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Coventry City 1 v 2 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Tuesday, 2nd November 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Russell’s brand of football stuns Coventry City
Wednesday, 3rd Nov 2021 08:00 by David Cornish

It wasn’t anything other than a midweek away trip for Swansea City, and let’s be honest it was more than likely going to end up in another away day defeat. However, Russell Martin had other ideas as the Swansea bandwagon rolled in to the CBS stadium last night and dictated the game throughout.

Just as they did on Saturday Swansea City won this game in the opening exchanges against a Sky Blues side that hasn’t lost a game at home all season. From the off, slick passing play was the order of the evening as the swans exchanged possession, moving forwards positively and purposely. It seems a long time ago that we saw the same inter passing fail at Blackburn and Preston, and a long, long way from the same tactic we saw at Fulham only a month ago.

With endeavour and belief comes confidence, apply that to a match day situation and you start to see a group of players who actually believe that they are capable of doing something special. Last night in Coventry a purposeful Swansea City dusted off the hammering of Peterborough United and continued where they finished off only a few days ago. Once again,and surprisingly for some Olivier Ntcham started the game, his strong and belligerent play, and precise passing dominated the midfield. Linked in with Jamie Paterson, and yet again a more positive Matt Grimes the swans took control of this game from the start.

The damage was done after twelve minutes, roared on by a healthy away following of around a thousand the swans dictated the overall play. Having done that they forced themselves on a Coventry defence that wasn’t at all ready for Russell Martin’s carefully managed tactics. It was a pleasure to watch. Ethan Laird was as dangerous as he has been all season, and Jake Bidwell once again signalled his desire for a contract extension come January. The swans out passed and out played Coventry, frustrating the home fans in a sparsely populated stadium, albeit the home fans did generate a fearsome atmosphere.

The first goal was typical Swansea, Paterson firing home after seizing a moments opportunity fifteen yards out. The second was deflected, but Joel Piroe just cannot do any wrong this season as he reached ten goals in this campaign. Coventry showed little in reply, and when they did it was broken down by the hard work of Korey Smith and a defiant Swansea defence, Ryan Manning stood out. It was only when the defence went to sleep at a corner that Coventry made a game of it. And only then all eyes would have been on Ryan Bennett beaten to the the cross as Mcfadzean headed home.

Surprisingly that was the end of the scoring for the night. Swansea fans were waiting for Victor Gyokeres to score, he couldn’t, in fact his pace was the only threat to the well marshalled swans defence. And only then from wide areas. He looked tired, and the weight of the world was again on his shoulders. Swans fans had seen it all before. This night, compared to Joel Piroe there was no match.

The second half was a selection of missed chances for the swans, Jake Bidwell once again finding himself in a scoring position but hitting the bar, Ethan Laird choosing to pass when a shot would have been better. But the second half was about game management. It takes a confident team to play like Swansea City did in the second half. The passing was intricate and clever, the slowing down of the game frustrating, but only for the home supporters.

Olivier Ntcham was purposeful and busy all night

Coventry didn’t really bother the swans in the second half, despite a more progressive and quicker attacking strategy it all came to nothing, Swansea City looked adept and calm in the face of any onslaught that Coventry threatened. The Sky Blues didn’t hit any woodwork, nor did they come close. A moment of space resulted in a superb save from Ben Hamer, the customary tip over the bar was standard. The game petered out to the result many would have not predicted at the start of the game. However, many were predicting all sorts at the start of this Championship campaign, even after three games.

It’s odd, but judging a team from one five minutes to the next not only displays ignorance, it displays an overwhelming lack of intelligence as well. This isn’t a swans team that was going to tick from the off, the ill informed hated the start of the season, but then they more than likely still hate it now. That’s the measure.

Last nights performance showed more about the players and their buying in to the Russell Martin theory than it does to anything else. His driven desire to play football won last night, and overall it will win more games than he loses. Last night in Coventry the swans took the points, but more so they made some too. And now hopefully people will begin to see more positives than negatives. The swans climb up the table even more, and with Bournemouth to come on Saturday, well, who knows ?

Russell Martin can now look at his trip to the south coast on Saturday as a free hit, no pressure, no stress, and definitely no expectation of three points. It’s nice to have that feeling isn’t it ? It’s even more positive to know that Swansea City have a manager who believes not only in what he says, but who knows how to apply it as well.

It’s been a long time coming.

Coventry manager Mark Robins: "We were architects of our own downfall. We didn't start the game right, they are a good team and they want to move you around, they try and do things that we want to do to opposition teams. We gave them a brilliant head start in the game and they made us too uncomfortable because we didn't get to grips with their movements. The second goal was two yards offside, it was our fault as well but we've got to work out when we press and when we don't.

"We got ourselves back in the game with a header and then had opportunities, because however good these are they give you opportunities if you get after them. If we'd have got ourselves level at half time, we'd have gone on and won it, I'm sure of it. We're fourth in the league, we've had a brilliant start and nobody is getting down about that."

Swansea manager Russell Martin: "Joe and Jamie have been incredible for us. Forget all the goals, the defensive job Joel does for the team is really appreciated by his team-mates. He does some incredible things out of possession for us. He is so clever, links the game well, has good movement and is always in the right place which is why he scored the goal. Jamie, you run out of superlatives to describe him. He just keeps getting better. He deserved a goal and took it brilliantly and he's another one who works so hard for the team.

"We came out the traps brilliantly. We had so much energy, intensity and aggression against a really good team. We showed so much courage to play the way we wanted to, there were some massive performances and I thought we deserved the win for the way we started the game and the chances we created. The set piece goal we conceded was disappointing but I thought we gained control back again in the second half and were really strong."

Coventry City: Moore; Hyam, McFadzean (C), Clarke-Salter; Dabo, Hamer, Allen (Jones 70), Maatsen; O’Hare, Godden (Walker 89), Gyokeres.

Subs not used: Wilson, Kelly, Rose, Sheaf, Kane.

Goal: McFadzean 27

Yellow card: Hamer 9

Swansea City: Hamer; Bennett, Naughton, Manning; Laird, Smith, Grimes (C), Bidwell; Paterson, Ntcham (Obafemi 62); Piroe (Downes 74).

Subs not used: Benda, Cabango, Latibeaudiere, Whittaker, Cullen.

Goals: Paterson 5, Piroe 12

Yellow cards: Bennett 25, Downes 84

Swansea Independent MOM Ethan Laird

Referee: Andy Davies 8/10

Attendance: 16,514 Away att : 995

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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