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Brave Swans in memorable game at Carrow Road
Saturday, 27th Apr 2024 18:05 by Liam Walters

It was a pulsating game to watch and very much one of my favourite away games of the season. The Swans looked an entirely different side to that we saw at Middlesbrough when it is clear a catalyst for commitment was agreed behind the scenes at Swansea City. To a man every player grafted and wore the shirt with pride. To see the players really acknowledge the Swans support at Carrow Road this afternoon was emotional.

Luke Williams was seen in deep conversation before the game started, an ex Norwich youth player from the age of twelve, he was clearly looking forward to this fixture.

The Swans started the game with an exceptionally healthy support in the south stand on the corner of the ground where home supporters are housed. Norwich seemed happy to watch the Swans pass the ball around in the very early stages. It was indeed a tentative start. However, the home side broke on two minutes down the Swans left. A stumbling attempt from Norwich ensued, players falling over, but Carl Rushworth saved admirably. Then on five minutes Liam Cullen had a golden chance after a lovely back heel from Ronald, his effort blocked as was Josh Key’s rebound attempt. It was a high tempo start for both sides now. Liam Cullen again missed a good header on seven minutes when located in the centre of the box just eight yards out.

It was frantic and the general consensus was both sides will score goals today. That would come to pass. In the meantime both sides saw chances come and go. Norwich pressing for the points that would guarantee them a play off spot, the Swans matching them with determination and grit.

It was an entertaining game, no doubt about that as the Swans supoort were urging their side forwards. On twenty three, after some end to end stuff Cullen found Paterson (below) on the Norwich right. His jinking run and disguised movement saw him free of his marker and he struck a rocket shot to Gunn’s near post. The keeper was helpless as the ball spun in to the net. The Swans were one up. It was a superb goal.

The game switched end to end, both sides probing, the Swans looking dangerous on the break and Norwich snatching at their chances. That signalled their nervousness to get the points. Two corners in quick succession displayed their urgency, but also a lack of composure. The Swans right hand side was open at times and this was leading to Swansea having to defend dangerous crosses. Sargent nearly equalised on twenty six but his shot was well saved for a corner. The onslaught continued but every effort was being well marshalled by the Swans defence, Cabango especially. Shots were regularly coming in from the home side as Harry Darling blocked another effort on twenty nine minutes.

What was evident was the effort from the Swans rearguard, the industry of Cooper and calming nature of captain Grimes in midfield. He looked composed and confident. On Thirty one minutes Cooper was fouled. Looking over to the Swans right hand side, two sometimes three Norwich players were close to Ronald. He was earmarked as a dangerman. Norwich continued to make use of their possession but the final ball was disappointing. On thirty three minutes Gabriel shot from thirty yards, it was a superb effort, Rushworth was beaten and the game was at 1-1. Norwich continued to find space. They sensed a second. Josh Tymon was being overworked and those holes had to be plugged.

On thirty eight minutes the Swans had a set piece opportunity, the ball was cleared for a throw in. The Swans were back in the game with Paterson causing all sorts of trouble. Tymon was very badly fouled which was missed by the officials, much to his displeasure. For the second time in the game the away side were down to ten men with the officials completely oblivious to the challenges being put in. Cabango was in fine form cutting out attacks on both sides of the pitch. His orders this second half of the season incredible.

The officials definitely saw a rash challenge on McLean by Paterson, the selectivity of their decision making very clear. Was the atmosphere getting to them ? Then six minutes of injury time was announced. The Swans were under siege for the final knockings of the half. The inevitable happened, a lapse in concentration again saw a cross for Sargent (below) who headed in leaving Rushworth to dive despairingly. It was unnecessary and again displayed the drop in concentration we have seen so many times this season. That made it 2-1 to the home side. Norwich now sensed blood. They pressed the Swans who were clearly longing for the half time whistle.

From 1-0 up to 2-1 down based on the obvious gaps on the Swans left hand side was annoying. This was poor in game management. The defence was working hard but it just couldn’t deal with the second ball being picked up by Norwich in dangerous areas leaving more defensive actions. There had to be some adjustment by Luke Williams at half time.

That didn’t seem evident as the mist rolled in over Carrow Road for the start of the second half. The first five minutes saw Norwich dominating play and coming close on two occasions. As the Swans calmed themselves they probed forwards. That saw a move lead towards the Swans second goal. Good work in the centre of midfield led to a foul on Ronald by Norwich keeper Gunn, and the referee at last seeing a foul on Swansea gave a penalty. Matt Grimes stepped up and the scores were level. It was a well taken spot kick. As per the first half we then saw Norwich press with a string of corners, Cullen getting booked, and once again the pressure was on the away side. Shots came in, headed clearances were made and so it goes.

