|Huddersfield Town 1 v 1 Swansea City|
Saturday, 15th January 2022 Kick-off 15:00
A Super Swansea City display and the Jack Army are fantastic !
Saturday, 15th Jan 2022 17:53 by Martin Cosgrove for Swansea Independent
The swans played their first league game in five weeks at the John Smiths stadium this afternoon and again we saw a defensive error which gifted the opening goal of the game. Swansea City took a large travelling support to Yorkshire as well, well over a thousand fans who sang relentlessly through the game.
What a fantastic showing from the Jack Army today
Swansea looked comfortable for the first fifteen minutes bar a few Ben Hamer picnic passes early on, one resulting in a foot injury. However on two occasions he did redeem himself with a stunning save from a twenty yard drive, and then a brave close up parry from what looked like a certain goal. In between all that the home side pressed down both flanks to no avail. When the opening goal did come Huddersfield had Swansea City to thank as much as any of their own players. Five swans defenders all failed to clear the ball deep inside the area resulting in a shot which Hamer should have done better with, the ball fell at the feet of Luxembourg international Daniel Sinani who really couldn’t miss.
Hamer continued his slow passing antics as did the swans in build up play, obviously the most possession fell to the visitors choosing to play sideways and reluctant to take on their marker and get a ball across the box. When they did a defensive header fell to Ryan Manning who struck a super shot towards Lee Nicholls left side which he saved wonderfully. Matt Grimes as well took on his marker on the outside of the area curling a lovely low shot towards goal, this time to the keepers right which he turned round the post.
Hamer pulls of a world class save in the first half to deny Huddersfield
Aside the defending which is at best suicidal at times and without Rhys Williams, Jake Bidwell, Jamie Paterson, the on loan Liam Cullen and Morgan Whittaker the first team squad looked at its barest of bones. So much so Russell Martin included Jay Fulton on the bench, a player he has made it more than clear isn’t in his plans. The question has to be posed why do this if that’s the case ?
The swans strolled to half time choosing their passes too slowly, and with poor ball retention, however there were signs towards the end of the first half that that there was something in the game for Swansea. There needed to be more intent and urgency, there was little or no examples as such to talk about. The endeavour was there, the ideas were there, but no pace or desire once again beat the swans.
The second half was such a dramatic change in flair, skill, tactics and guile Huddersfield were left with no answer to a dominant Swansea City. Now Olivier Ntcham was pulling the strings, only terriers keeper Lee Nichols kept the swans at bay. Liam Manning was superb running relentlessly forwards linking with Flynn Downes and Matt Grimes superbly well. It was Ntcham who was stronger in every challenge, he was a colossus in midfield, running and pushing his side forwards. Cyrus Christie, a tall right back was out on his feet when Martin changed him in the second half. His contribution for the rest of the season is crucial. If Manning was the star man, Joel Latibeaudiere a first half misfit came alive tormenting his marker on the swans left. Twisting and turning, patiently building play and putting in dangerous crosses. The shots on goal from the swans on another day would have seen five in the home teams net. You get the feeling someone is seriously going to be on the receiving end before too long,
Michael Obafemi beginning to fit in ?
There wasn’t a bad player performance in the second half, Hamer still had to parry two shots late on but the swans were so dominant it was embarrassing for Huddersfield. They had absolutely no answer to the press and ball retrieval by the away side. Joel Piroe maybe didn’t have his best game but he came close to scoring on three occasions the last effort a header which he really should have done better with. How many swans fans were there isn’t known yet but it was a huge support considering some of those who came from Swansea. Flags from Cwmbran, Risca, Caerphilly and yes, even Swansea display just how big the club has become in regenerating their support two fold over any local rivals. Michael Obafemi came in and looked busy, he is still rusty but had some energy about him. So was Kyle Joseph who slotted in really well at the right hand side of the swans defence.
Kyle Naughton and Flynn Downes ran the second half show today
It is becoming a pleasure to see how Kyle Naughton fits in to this complex passing team, and okay it was only a point but this is what Swansea City fans want to see. A dominant team rebuilding as the season progresses with a young and clever manager in Russell Martin. Ben Cabango looked solid in the second half as well, and looked nothing like the player we saw in the first half. It is a very satisfying end to what was becoming a frustrating afternoon in Yorkshire.
The chances created and the desperate defending witnessed should inspire the most negative of Swansea City supporters. It’s a season of transition, we have a young and positive coaching team at the club and it seems they have sufficient pull still to attract players. One we believe was in the stands today. He will be very eager to get on the end of some of those chances if everything happens in the right way next week. It wasn’t all rosey this afternoon, the defensive action in the first half was concerning but overall for a team in sixth place, albeit a false one on games played a Russell Martin will be more than happy with this away performance after a first half which really was a struggle.
Huddersfield Town: Nicholls; Turton (Rhodes 87), Pearson, Lees, Toffolo; Sinani (High 46), Hogg (C), O'Brien; Thomas, Ward, Koroma (Pipa 72).
Subs not used: Bilokapic, Sarr, Ruffels, Russell.
Goal: Sinani 15
Swansea City: Hamer; Cabango, Naughton, Manning; Christie (Obafemi 68), Downes, Grimes (C), Latibeaudiere; Ntcham (Joseph 88), Smith; Piroe.
Subs not used: Fisher, Bennett, Fulton, Abdulai, Walsh.
Goal: Downes 78
Referee: David Webb 7/10
Photographs licensed from Reuters & Swans fans open source
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