|Nottingham Forest 5 v 1 Swansea City|
Saturday, 30th April 2022 Kick-off 15:00
Woeful Swansea collapse again in the second half at Nottingham Forest
Sunday, 1st May 2022 16:58 by Keith Haynes
If the first half gave the two thousand travelling swans some hope the second half was a huge disappointment as Swansea City collapsed in another second half display that Russell Martin described as embarrassing.
And it was.
As long as Swansea City persist with square pegs in round holes in defence these collapses will most certainly repeat themselves next season, but then of course we are told this will be a feature of the summer transfer window. And yes, it seriously needs a remedy. One player isn’t enough either if Martin insists on this very individual passing strategy at the back. But that’s for another time. Although Swansea survived a few scares and Andy Fisher pulled off three fantastic saves in the first half it seemed no warnings were heeded at half time in the swans dressing room. Forest also hit the bar and their scrambled goal was the controversial moment of the half. A lax Kyle Naughton failed to clear a cross from the Forest right, dallying too much and found himself being tackled by Jack Colback who somehow forced the ball over the line. As he did so Cyrus Christie threw his head towards the ball, and then hanballed when the goal was scored. He received a red card.
Christie tries to prevent the ball going in to the net
Fortunately after several minutes of discussions and the use of hawkeye sense prevailed and the red card was rescinded immediately and the goal given. Fortunately the swans retained their starting eleven on the pitch otherwise this scoreline at the end would have been far more. It wasn’t as if the swans played poorly in the opening forty five minutes, the passing at times was good and of course with Christie still on the pitch he was the main outlet. It paid off a few minutes after forest scored when Obafemi latched on to an inch perfect long ball from Matt Grimes, his marker cleverly turned, and fired the ball in to the right hand corner of the net.
It was a deserved equaliser, the swans had pressed well with Flynn Downes proving from midfield, but after that nothing was deserved and certainly nothing could be complained about. The ‘embarrassing’ second half as described by Martin was one way traffic as Forest took ahold of the game and destroyed the swans defence. Cooper maintained post match they knew exactly how to deal with Swansea after analysing the first half, and this is where Russell Martin needs to develop. Cooper stated, “The game plan came off perfectly. We were very happy for Swansea to have the ball. We wanted to control the game without the ball which we did brilliantly, 5-1 is obviously a great result. But I'll be honest with you, it could have been a lot more - it should have been 5-1 at half-time. We know Swansea have a lot of the ball, but they also give up a hell of a lot of chances, and concede a hell of a lot of goals. So for me that was a clear game plan to let that happen and fortunately it came off." Albeit Martin is scraping round for players at times and trying to introduce a system that he doesn’t have the personnel to implement, then there has to be some flexibility. At least when it’s clear anything else is taking a chance on losing the game.
However, it really doesn’t matter at this stage if the season, it just has to improve and drastically in places next season. Martin knows where his focus remains. However, it isn’t good enough that thousands of travelling fans are continually let down by a lack of effort by Swansea City, and that’s the truth of it. Post match Martin said, "I thought the first half was great, we took the sting out of the atmosphere and controlled it for long parts," he said. "We had some really good moments. Their scary moments came from set-pieces and on the counter attack, which is something they're brilliant at. Then we just totally cost ourselves the game after 10 minutes in the second half. Then it's about trying to stay brave, and we didn't do it anywhere near well enough. The willingness to run in the last 20 minutes was nowhere near good enough. What we've learnt from the Bournemouth second half and this second half is that we certainly need a bit more presence and athleticism next season, there's no doubt. Today's been embarrassing, the second 45 minutes. The supporters didn't deserve that, and the players and staff didn't deserve that for the way they've worked. It's a real sign of what we are lacking and how to respond when we go behind. Today we learnt a bit about a few guys as well. I'm just really disappointed for everyone that we've finished the season away from home like that. The reality check is that if you're not going to really look after the ball and keep it as far away from our goal as possible, then you have to be wiling to fight and defend, and we haven't been able to do that. We know now what we're lacking for next season. Ultimately the players have worked hard all season. Everyone has. They've grown so much. It's been pushing a rock uphill all season to get to a certain point. They're in a position now where they can cause teams at the top of the table problems. We have to respond next Saturday because I don't want to finish the season like that. We were nine unbeaten before today, but it was really humbling in the second 45 minutes."
Nottingham Forest: Samba; Worrall (C), Cook, McKenna; Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback (Laryea 83); Zinckernagel (Lolley 70); Johnson, Surridge (Mighten 77).
Subs not used: Horvath, Cafu, Taylor, Figueiredo.
Goals: Colback 23, Surridge 48, 52 & 69, Mighten 84
Swansea City: Fisher; Latibeaudiere, Naughton, Manning (Ntcham 58); Christie, Downes, Grimes (C), Wolf; Piroe (Fulton 78), Congreve (Paterson 58); Obafemi.
Subs not used: Hamer, Ogbeta, Smith, Joseph.
Goal: Obafemi 28
Yellow cards: Christie 24, Latibeaudiere 38
Referee: Graham Scott 7/10 - took the advice to reverse Christie’s red card well.
Photographs licensed from Reuters
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