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Brighton and Hove Albion 2 v 0 Swansea City
Carabao Cup
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021 Kick-off 19:30
Too many changes mean Swansea City are out of the League Cup at Brighton
Wednesday, 22nd Sep 2021 22:22 by David Cornish at the Amex Stadium

Changes were expected from swans manager Russell Martin tonight, but the amount of changes and it has to be said players starting out of position seemed to be the downfall at the Amex stadium in Sussex.

Nine changes by Russell Martin including a two pronged attack with Morgan Whittaker and Liam Cullen making starts looked a decent shout during the early stages of this game. The swans looked comfortable with a defence of Ben Cabango, Rhys Williams and Brandon Cooper, then Jake Bidwell and Joel Latibeaudiere in a form of defensive role. It seemed Cabango and Williams were employed either side of Cooper. It was somewhat difficult to work out. The changes in midfield meant Korey Smith, Liam Walsh and Jay Fulton made up the three behind Whittaker and Cullen. However, interpretations of the actual match strategy will be varied and many. What it did mean clearly that Cabango and Williams looked quite uncomfortable at times in wider roles.

With all that said the swans had two very decent chances on goal from Morgan Whittaker who looked dangerous on numerous times throughout the match, and Rhys Williams forced Brighton keeper Steele in to a good save. Jake Bidwell was looking sharp in the early stages as well putting in crosses which the swans really should have managed far better. Brighton’s insistence on playing defensive suicide with the ball, akin to the swans on numerous occasions this season almost caused their undoing. However as the half progressed they did play themselves in to the game.

Bidwell caused Brighton numerous problems early in the game

Aaron Connolly struck twice towards the end of the half, first turning over the swans offside trap, and despite Coopers desperate lunge the ball deflected into the net. At that point the swans will have been extremely disappointed that they had gone a goal down. The second five minutes came frustratingly from the swans giving the ball away in midfield, that loose play saw Aaron Connolly again take his opportunity. Turning Williams inside out he calmly put his shot away. As the half ended Brighton will have been relieved to be two goals up after Swansea City and their spirited performance had caused them numerous problems.

Whittaker looked sharp at the Amex but the swans lose 2-0

The second half saw the swans take the game by the scruff of the neck, first an awful defensive mix up by Brighton was seized upon with the ball ending up at Cullen’s feet. With the goal at his mercy, and Cullens reputation for finishing it seemed he would score. Sadly his shot came off the bar as Joel Latibeaudiere headed the rebound wide. It was enough to inspire the swans as they pushed forwards. Cullen and Smith were the next to combine as they set up Whittaker, only for him to see his shot pushed wide by Steele. Then, on the hour, the woodwork came to Brighton’s rescue once again as it spared the blues of keeper Steele. The Seagulls keeper played a short goal-kick, which Fulton spotted, and he slid in to poke the ball to Cullen, who in turn touched to Smith, but his shot from 12 yards cannoned off the crossbar.

Russell Martin and his coaching team spent numerous occasions throughout the game with their hands on their heads, clearly frustrated that the opportunities being made were not being taken, you got the feeling that if one goal came more would follow. Sadly that wasn’t to be and Brighton’s Pascal Gross also hit the bar from a free kick towards the end of the game. Swansea were not embarrassed at the Amex, they fielded a side that looked fragile when announced, but did extremely well given the changes made. It was those changes which proved to be the catalyst for Brighton to win the game. So many players rested for Saturdays home game against Huddersfield means the swans are now out of this seasons league cup.

It was a bold effort, but the premier league side showed their class when it was needed.

Brighton: Steele (C); Lamptey (Gross 46), Turns, Roberts, Burn; Leonard, Alzate, Moder; Richards, Mac Allister (Sarmiento 69); Connolly (Locadia 75).

Subs not used: Scherpen, Furlong, Offiah.

Goals: Connolly 33 & 38

Swansea City: Benda; Williams, Cooper, Cabango (Manning 46); Latibeaudiere, Fulton (C), Walsh (Dhanda 63), Smith (Downes 63), Bidwell; Whittaker, Cullen.

Subs not used: Webb, Rushesha, Laird, Piroe.

Yellow cards: Williams 43, Downes 73, Cooper 90+1

Referee: Michael Salisbury

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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