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Derby County 0 v 0 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 2nd October 2021 Kick-off 15:00
A familiar ending to another Swansea City game at Derby
Saturday, 2nd Oct 2021 17:28 by Keith Haynes

It was a familiar end to a Swansea City game today. Total domination, complete control but no goals. Another away point isn’t a bad thing of course, but today as we have seen on numerous occasions this season all three points should have been in the swans pockets.

Swansea City started well at Pride Park this afternoon, a dominant and pleasing control of the ball led to two good opportunities to open up the scoring. One from Jake Bidwell when he should have done a lot better, and Matt Grimes saw his shot fly just wide. Derby were pedestrian in the opening fifteen minutes and the swans overall control was reassuring. A high press on the Derby defence saw the ball being recovered as the rams tried to get in to the game. Another lovely pass through to Joel Piroe was also wasted when he took far too long to get his shot away. A side pass to Korey Smith would have seen an easy chance to make it 1-0.

Derby tried to slow the game down in an attempt to gain some control, however the swans defence seemed confident, and nowhere near the side we saw last Wednesday at Fulham. The dominance continued with Jamie Paterson, Jake Bidwell and an energised Matt Grimes probing the Derby defence. The nice thing about the first thirty minutes was the inter passing and shots or headers at goal being the end result. Two successive corners saw chances come and go for the swans with Ben Hamer in the swans goal a lone spectator.

With the Derby support getting increasingly frustrated the second third of the half came and went with the score at 0-0. A familiar story. The chances for Derby would almost certainly come and a set piece from Richard Stearman ended up in Hamer’s hands, but the warnings were there.

Kris O’Leady commented “ It’s a very similar pattern to the last few games, chances are being made, but we just need one to go in early, then perhaps we will see the flood gates open. There are elements of the game you have to be more direct with your running, you run and you mean it, make something of it, that’s missing in most of Swansea’s games “ An injured Ricahred Stearman left the pitch on forty minutes replaced by xxxx Derby started to pick up loose balls in midfield enabling them to get the ball out to the wings but they couldn’t threaten Hamer in the swans goal. It became scrappy and the polish we saw from Swansea City in the first half an hour had become jittery and half hearted.

Swansea’s keep ball continued, but as the game drew to a first half close it seemed that both sides were running out of steam. Piroe was slow to get on to through passes, but his intent was there.The noisy swans support continued in their efforts to energise their team, but it seemed both sides were happy to play a midfield game of ‘wait for the half time whistle’ In injury time the swans pushed on with the whole of the Derby side behind the ball. The main opportunities to get forward came via Kory Smith and Joel Latibeaudiere, but their link play was left wanting. At half time the players looked tired, the swans had put a lot in to the game in their many build ups. However, once again the swans remained scoreless and it will be Derby County who were the far happier.

Flynn Downes seemed happy to slow the game down today to keep the ball

The second half started with no further changes but Martin did have Morgan Whittaker at his disposal, and Liam Walsh on the bench. The rams early tactics were clearly to get the ball forwards quickly and in the air. Swansea remained comfortable on the ball but with little dynamism in their play. Through balls were slow to be spotted, and when they did the wet pitch didn’t aid Joel Piroe. Derby traded high balls and seemed far more comfortable finding empty space with long passes than their own players. They seemed happy with that respite. The glaringly obvious issue seemed to be pace, not only with the ball over the top when the swans mixed up their passing, but also when on the ball with a player to take on.

Derby were clearly waiting for a mistake and when it came, a loose ball from Korey Smith set up the rams best chance of the game. Tom Lawrence burst forwards out stripping the swans defence which led to a rally of shots for Hamer to save. O’Leary was disappointed, “ Everything is going backwards when there’s clear space to play forwards, when there is a run on we are not making them, or getting the timing wrong. Derby are preying on Swansea City’s mistakes, they’ve had the best chances of the game” Wright missed another opportunity when Paterson took the ball off his feet as he lined up a shot, and once again the game of two halves was with us.

The swans managed to get in to the Derby last third on numerous occasions, but overplayed the ball seemingly to want to walk the ball in to the area. One move with Paterson nigh on in the six yard box with the ball at his feet resulted in back passes. Piroe had a chance when his snap shot was blocked. On sixty minutes Ethan Laird replaced Joel Latibeaudiere, a move which on previous evidence should result in more opportunities for the swans.

It proved so with the swans dominance returning, a Grimes free kick saw a game of pinball in the Derby area with several Swansea shots being blocked. The lack of pace even more evident with spaces opening up that the swans couldn’t take advantage of. Surprisingly Liam Cullen replaced Joel Piroe with Morgan Whittaker still waiting to make his mark on the game. Derby were quick to lose the ball after breaking down Swansea City’s attacking moves, and so the pattern of play continued. Turning back on themselves when in strong positions remains a huge frustration. it was evident the confidence of the swans in their ability to win the game was disappearing.

Ryan Manning again worked hard with no rewards against Derby

Entering the last fifteen minutes of the game the score remained 0-0.

A lovely move and cross from Bidwell saw Liam Cullen miss the ball completely right in front of goal. Laird couldn’t take advantage of the easy knock in. It was a a positive move with Paterson running at the Derby defence making the chance. Then Laird took advantage of some space and his shot across the Derby box deflected for a corner. The swans fourth of the game. After a retake the ball was played to Paterson who saw his shot sail over the bar, it wasn’t far away. The swans dominance wasn’t reaping rewards at all.

The swans risky passing led to another Derby attack with ten minutes to go. It led to nothing from a throw in as Ethan Laird on the break was hauled to the ground. The Derby support seemed content with their teams performance, it wasn’t anything other than speculative high balls and being happy to soak up pressure. Not the type of fair swans fans would ever stand for. Again seizing on a swans midfield error xxx had an opportunity to get a shot away which was comfortably saved by Hamer.

Rooney has a beaming smile after hanging on to a point at home

With the pattern of play ever the same Korey Smith miss hit a shot on the corner of the area. The last five minutes were telling. Whittaker was brought on too late to make an impact, and the lethargic nature of the swans build up play beat them as much as the rams defending. The home side were clearly the happier, Swansea failed to get the ball forwards as quick as Russell Martin would like, and the lack of confidence to make a definitive run was missing. It is a point, and it is a fourth 0-0 of the season. All the stats point to a swans win, the shots at goal, the domination, the lovely inter passing were all with us again. However, the end result is the main stat, and once again the swans failed to win a game they had dominated from start to finish. We now have fifteen days off for international football. Russell Martin we know will use that time wisely, the outcome will be seen when the swans return in the South Wales derby against Cardiff City.

A game he can ill afford to lose.

Derby County: Allsop; Byrne, Davies, Stearman (Buchanan 38), Forsyth; Shinnie, Bird; Knight, Morrison (Williams 46), Lawrence (C); Stretton (Ebosele 63).

Subs not used: Roos, Jozwiak, Sibley, Watson.

Yellow cards: Forsyth 45, Williams 82, Byrne 89

Swansea City: Hamer; Cabango, Naughton, Manning; Latibeaudiere (Laird 61), Downes, Grimes (C), Bidwell; Paterson, Smith (Whittaker 88); Piroe (Cullen 71).

Subs not used: Benda, Williams, Fulton, Walsh.

Referee: Andrew Madley

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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