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Barnsley 0 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Monday, 17th May 2021 Kick-off 20:15
Freddie Woodman’s display against Barnsley was match winning
Tuesday, 18th May 2021 13:13 by Keith Haynes

Freddie Woodman has his critics, and at times if you are a total perfectionist in how you see Swansea City then some of his errors are there to be questioned. However his improvement over the season has been dramatic, no doubt down to Martin Margetson as much as anyone else who work relentlessly at the club, but Freddie is the common denominator, without his effort it means nothing.

Woodman’s display was as good as any goalkeeping performance witnessed by swans supporters in many years. His awareness around his penalty area, his commanding reach during dangerous set pieces and reactions when threatened were second to none. His opposite number was similar in his own work on the night, however the Barnsley defence obviously didn’t do their homework with Swansea’s winning goal. Numerous times this season Ayew has drifted across the opponents penalty area and rifled in an exacting shot beyond the keeper. And against Barnsley he did it again. It was a superb piece of class.

So why did the swans win the game ?
Quite simply unlike last season when the swans were forced in to a keeper change when Woodman returned to Newcastle, this time around Woodman was available, and that is the obvious reason why Swansea won the game. Mulder with all due respects was at fault in the second leg tie that Brentford won last season. And it has to be said, had that been the option this season it’s unlikely the swans would have kept a clean sheet. The hard work and desire to be better and better again is the reason why Freddie Woodman is earning the plaudits today, and it’s thoroughly deserved.

The Newcastle United loanee commanded his box brilliantly and never looked flustered but it was his shot-stopping that ensured his side protected their 1-0 lead. Woodman made a string of impressive saves, with his denial of Callum Brittain’s effort arguably the pick of the bunch, as he kept his 22nd clean sheet of the season. Barnsley fans will point to hitting the bar, but have a look at that moment again, Freddie had it covered had it been lower.

It’s very obvious too that Barnsley will try and dominate the game on Saturday. They know no other way to play. What seems to be their issue is if it doesn’t work, like in the first leg their heads drop and ideas run out. We can thank outstanding performances at the back too, Guehi and Cabango were strong and commanding in every challenge. Dike the Barnsley dangerman was very cleverly kept quiet.

We have to hope that Cooper doesn’t rely on the same type of performance on Saturday, away from home it was an unqualified success, but more pace on the break will be required which may see the introduction of Conner Roberts from the start. Either way the first part is done, and the main reason for that is Freddie Woodman, man of the match. And much deserved, and credit where it is due. Big time.

Swansea City v Barnsley
Liberty Stadium
Saturday 22nd May 2021
Kick off 6.30pm UK time
Live on Sky TV

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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