghoddos 86), Dasilva, Jensen; Mbeumo (Fosu-Henry 56), Toney, Canos (Forss 77).
Subs not used: Daniels, Roerslev, Zamburek, Stevens, Gilbert, Haygarth.
Goal: Fosu-Henry 75
Referee: John Brooks
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Letters from Wiltshire #34 by wessex_exile
I won’t dwell on Robbie’s latest message to the supporters – we’ve all read it, and we’ve all probably drawn our own conclusions about what it doesn’t say as much as what it does. To me, bottom line, I suspect the clock is now ticking for Steve Ball (at least), turn around this terrible form pretty damn quick, or start clearing out your locker. Regardless of personal opinions on any of the individuals concerned, I would like to think none of us actually wants to see people made redundant in the current climate. But, these are difficult times that require tough decisions. If Steve Ball is up to the job and can turn this around, I’ll be more than happy to support him. If he’s not, he has to go before irreparable harm is done…and we all know what that will look like, we’ve been there before…
Letters from Wiltshire #33 by wessex_exile
Today we face a trip to Crawley, not usually a venue that bears fruit for the U’s it has to be said. In nine visits we’ve only won once in the league, and once in the League Cup. Of course, we’ll all remember that League Cup victory, indeed many of us were probably there to see us progress through to 5th round and the dream fixture against Manchester United at Old Trafford. All of our goal-scorers that night, Luke’s Norris and Gambin, and Cohen Bramall (okay, technically an O.G.), are no longer with us, so let’s hope at the very least that recent departee and subsequent returnee Frank Nouble can bag another like his late equaliser against Mansfield. Steve Ball commented during the week about how tight the league is at the moment, and he’s right that a couple of back to back victories would see us move significantly up the table away from danger – but we’ve got to win them first Steve – something we’ve failed to do since our 1-0 victory at Scunthorpe on December 8th.
Letters from Wiltshire #32 by wessex_exile
Fifty years ago yesterday, Colchester United of the 4th Division pulled off the greatest cup giant-killing ever, beating 1st Division Leeds United 3-2 at Layer Road. Watched by 16,000, and the Match of the Day cameras, Dick Graham’s U’s, a rag-tag band of mostly aging journeymen, defied the odds to defeat arguably the greatest club side in Europe at the time. “The greatest cup giant-killing ever” is a bold claim, and over the years various football magazines and websites have run their own polls of which was the greatest. Whilst that day at Layer Rd always features, as the years have gone by other feats fresher in the memory have been put forward as a candidate – we probably all remember Ronnie Radford’s screamer against Newcastle, Sutton’s exploits, or even Bradford City quite recently at Stamford Bridge – but these pale into insignificance when you pause to reflect on the Don Revie side that we beat that day. Sprake, Cooper, Charlton, Hunter, Lorimer, Giles etc – all full internationals, all household names – the only one missing was Billy Bremner, and that was because he was injured. By comparison, all we had to offer was Ray Crawford – at his peak arguably on a par with some in the Leeds side, but that peak had been ten years earlier playing for Ipswich and England. Eleven heroes didn’t just try and hold out against Leeds United, they took the game to their illustrious opponents with such tenacity, grit and no small amount of flair, and before we knew it, the U’s were 3-0 in the lead. As legs tired, Leeds got back into the game with goals from Hunter and Giles, but we held firm – typified at the death by Graham Smith pulling off an impossible save to ensure the U’s achieved the greatest cup giant-killing ever!
Letters from Wiltshire #31 by wessex_exile
And so the dust settles on another transfer window closing, and despite (my) expectations that the possibility of incoming business was going to be remote, we have instead seen a veritable flurry of activity, with no less than three coming in. Big Frank Nouble, making a very welcome return on loan from Plymouth Argyle, of course needs no introduction. Neither really does feisty Brendan Sarpong-Wiredu, here on loan last season, and this time signed full-time from Charlton Athletic for an undisclosed fee. Actually paying hard cash for someone did come as a surprise, presumably offset by the sale of Cohen Bramall to Lincoln for a similarly undisclosed fee. However, the fact that the Addicks have insisted on not only a sell-on clause, but a rarely used buy-back clause too, suggests (a) Wiredu’s signing fee probably wasn’t too high, and (b) Charlton are protecting those finances with these clauses. The last one, which would have been a complete surprise for me were it not for a contact leaking me the news earlier yesterday, is left-back Josh Doherty on loan from Crawley. Josh was only announced once outgoing left-back Bramall was confirmed, and presumably his loan is directly related to part-time fashion model, TV and radio celeb and former left-back Mark Wright signing for Crawley on a non-contract game-by-game basis in December. We have also released seven from the academy, Ollie Kensdale, Miquel Scarlett, Sammie McLeod, Michael Fernandes, Ollie Sims, Danny Collinge and Matt Weaire, and I’m sure we all wish them the best for the future.
Letters from Wiltshire #30 by wessex_exile
Friday night football – can’t beat it. Gives you that feelgood factor all weekend, sitting back to enjoy a stress-free Saturday afternoon watching others fail in your wake. Of course, you have to win first, which we’ve been struggling to do for a while now, so be prepared for the possibility of a miserable weekend just in case. We share this evening with Reading v AFC Bournemouth, albeit they kick-off an hour later than we do. In the real world, leaders of the UK’s five largest business groups have written to Boris demanding action on the substantial difficulties they are facing over Brexit bureaucracy, whilst French border authorities are reporting that two-thirds of lorries arriving from the UK are empty (i.e. no exports leaving the UK). Still, at least the NHS can enjoy their extra £350m per week…
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