|Millwall 0 v 3 Swansea City|
Saturday, 10th April 2021 Kick-off 12:30
Swansea City hammer Millwall at the New Den
Saturday, 10th Apr 2021 14:54 by Keith Haynes & Steph Thomas
It was such an improvement on recent times, so much better and easier on the eye, and it’s a signal of how much confidence plays such a key role in elite sport competition. As a club the swans have taken a lot of criticism of late, and with that criticism comes so many plaudits when it goes well. And today that’s the deal.
Two minutes silence for Prince Philip today in London
The swans started as they left off at home to Preston on Monday, slow and ponderous in their play and pretty poor in their build up. Passes were going astray, and then when they did get a moment or two on the ball an aimless punt forwards to the opposition was the result. It all seemed to be as was and Millwall the same. as was that is as a team who had won their last three games. Three decent chances were the early warning signs for Swansea, a header from Cooper and a Jed Wallace shot struck alarm in to the defence. In their build up play the swans failed to string three passes together for the first third of the half, and it wasn’t until the sixteenth minute that Manning and Lowe linked up but Lowe’s cross on the outside of his foot was poor. Minutes later Routledge found himself in the box but was clearly offside when he struck his weak shot. Much of the swans play was again coming through the vision of Ryan Manning or Routledge, but poor hold up play and a lack of desire saw the ball given away continuously. Many would be saying at this point that it was no better than the previous two losses for Swansea.
Cooper and Rowett on the touchline at today’s game
On twenty six minutes Jamal Lowe found himself in the Millwall penalty area after clever play by Jay Fulton but his shot was blocked by the Millwall keeper Bialkowski going out for a corner. The resulting set piece was evidence if it were ever needed that the swans are so low on confidence. Routledge after a clever turn wasting the chance.
After this the swans confidence seemed to lift, but once again Freddie Woodman and his ever questionable distribution put Swansea in trouble. Fulton had no choice but to foul Malone and fortunately the resulting free kick came to nothing. From that set piece Ayew won the ball and once again Jamal Lowe delivered a poor pass that if done correctly would have put Ayew in on goal. Conor Hourihane was pretty quiet in the first half an hour but nearly got on the end of another move, but it was Lowe again squandering the opportunity with a bizarre pass.
Marc Guehi‘s battling qualities In the first half v Millwall
Millwall looked dangerous on the break and as Malone set Wallace free he was oddly flagged offside, Woodman though did make the save. The game had a decent ebb and flow with the swans failing to make that final pass to get in on goal and Millwall ever probing for a breakaway opportunity.
For whatever reason the game seemed to want to slow itself down, the play was almost at walking pace with both sides seemingly accepting the end of the half would be both sides level. Unfortunately for Millwall this played right in to the swans hands. A lovely move from the swans involving Fulton, Manning, Routledge and then Hourihane ended up at the feet of Ayew who cut inside and fired a left footed curling shot in to the back of the Millwall net. The relief was obvious as Ayew ran to Steve Cooper hugging his manager in delight. It was Swansea’s second shot on goal of the half and their overall dominance had at last paid off.
It’s a goal at last for Swansea City
The second half started with a strange free kick award for Millwall, evidently an infringement had taken place. The dead ball was crossed in to the swans box causing mayhem as first Guehi cleared then Millwall’s Cooper headed goalwards hitting the post. As the half settled down referee Jones intervened continuously to stop start the game with persistent whistling - stopping both sides building any momentum.
The swans though remained confident and great work by Naughton on the right saw Wayne Routledge smashing a shot at goal bravely saved by the Millwall keeper. Hourihane’s corner saw Fulton blast his effort over the bar. It was a much improved Swansea side from recent games, clearly lifted by the Ayew goal in the first half. Then two more chances, one from Lowe hitting a defender and a block from a Naughton shot just avoided a waiting Routledge who would have been left with a tap in. With the game regaining it’s positivity, like the first half, both sides raided in to each other’s territory.
Grimes battling qualities today at Millwall
This started a period of intense swans pressure. Ayew causing panic in Millwall’s defending, and Hourihane at last combining with his forward players to cause more concern. The frustration for swans fans was still there, in certain areas the desire to tackle or charge down play was still lacking but it was so much improved. Wayne Routledge seemed to be the catalyst for this improvement, the old stager coming in and making a huge difference. A penalty appeal was turned down by referee Rob Jones when Manning was clearly felled in the area which prompted Millwall changes from Gary Rowett. It was clear that the swans were on top, much the better side and causing far too much trouble in the Millwall defence.
As the swans pressed for a second another Hourihane delivery just missed the head of Ayew, but Millwall’s changes were having some effect. Collecting the ball deep subs Romeo and Zahore were able to press high on the swans defence which was definitely a warning sign. Frustration from Rowett on the touchline seemed to be filtering through to his players. With the swans in this mood and the ever available Routledge picking up loose balls and providing opportunity it was only a matter of time for another chance to occur. And what a chance it was, a beautiful ball through for Jamal Lowe saw him take on the Millwall defence and fire home his first goal in seventeen games. It was a super goal.
Swansea seemed to settle for the two nil win but Kenneth Zahore had other ideas as his shot was stunningly saved by Woodman. That was a warning shot across the bows. It seemed to wake the swans up and another super move say Hourihane again linking with Grimes and Ayew who crossed for Lowe to fire the ball high in to the Millwall net. Three goals up, and that doesn’t happen often for the swans, the game was won. Two goals for Lowe, and no jokes about London buses. This was an accomplished performance from the swans, Cooper will be very happy with the result of course, in a way it leaves a bitter taste as to what may have been. But on seventy two points this evening one more win will most certainly secure that I have deserved play off place.
This wasn’t a vintage performance by any means, Millwall could have easily made this a much closer and tougher game, but as we know it’s all about taking your chances. Millwall didn’t, Swansea for once most certainly did. No complaints.
Yes, it’s three more points Freddie lad
Steve Cooper - Really pleased, performance was good, it took a lot of courage. To do all this and keep a clean sheet, now it’s all about Tuesday. Ayew is a great player and a brilliant person, we have a great training ground, we talk about what we want and it never changes, we all want the same thing. Jamal has a lot of side show questions, he is a really good lad, really pleased for him. His strength is his character, he takes risks, it’s a sign of a good player that. We never give up on anything. And he got man of the match, really happy about that, deserved.
Ayew broadcasts his goal and it still goes in as the swans go one up
Millwall: Bialkowski, M Wallace, Cooper, J Wallace, Malone, Pearce (C) (Zohore 62), Kieftenbeld (Mahoney 62), Bennett (Bodvarsson 77), McNamara (Romeo 62), Mitchell (Williams 77), Evans.
Subs not used: Fielding, Ferguson, Woods, Bradshaw.
Swansea City : Woodman; Naughton, Bennett, Guehi, Manning; Grimes (C), Fulton, Hourihane; Lowe (O Cooper 90+1), Ayew (Whittaker 90+1), Routledge (Roberts 77).
Subs not used: Hamer, Cabango, Bidwell, Latibeaudiere, Dhanda, Smith.
Goals: Ayew 45+1, Lowe 76 & 85
Referee: Robert Jones
Images licensed from Reuters
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