|Swansea City 2 v 1 Derby County|
Saturday, 1st May 2021 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea City RAM Rooney’s words right down his throat
Saturday, 1st May 2021 17:50 by Steph Thomas & Keith Haynes
Wayne Rooney talked a great game before today’s match between Swansea City and Derby County, his team did respond at times during this game that could have seen them clear of relegation. However when it really mattered and genuine ability was needed to win this game his side were well and truly lacking. The swans win 2-1 and after a very poor first half they turn on the style in the second.
It’s hard to give any of the players on the pitch any credit other than for turning up on time after a first half that was continuously stopped by poor control, misplaced passes and a far too casual attitude to the last home game of the regular season. Swansea City were exceptionally poor, “stop start” was Lee Trundles half time comments including “The referee has done the game no favours with really strange decisions that hasn’t helped” However, the swans continued reliance on passing the ball back to Ryan Bennett and Ben Cabango became predictable. Then relying solely on Matt Grimes to open up the Derby midfield line with a measured pass, the second half had to bring changes. Passes out to Jake Bidwell were many but his control on the ball was slack and when he did get his angles right the fast and wet surface took the ball out of play or to an opposition player.
Then the driving rain returned.
Morgan Whittaker had a wonderful chance in the opening minutes after Jamal Lowe ran half the length of the pitch, admittedly the pass from Lowe wasn’t brilliant but more loss of control beat Whittaker and the ball was scrambled away for a corner. Derby had a few half chances, one blocked by Cabango with Woodman gathering the spinning shot easily. That was about it for goal mouth action.
Byrne was booked for Derby County after a fairly malicious challenge on Jamal Lowe, later in the half after a two footed lunge on the same player he escaped another card. Maybe he was as bored as everyone else watching and fancied an early bath so he could shoot off home and book his holidays. Either way any opportunity granted to the swans ended up with either it being prevented to progress by the constant whistling from the annoying Darren Bond, or the swans fluffed their lines.
Derby were the happier at half time for sure, after Sheffield Wednesdays drew at home to Nottingham Forest earlier on in the day. However, they are not entirely safe going in to next weekends final game of the season against Sheffield Wednesday.
It was more than likely those watching would have believed the game would drag itself along at the same pace for the next forty five minutes or so. But that was not the case. Derby looked driven and committed and raided the swans penalty area immediately, unusual lack lustre effort from Bidwell to cut out the cross saw Conner Roberts out jumped for Tom Lawrence to head home. It was an odd goal, the swans were sleeping, and as has happened in recent times started the second half poorly. There was an element of offside to the goal, even a foul, but the goal stood according to the referee. Derby County players met the goal with total jubilation, the relief and pressure on them eased. Swansea City for the next ten minutes completely lost the pace of the game with a lack of pressing from the front three.
Unfortunately for Derby it wasn’t over, not by a long stretch.
As substitutions for Cooper’s men were being organised a corner won by Bidwell started a period of pressure which gave the swans the game. Derby were backing off, for some reason maybe believing the swans lack of scoring power would see them through at 1-0. If that was the case it was a huge mistake. Dropping back ten yards or so and allowing Dhanda to dictate matters along with Grimes turned the game. A cross in to a frantic penalty area then headed back a cross goal by Cabango was met by Morgan Whittaker who headed the ball barely over the line despite a desperate effort from Derby keeper Roos. The effort that Derby had put in saw their heads drop after that, and they then became the hunted.
Swansea upped their game, with fresh faces on the pitch, an energised Manning especially assisted Dhanda again finding space in front of the rams defence. Very neat inter play and measured passing saw the ball at Matt Grimes feet. His wonderful cross towards Conner Roberts on the right was met full on the volley, and then it flew in to the back of the net. In a matter of minutes the rams were 2-1 down. They did respond and frustratingly the swans failed to take the chances they made after that. Lowe was booked for diving in the penalty area and Derby started to get back in to the game. Richards saw a header saved by Woodman as the swans retreated in the same vein as Derby had minutes before. Bennett was immense in defence keeping the back line together as the pressure intensified.
It wasn’t the best way to finish the game for Swansea, it looked desperate at times but their assurance at the back and fighting qualities gave them the points. With one game to go the swans are in fourth place, and as it stands will meet Bournemouth in the semi finals. Brentford cannot be caught in third place, so the conundrum is a simple one. Or is it ? All Cooper’s troops can do is go out and try and defeat Watford next weekend. It’s more than likely Bournemouth await the swans, but the play offs are never going to reflect current form, well, we hope so.
Steve Cooper “ Mixed feelings about the game, we failed to get the rhythm going. The game was stale at times. We had to change a lot at half time, especially our positioning. The goals were good, I’m happy with that. Conner scores a wonderful goal. I will let other people decide if we have overachieved. We are fighters, we have a real good spirit and togetherness and I’m so pleased to be working with these players and staff. We work on things every day, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We showed maturity and brought on academy boys, we trust them. Absolutely we need a good training week now, we need to build towards the play offs now. We respected Derby with our team selection and want to finish on 83 points “
Garry Monk “ That was a great win for Cooper, he has done a fantastic job for Swansea, he has worked so hard and knows the game really well. I’m really pleased for him and the club”
On the other hand Wayne Rooney stated “ I thought the performance was good, we showed energy and good attitude. The first Swansea goal was preventable the second shouldn’t have happened. To concede two goals again is very frustrating. We lose concentration and focus, I’m scratching my head, we’ve worked hard with the players this week. We didn’t deserve to lose though. I’m not bothered about Morgan Whittaker, players come and go, that’s the way. Now we have to win the game next week. There won’t be big changes, our preparations are good. We have to want it more, I’ll make sure the players are ready. However, this isn’t about me it’s about this very big football club. There’s a lot at stake. We have to assess that challenge. We played well today but we have to tighten up at the back. If we concede goals next week like today we will shoot ourselves in the foot “
Rooney really doesn’t look like he has the abilities of a coach like Steve Cooper, and maybe is proving like some of the very best in the last, being a coach and manager is completely different to being a quality player.
Swansea City: Woodman; Roberts*, Cabango, Bennett, Bidwell (Manning 64); Grimes (C), Smith, Dhanda (Fulton 86); Whittaker* (O Cooper 64), Cullen, Lowe (B Cooper 90+1).
Subs not used: Hamer, Latibeaudiere, Naughton, Hourihane, Routledge.
Yellow cards: Whittaker 62, Lowe 67
Goals: Whittaker 63, Roberts 66
Derby County: Roos; Byrne, Edmundson, Clarke, Forsyth; Shinnie (C), Knight; Waghorn (Sibley 80), Lawrence*, Jozwiak (Roberts 69), Kazim-Richards.
Subs not used: Marshall, Bird, Cashin, Buchanan, Ebosele, McDonald, Watson.
Yellow card: Byrne 27
Goal: Lawrence 48
Referee: Darren Bond 6/10
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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