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Swansea City 3 v 0 Stoke City
SkyBet Championship
Wednesday, 10th April 2024 Kick-off 20:00
Anger is an energy : Grimes inspirational in tense win v Stoke
Thursday, 11th Apr 2024 08:00 by Liam Walters

Swansea City didn’t look too troubled in this game, but the anger on the pitch was palpable as much as the anger off it. A huge chunk of missing fans decided they were not attending, and the club has to take stock on where they are going forwards. 14,692 was the official attendance, but we all know that’s as mythical as it gets. At least two thousand season ticket holders were not present. It was more like twelve thousand.

An angry looking Matt Grimes joined the huddle at the start of this game, However, groans were evident when he immediately slowed the game down from an early throw in. This allowed Stoke to organise themselves and deal with any threat. The projected blood and thunder not immediately evident. The weather here was absolutely horrendous with driving rain, however it didn’t dampen the Swans vocal support. Jay Fulton had the first effort of the night screwing a shot well wide on three minutes.

You have to give a huge thumbs up to those in this smaller turn out than usual. Josh Tymon immediately looked positive and dangerous linking with Jamie Paterson and Matt Grimes. The captain has come in for some stick recently, and rightly so but he was making himself available in space, looking up and forwards. The fire was definitely coming from the home side. As the game settled referee Keith Stroud was keeping a close eye on the tackles being made by Stoke on Swansea players.

Carl Rushworth in the Swans goal had been pretty much unemployed bar a few shaky long balls.

Then a lovely piece of work by Jamie Paterson found Jay Fulton but his low shot was deflected on to the post by Stoke keeper Iversen. It was a great piece of work by Paterson. Stoke were looking disorganised at the back and it wasn’t until the fifteenth minute they remotely bothered the Swansea goal. It was easily dealt with. Ronald looked to be in on goal on seventeen minutes but he was hauled down by Rose which the referee waved away. The effort was there, but still no blood and thunder yet.

It was on nineteen minutes that Liam Cullen ghosted in from a free kick by Paterson to poach an opening goal that eased the pressure - and the goal was greeted with a huge roar of approval. The Swans had at last taken the lead in a game, but this is a side that has thrown twenty five points away from winning positions this season. The crowd were pleased but cautious for sure. Minutes later Cullen had a pot shot from outside the area but without the same result. The tenacious tackling by the Swans is just what Swansea fans want to see. Application with aggression, we hadn’t seen this since the derby win. Stoke responded on twenty three minutes with a snap shot which was cleared by the industrious Oli Cooper.

The Potters first set piece opportunity was a corner on twenty seven minutes which Burger met but his effort went wide. Another set piece a minute later for Stoke. Carl Rushworth (below) fresh from his blooper on Saturday tried to bowl the ball out but it hit a Stoke player on the head. That player Neil Ennis put the ball in to the net. There seemed nothing wrong with the goal, but Stroud ruled it out. It really wasn’t evident as to why. Coupled with his poor distribution until this point we were seeing a keeper who was not having a good game. Post match analysis deemed the decision correct but extremely harsh.

Stoke had yet another set piece opportunity as the game entered the last fifteen of the half. Another foul by Grimes. The kick was dealt with and Ronald broke away then lost the ball. Manhoef shot but it went just wide. The Swans were falling back in to old habits with a lethargic approach as Stoke found their way in to the fixture. Enter Captain Grimes, he and Jay Fulton started pulling the midfield strings and settled the nerves.

On forty minutes Enda Stevens was carded for a foul in front of the east stand. From Paterson’s kick Ben Cabango failed to get anything on the ball at the back post. Then Paterson shot at goal but it was weak. The Swans had woken up after a few nervy defensive moments, and again were on the front foot. Harry Darling at the back was controlling the defensive line commendably. Paterson first wound up Hoever and then Burger was scythed down earning him a yellow card. On forty four Ronald was free on the Swans right, his cross as bad as it gets going out of play on the opposite side of the lurch. The Swans were alive but spurning good opportunities too. One minute of additional time was awarded.

The half drew to a close, it wasn’t a poor game and the final action of the half was Manhoef drilling the ball across the Swans goal. It’s those moments we really need to see eradicated.

The Swans started the second half seven points from relegation, and the momentum needed to be continued. Jamie Paterson tried to work himself an opportunity early in the half but his shot skewed away to nothing. Cullen’s runs were again being ignored but on forty eight minutes Paterson again failed to find a Swans player when all he had to do was roll the ball across the area for Cullen.

