|Brentford 2 v 0 Swansea City|
Saturday, 29th May 2021 Kick-off 15:00
The season ends as expected as Swansea City lose at Wembley
Saturday, 29th May 2021 17:34 by Keith Haynes
The old Swansea City turned up at Wembley this afternoon, many swans fans will say this was a team not busting the gut that is needed to win a competitive game of football with the rewards so high. We potentially agree, but it was the negativity of the Swansea City’s first half performance that lost the game today. The coach we are sure will take the blame, it may well be his last game in charge of the swans, and if that’s the case, then we wish him well.
Swansea City have been pretty unwatchable in many games this season, rarely providing the supporters with real hope, just sneaking over the line, commendably at times, but not really being the team that deserved anything more than today’s result. The better side won, but then Brentford have had enough chances to make it to the premier league. Something had to give.
The gentle start from both sides suddenly got very eventful after seven minutes of the game in the Wembley sun. You would be forgiven for thinking up until then it was going to be a calm if not uneventful day in the Championship play off final. Then the whole ethic that Cooper set out to win the game became a calamity. Okay, the penalty award for Brentford was questionable, a clever ball in to the area saw an advancing Woodman, slowly, attempt to gather the ball as Mbuemo stuck a foot forward and lapped up the challenge with a penalty being the outcome. A closer review of the incident showed clearly there was more diving than challenging going on. However, it was deserved on the balance of play, Swansea looked devoid of any ideas, which continued to be the thread for the first half. Ivan Toney scored his thirty third goal of the season from the spot, and a desperate Woodman could do nothing about it.
The response from the swans was negative and pretty stationary be that in their passing, running, positivity and ability to carry out whatever plan Steve Cooper had for the game. Some will tell you no plan was evident, relying on the game plan for the semi finals wasn’t generally a good idea, but it seemed to be the way. Brentford pushed forwards and from a Swansea set piece at one end they raced forwards catching a lack lustre swans defence upfield. To an extent they did recover but a wonderful slide rule pass across the area was met by Emiliano ( no not him ) who passed the ball in to the net with Fulton stranded and Woodman once again being exposed at his hear post.
It seemed nothing that Swansea did would lead to anything positive. Hourihane was at the heart of numerous misplaced passes as was Matt Grimes already yellow carded for a nasty challenge early on in the game. These two midfielders were clearly Cooper’s way back in to the game. All that happened was defensive, back passing from the swans. Predictably when in a positive position to attack the Brentford goal the ball was back in a Swansea City defenders possession, and nothing came from anything the swans could muster. An incredible Ivan Toney shot from thirty yards rattled Woodman’s bar, he may say he had it covered, but it was a majestic attempt for the West Ham target.
The usual Brentford theatrics influenced the referee on numerous occasions and enabled them to gather themselves formation wise when they did look like they could put something together.
When the swans did briefly wake up they wasted opportunities to pass forwards, as we have said it went backwards, and it was only with a few minutes left in the first half that a Hourihane corner was met bravely by Ayew but his upwards header bounced off the bar to safety. It was the old Swansea at the new Wembley and to say the second half would bring anything different, well, on that first half showing, no way.
The style of play didn’t change from the swans in the second half, the passing definitely got quicker, and an early cross from Roberts saw a glancing header from Ayew go inches wide. Further quick inter play saw Jamal Lowe break free but his shot was very high and wide. It did show that the swans hadn’t given up the ghost just yet. Brentford weathered the storm and on sixty minutes a corner from Mbeumo resulted in a Pinnock shot that was clearly going in deflect off his own player to safety. Cooper threw a few dices with Cullen on for Naughton and Dhanda on for Hourihane. It maybe should have been the starting eleven.
Sadly it made no difference to the outcome.
Swansea persisted in attacking the Brentford goal then a foolish, almost stupid challenge from Fulton on Janson saw him red carded. Fulton has been asking for a red card for at least the past six games, today he got it. Fulton had slipped, it wasn’t reckless, but it was a sign that the swans were falling apart just when they had the ascendancy. I’m pretty certain later tonight Jay will replay that moment through his mind and admit he was at fault.
Dhanda had chances after this, as did Roberts, the battling of Ayew looked tired and Lowe will look back at this game and genuinely say he didn’t turn up. It’s a learning curve. Maybe half of this side won’t be present next season, to an extent that’s fine, we are used to this at Swansea. We genuinely expect Cooper to leave to be replaced by Julian Winter’s old buddy at Huddersfield. That’s fine too. This isn’t the class of 2011, it never should be whispered really in the same sentence, but we will. Coaching is the key, Cooper, well we all know he isn’t a Brendan Rodgers but as we have said Copper has been magnificent, and his next club will quickly see a man who has a clear vision. The big question is what ability does he have to impact his philosophy on a higher league of players. If he makes the dramatic step up he will most certainly be found out. Swansea City will cash in on Cooper and move on, people can talk about the Swansea Way all they like, but today at Wembley it finished. For now.
What will be, will be.
For us, the swans didn’t look they were busting a gut to win today, the foolishness of Jay Fulton confirmed it, the lack of coaching ideology too. Steve Cooper may well have all the answers with the best players at certain levels but with players who are not the best, in fact who are generally free in transfer windows he has done magnificently well. Right across the free transfers, the loans and steady signings he has given the club a huge positive boost. But the swans have no real jewels in the crown, only an overpaid Ayew and a one game in four player in Jamal Lowe. Tough to admit I know, but it’s the truth and evident today through the ninety eight minutes.
The new season isn’t that far away. Take eight weeks off, look around your family, enjoy what you have, today was just a game of football, Swansea lost but just being there maybe was proof enough there is a new season ahead and new promise.
Brentford: Raya; Dalsgaard, Jansson (Reid 78), Pinnock; Roerslev, Janelt (Ghoddos 73), Jensen, Emiliano (Bidstrup 90+2), Canos (Forss 73); Mbeumo, Toney.
Subs not used: Daniels, Goode, Nørgaard, Fosu, Stevens.
Goals: Toney 10, Marcondes 20
Yellow cards: Marcondes 21, Janelt 70
Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton (Cullen 60), Cabango, Guehi; Roberts, Grimes (C), Fulton, Hourihane (Dhanda 62), Bidwell (Manning 82); Ayew, Lowe.
Subs not used: Hamer, Freeman, Bennett, Latibeaudiere, Smith, Whittaker.
Yellow card: Grimes 6
Red card: Fulton 66
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Attendance: 12,000 by all accounts.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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