|Swansea City 2 v 2 Wycombe Wanderers|
Saturday, 17th April 2021 Kick-off 15:00
The banana skin arrives and the swans slip all over the place.
Sunday, 18th Apr 2021 10:58 by Keith Haynes & Steph Thomas
If the start of the game was bad, the first twenty five minutes of the second half this afternoon at the Liberty was atrocious. Once again the wandering about with not a lot of interest in winning the game strategy returned. A self imposed exile from the past two games and an inability to hold up, pass or even take control of the ball. Then it’s all change, two quick goals scrape a draw, and the advantage that could have been three points closer to Watford is just one.
The team doesn’t always pick itself, sometimes Steve Cooper does it. The pattern of play for the first 45 minutes was predictable from the off, and a far more urgent Wycombe Wanderers with plenty of guile and pace outwitted the swans. We can give the home side some credit, two shots from Conner Roberts were parried by chairboys keeper David Stockdale, but overall after the loss of Andre Ayew to an apparent hamstring injury - the swans flattered once again to deceive. Wycombe had other chances too, far too many. Referee Keith Stroud started officiating well but tailed off with random yellow cards for the swans with no recipients from Wycombe for similar fouls. That carried on to the second half, fouls on Jamal Lowe and Morgan Whittaker went unpunished. His officiating then went off on a complete tangent, stopping the game continuously and complaining about some very strange things to the swans bench.
The swans desperately thwart another Wycombe effort
Wycombe struck 11 seconds in to the second half when Muskwe fired an angled shot behind the flailing arms of Freddie Woodman. The swans defence were still doing up their laces and yawning as he blasted a hopeful shot to,put his side 1-0 up. If that was a shock the second Wycombe goal was most certainly stoppable, but Woodman was slow to get down and do anything about the shot from Garath McCleary. It may have come through a bunch of bodies but when watched again he most certainly won’t be happy with his effort to save that shot.
However, No excuses, Swansea never got going, the zip and energy required to win football matches had gone again. Now it’s only a play off place for the swans surely. But then again, is it ? The crazy Championship situation means it’s not all over yet. Again, there must be worries about the ability of this side to perform to any degree consistently when the end of season knock out arrives. Today’s performance for three quarters of the game was as ineffective as a swans performance we have seen this season. This time in the second half we saw Steve Cooper randomly throwing on players, Morgan Whittaker on the right as an example, Jan Dhanda was another in some form of free role, Liam Cullen up top, which did pay off and Korey Smith. The players looked out of sorts before and the changes made no immediate impact. The whole shape looked ragged.
Jamal Lowe came alive after 65 minutes rounding the keeper but Stockdale saved well, Dhanda’s shot was then cleared off the line. The chairboys defending was reminiscent of a team desperate for the points and championship survival. Similar to Cardiff City last month, throwing themselves in to tackles and blocks with little tactical reason was the Wycombe game plan. Just physicality whenever possible.
What happened next is still leaving swans fans scratching their heads. Swansea City came alive. A magic wand was waved, something called doing a proper job of work for a few minutes occurred. The team in third place, having looked like a bottom of the table team for most of the game at last decided to put some effort in.
Jamal Lowe scores from the spot
Dhanda started to pull some midfield strings in lieu of a pretty absent Matt Grimes who wasn’t having the best of days. Dhanda’s input was positive and within minutes a penalty was awarded after a clear handball by Wycombe defender Jacobson. One of those desperate lunges at last not paying off. The penalty was beautifully placed by Lowe bringing the score to 1-2. If that was dramatic then a measured cross by Roberts was met by the brave head of Liam Cullen, on for Routledge for his first league goal for Swansea. That made it 2-2, and sadly that’s how the game ended for the swans.
A brave Liam Cullen gets the equaliser
A penalty claim after a foul on Manning was turned down by the ever frustrating referee Keith Stroud, who since the swans got back in to the game seemed to want to stop it every few seconds. Initially to count players after the swans equaliser and then to remonstrate with the swans bench because the ball boys were recycling the ball too quickly. He also made three time wasting efforts to have dialogue with both benches as the players waited for over a minute to restart the game after the equaliser.
Keith Stroud asking Ayew if he knows when Rossi’s opens
Watford losing at Luton and Brentford drawing with Millwall meant the two points dropped have made a dramatic impact on the top three in the table. Now six points behind Watford, it should have been four this evening. And that would have been serious pressure on the hornets. Okay, it can still happen, but it’s the swans who have to win these final games of the season to make it so. A performance like today won’t earn them anything other than more frustration against QPR.
We congratulate Norwich City as worthy champions of the EFL Championship this season.
Nothing is impossible but this is a very odd Swans squad, firing on all cylinders one minute, appalling the next. Totally devoid of any clue to devastating in delivery and finishing. It’s not a confident side, they seem to enter sleep mode only to awake when the opposition score a goal. For the first time today we have to say Freddie Woodman exposed his own weaknesses, that second Wycombe goal should never have gone in. Conor Hourihane is now not a first pick for us, his contribution is at best listless at times, sadly he hasn’t been the player the swans thought they were getting. His inclusion today produced nothing in value to gain the points against a side bottom of the league. Once Ayew left the field things definitely went down hill. His on the pitch contribution is more than evident now, in his absence the swans couldn’t hold the ball up or create any real opportunities. The last twenty minute resurgence was remarkable, especially Dhanda and Lowe, that is compared to the previous seventy minutes. And that’s the real frustration. This is a side that nobody can quite evaluate from game to game.
It’s on to QPR on Tuesday night at the Liberty, and it’s anyone’s guess what happens next.
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton (Whittaker 54), Bennett, Guehi, Manning; Grimes (C), Fulton (Smith 54), Hourihane (Dhanda 54); Roberts, Ayew (Routledge 8) (Cullen 76), Lowe.
Subs not used: Hamer, Cabango, Bidwell, Latibeaudiere.
Goals: Lowe 80, Cullen 83
Yellow card: Bennett 5
Wycombe Wanderers: Stockdale; Grimmer, Jacobson (C), Stewart, Ikpeazu (Akinfenwa 85); Muskwe, Thompson, McCleary (Horgan 74); Onyedinma, Adeniran, McCarthy.
Subs not used: Allsop, Wheeler, Bloomfield, Phillips, Samuel, Obita, Mehmeti.
Goals: Muskwe 46, McCleary 51
Yellow cards: McCarthy 80, Stockdale 81
Referee: Keith Stroud ( Looking for his car keys in the west stand ) 1/10
Update, his keys have been found, Stroud is hitching a lift on the M4
All photos licensed from Reuters
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