Stoke City first threatened from a corner after some poor recovery work from the Swans. It fizzed out but the warning signs were there again. Stoke were far more sharper and aggressive and the tackles from both sides were going in solidly. Then on fifty one minutes Oli Cooper was dragged down in the area after a lovely through ball from Grimes (below) it was a sensational pass with vision. The first question ? Was the foul was outside the box ? It was very close. Fortune favours the brave as the captain at last was taking responsibility. He took the penalty superbly and put the Swans 2-0 up.

The luck was certainly going the Swans way, and it has to be said for the first time this season from my recollection. At last !

Half time substitute Luke Cundle was involved early on but the Swans defence had the foresight to see threatening passes and looked exceptionally well drilled. Darling at the heart of it. Another through pass from a set piece again found Cooper as per the penalty award, Stoke were sleeping. And that was evidenced when a training ground move from the corner saw Cullen shoot just wide with Cabango sliding in. Paterson wasn’t tiring as he rushed in to back up Harry Darling who was being man handled. Both Manhoef and Darling were booked.

There was fire in the belly.

Stoke were ready to bring on three new players on sixty minutes. Before that Manhoef had a shot which went out for a corner. The scramble in the area thereafter went the way of the Swans target Tyrese Campbell came on as did Lauris and Thompson. Silly free kicks were being given away by the home side which was leading to issues further back. Rushworth was again in calamity mode being far too confident (and slow) on the ball having to work himself out of trouble. His mission tonight though, just keep a clean sheet. Everyone deserves one or two bad games a season, especially with the form Rushworth has displayed throughout the campaign.

Keith Stroud was beginning to take centre stage as well. Cullen booked for having his shirt pulled was slightly confusing, but the man who is Stroud never fails to bring controversy to most matches. That led to a corner but to say the taker overhit it was an understatement. Jamal Lowe replaced Cooper on sixty eight minutes in an attempt to bring some pace to the Swans attack. Cooper had a tremendous game tonight.

It was time now for a concerted effort to put this game to bed.

A wonderful piece of skill saw Lowe put himself clear as Ronald raced alongside, Josh Key literally at full pelt received the pass from Lowe, deceiving Stevens and blasted home the third Swansea goal of the night. It was counter attacking football at its very best.

Swansea substitutes Liam Walsh for Fulton. Abdulai for Key and Govea for Paterson would most certainly cause Stoke more problems for the final fifteen minutes. Govea was straight in to the action working an opportunity but Lowe’s crossing was poor. With ten to go the crowd were settled but was there time for another goal ? Then Tymon found Lowe who shot from forty yards with the Stoke keeper too far out of his goal. To this point Stoke had not had a shot on target. Then Charlie Patino came on for his regular cameo.

A Thompson cross went out again on eighty five minutes on the opposite side of the pitch for Stoke.

Govea continued to display his talent resulting in him being hauled down on ninety minutes. Grimes stood over the ball but fizzed his shot over the bar. Five minutes of injury time was announced. Yes, Stoke were very poor and the home side had enough about them to create the chances to win this game. Matt Grimes, despite a few passes going awry was the leader that we’ve been calling for all of this year. He was nothing short of magnificent. Despite the slight pieces of luck, this was a deserved win.

⚽️ Swansea City: Rushworth; 5 Key 7, (Walsh 77) 5, Darling 7, Cabango, 6 Tymon; 6 Fulton 6 (Abdulai 77), 6 Grimes; 8 Ronald, 6 Cooper 7 (Lowe 69), 7 Paterson 7 (Govea 77); 6 Cullen 7 (Patino 83) 5

Subs: Fisher, Yates, Kuharevich, Humphreys

⚽️ Stoke City: Iversen; Hoever, McNally, Rose, Stevens (Baker 79); Laurent, Burger (Thompson 64) ; Manhoef (Campbell 65) Bae (Cundle 46), Vidigal; Ennis (Leris 65)

Subs: Bonham, Wilmot, Haksabanovic, Tchamadeu

⚽️ Referee : Keith Stroud: 6/10 : Stoke City fans won’t be happy with him, but at least his madness fell down on the Swans side this time.

⚽️ Luke Williams reacts -

⚽️ The goals -

⚽️ The stats -

The end 👍

Photographs Swansea Independent

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