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Swansea City 1 v 1 Birmingham City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 5th August 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Swans draw as Ntcham fee is agreed this morning
Saturday, 5th Aug 2023 19:02 by Liam Walters

The Swans may well look back on this game and view it as a point gained after a disjointed first half against a Birmingham side who have invested well this summer.

Olivier Ntcham wasnt happy to play by all accounts with rumours of his leaving gathering momentum in what is best described as a disjointed first forty five minutes. We have been reliably informed he withdrew his services late last night. That clearly means he is on his way as we reported last week. Wide of the mark it was not. Football writing isn’t just about predicting an erratic future but now and again there is a smile from our site owner, albeit to himself.

That’s here with quotes —> Ntcham Exclusive

Chances were at a premium although Harry Darling did hit the cross bar with an effort albeit ruled offside. Jamie Paterson who was subbed in the second half had an effort ruled out, and a game off of ping pong ensued after another Darling effort.

You would have thought as well that Andy Fisher wouldn’t have been ousted from the number one spot so quickly, but it’s a more ruthless manager at the helm this season with Carl Rushworth the Brighton loanee making his debut.

Nothing seemed out of place but it was a contrast to last seasons tempo and strategy. The ball was pushed forwards far quicker and debutants Harrison Ashby and Josh Key were happy to contribute to Duff’s tactics. Paterson did score but again the offside flag intervened to wipe out his effort. The Swans support were in full voice but were silenced after an astonishing defensive mix up led to Dembele putting the visitors one up.

That inability to defend and failure to be more effective was an issue from time to time this afternoon, but the basics looked okay, and the players seemed more content playing in this way. With twenty minutes to go and Krystian Bielik failing to put the Blues two up the fire in the belly returned. Ben Cabango looked more solid and the Swans looked to Liam Cullen who obliged with the assist for Jerry Yates to slot home in his debut.

It wasn’t the best fayre for sure, but Birmingham have invested well and looked a far better side than they did last season already. When all is told this result may well be seen as a positive one as this season progresses.

Publicly Michael Duff seemed happy with his side overall, however there are plenty of areas to digest for sure. Talking post match he said, “It was a really poor goal. To make that decision in the forty fifth minute, we do not want that. We have had to score a really good goal, whereas they did not really have to do anything to score their goal. But I thought the fitness levels were excellent, I thought they were absolutely out on their feet towards the end. We hit the crossbar, had one cleared off the line and had a goal disallowed. So there were lots of positives within it, I thought the spirit the players showed after going one nil down – when it could be easy to think it’s going to be one of those days was excellent. We kept knocking on the door right up to the 98th minute, I thought it was an even game, but I thought we did enough to shade it.”

Slightly blinkered maybe but the season is underway with Northampton Town visiting the Swansea.Com Stadium this Tuesday evening in the league cup.

Swansea City: Ratings - Rushworth; 6 Darling, 6 Cabango, 6 Wood; 5 Ashby 6 (Abdulai 70) 6, Fulton 5, Grimes 7, Paterson 6 (Cullen 71) 6, Key 7; Piroe 6, Yates 7

Subs: Fisher, Allen, Ginnelly, B. Cooper, Kuharevich, Naughton, O. Cooper

Birmingham City: Ruddy; Laird, Long, Sanderson, Buchanan; Dembele (Miyoshi 84), Bielik, Sunjic, Anderson (Bacuna 84); Hogan (Jutkiewicz 83), Roberts (James 60)

Subs: Etheridge, Chang, Cosgrove, Longelo, Oakley.

Referee 6/10

Photographs licensed from Reuters

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