|Swansea City 1 v 0 Coventry City|
Wednesday, 24th February 2021 Kick-off 19:00
Swansea City 1 Coventry City 0 : A tough road to some redemption
Thursday, 25th Feb 2021 15:00 by Steph Thomas & Keith Haynes
After the weekends mauling, a hardly satisfying but battling 1-0 victory v Nottingham Forest it was with some trepidation that the swans took to the Liberty pitch against Coventry. The Sky Blues had brushed aside a competent Brentford in their previous game, and with a new found glory were not about to start giving away any ground to Swansea whatsoever. It was a tough hard fought victory.
And so it played out, in a swirling rain sodden night in west Wales the swans selected a side that, on paper at least was attacking and could be productive. Matt Grimes with Conor Hourihane and Yan Dhanda in a three man midfield, boosted by wing backs Bidwell and Roberts, with the usual two up front in Ayew and Lowe started the game. At the back Ben Cabango, Kyle Naughton and Marc Guehi completed the outfield selections. Woodman of course in goal. It really does suggest there’s little in reserve for Cooper to turn to, just one horrendous injury to Jordan Morris and yet again there are signs of weakness to his match day options.
A tough return to form for the swans
There was concern etched on his face, a palpable vision of trepidation, yes that word again, and it reflected in most things that the swans did in the first half. Too many long balls again pumped forwards to nobody, the conditions clearly winning that battle. The swans passing game none too evident again, the weather assisted and a determined Coventry City battling against relegation were no push over. We did see glimpses of a passing game, but it was all to rigid, some chances came and went, but that was the story for both sides. Coventry were tough, displayed attacking intent, and had two glorious chances to score.
Lowe had two chances as well to put his side ahead, chances that he would have taken a month ago, but both he failed to convert. Dhanda too, and then Bidwell increased the pressure on the Coventry defence and most had the home side down for the opening goal. Coventry continued to have good spells on the ball without really troubling Freddie Woodman, but Swansea's own frustrations were summed up as Bidwell was caught well offside from Grimes' dinked cross into the box which ensured the sides could not be separated going into the interval.
Swansea took a second half lead on fifty four minutes as Conor Hourihane's delivery from a corner was right on top of Sky Blues goalkeeper Wilson, Cabango used his height and power to head home his fourth goal of the campaign. That opener triggered a flurry of activity as Biamou scuffed a shot wide for the visitors before Lowe was unable to round off a sublime Swansea move shortly after he looked to have been dragged back when attempting to latch on to an undercooked header. Coventry made a triple substitution that included the ineffective Viktor Gyokeres being sent on midway through the second half while Korey Smith and Fulton replaced Hourihane and Dhanda respectively as Cooper looked to freshen up his midfield before Joel Latibeaudiere came on for the injured Kyle Naughton.
It has to be said that the swans deserved the win, it wasn’t pretty, it caused more frustration for the watching swans fans, but the final fifteen minutes were positive, both defensively and going forwards. They did ride their luck, two good chances to earn a draw for Coventry were wasted when the impressive Kyle McFadzean fired wide from close range before McCallum was off target with a header as Swansea kept their 17th league clean sheet of the campaign to clinch a vital victory.
Jamal Lowe missed some gilt edged chances
In assessment this was just the result Cooper needed, with two old school veterans around the corner in Mick McCarthy at Cardiff and Saturday’s opponent Nigel Pearson - who glared down on to the Liberty pitch from way back in the stands, cute is something Cooper has to be in his ‘busy month” Even Cooper acknowledged Pearson, two football styles will clash come Saturday. The swans manager is going to have to be as smart as ever for the home game this weekend to Bristol City. At least get his death stare well practised in the event of a touchline bust up.
Steve Cooper was in a noticeable pensive mood during the game
Swansea were also concerned with the choice of official for the game, the now infamous confrontation between Cooper and referee Woolmer from a few months ago, still fresh in the mind, could have gone either way. Luckily nothing too dramatic occurred and the main decision a Coventry player tripping himself up in the swans area he duly noted the incident, and waved play on. Another penalty decision, this time in the swans favour was also waved away by Woolmer after claims for handball.
The one goal does it again
Had the swans faltered in this game more questions would have been raised, as it stands they didn’t, they persevered and took the points. What is certain though is the performances of late are not good enough and they won’t see the swans finish in the automatic promotion places. They are grinding out results, two 1-0 home wins in amongst conceding four goals on Saturday and three at home to Manchester City means the defence has wobbled of late. The latter result Is no embarrassment, the Huddersfield game was a serious concern. If this is the swans season wobble, they are coping well, if it isn’t and this is the fayre we will see between now and the rest of the season then be satisfied another play off nail biter or two will greet us all come May.
Steve Cooper post match
Mark Robins post match
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton (Latibeaudiere 69), Cabango, Guehi; Roberts, Grimes (C), Hourihane (Fulton 66), Dhanda (Smith 66), Bidwell; Ayew, Lowe.
Subs not used: Hamer, Freeman, Manning, Arriola, O Cooper, Whittaker.
Goal: Cabango 54
Yellow card: Cabango 87
Coventry City : Wilson; Dacosta (Dabo 46), Ostigard, McFadzean, Hyam, McCallum, Kelly (C) (James 66), Hamer (Sheaf 66), O'Hare (Bakayoko 83), Biamou (Gyokeres 66), Walker.
Subs not used: Marosi, Rose, Allen, Shipley.
Yellow cards: McCallum 21, Ostigard 82
Referee: Andy Woolmer
All images licensed by Reuters
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