The end to end drama continued, Ronald had a screaming shot which curved round and was fumbled by the Norwich keeper. The corner came to nothing. Then a break for Norwich and a tackle which Harry Darling superbly timed. It was non stop. My notes blew across the press area, through looking up to much as the atmosphere increased. The home crowd desperate for the win. The jittery passing at times made the game even more appealing. The Swans took up a bit of time in trying to probe the Norwich penalty area for a few minutes. Lapsidasical passing from Ronald saw Norwich retain possession. That led to an astonishing few seconds as Cabango headed off the line with the home side again looking dangerous. The Swans were going toe to toe and at last were actually matching up to a side in the top six. On sixty seven minutes Jamal Lowe replaced Jamie Paterson and Jerry Yates came on for Cullen.

Both managers now looking for the win.

A dangerous looking free kick followed after a foul on Cooper. Grimes took it, the keeper fielded it. Lowe was already looking dangerous, his skill on the ball evident. Then Rushworth played a shocking ball out which went straight to McLean who obliged with a back pass. Carl had got away with that one. It was Ronald’s turn next, his running earning a corner on seventy two minutes. Tymon took it, it was better but cleared. Grimes picked up the loose ball, crossed and Darling guided his header just wide. Then Norwich had an opportunity, Sargent blasting high and wide. It was breathless stuff.

With seventy seven minutes gone, Jamal Lowe worked a chance which was deflected for a corner. The set piece was taken by Grimes, it was again cleared. Norwich responded with sub Jonathon Rowe earning a tenth corner. Then an eleventh. Duffy headed goalwards, it was cleared off the line by Lowe. This game was relentless ! And it was Duffy’s second opportunity resulting in a goal line clearance.

With ten to go the Swans settled. Wood composed as Ashley Barnes hit the floor unchallenged. That was the end of his game. The Swans then tried to help Norwich out by misplacing their passes. There was a lethargy from Key which wasn’t helping at times, he looked tired. Rushworth again giving the ball away. His judgement today was most certainly in question. Stacey ran forwards after a weak challenge from Lowe, his shot deflected for a corner. There were six minutes to go. The corner was cleared.

Wood was intent on slowing things down, but the gaps were there for the Swans to expose. They did when Key (below) crossed and Lowe curled one of his specials towards goal, but Gunn saved it as it seemed destined to go in the net. The Swans were back on form. Ronald again shot, it was deflected for another corner. We had a minute to go. Tymon again took it, left footed in-swinging, it was cleared. Liam Walsh who had sneaked on as a sub was now in play.

Norwich had a chance when Nunez shot across Rushworth but it went wide.

Key then again gave the ball away with three minutes of time to go. The Swans continued to fight and then turned that into dominated possession. Rushworth was picking his players out well with long balls. Another corner to Swansea. Walsh took it. The ball was poor. This was a magnificent match up. The game was brought to an end and the scores were level. This was yet another impressive away performance from Swansea City. No doubt about it there are foundations for Luke Williams to build on. He has secured a sense of unity in this Swans side.

The players acknowledged the supporters at the end of the game, the Swans now on fifty seven points and in thirteenth. Next week is the final game of the season at the against Millwall.

⚽️ Swansea City: Carl Rushworth, 6 Josh Key, 6 Jay Fulton, 6 Ben Cabango, 🌟8 Harry Darling 6 (Nathan Wood 76),5 Matt Grimes (captain), 7 Jamie Paterson 7 (Jamal Lowe 68), 6 Josh Tymon, 7 Liam Cullen 5 (Jerry Yates 68), 5 Ollie Cooper 7 (Liam Walsh 83) 5, Ronald 7

Unused Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Charlie Patino, Mykola Kuharevich, Bashir Humphreys, Azeem Abdulai.

⚽️ Norwich City: Angus Gunn, Jack Stacey, Ben Gibson, Borja Sainz (Ashley Barnes 68) (Jacob Sorensen 82), Josh Sargent, Sam McCallum (Sydney van Hooijdonk 94), Christian Fassnacht (Jonathan Rowe 68), Gabriel Sara, Kenny McLean (captain), Shane Duffy, Marcelino Nunez.

Unused Substitutes: George Long, Grant Hanley, Danny Batth, Kellen Fisher, Guilherme Montoya.

Referee: James Linington. Grew in to the game. 6/10

Attendance: 26,429
530 Jack Army

All photographs with permission

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ReslovenSwan1 added 22:07 - Apr 27
Aerial duels won 25% . Norwich are not known as a uber physical team. I suppose to be expected as a ball playing side. I expect the best ball playing sides have beef as well. They can do everything well.

felixstowe_jack added 07:48 - Apr 28
We won most of the defensive aerial duels but lost nearly all of them in midfield and up front.

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