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Swansea City : Grimes misses a penalty in a return to bad old ways
Saturday, 4th May 2024 15:21 by Liam Walters

An error strewn and tepid Swansea display ensured thousands left the stadium before the staff and players did their usual walk around at this end of season game. It wasn’t a good look as two players received red cards and any effort by the home side was lost in a static and frustrating display.

The day started off with a mark of respect for Leighton James and Terry Medwin. The applause was loud and the ground resounded with applause. Millwall supporters arrived this morning by train and were escorted through the city centre to the ground. It started off in bright sunshine, and a very healthy crowd. After a minute the Swans came close with a cross from Jamie Paterson. Thereafter a less than rapid pace greeted the crowd. Millwall trying to inject some urgency which resulted in a corner for the visitors on four minutes. The corner didn’t work but the Swans defence showed their first sign of sleepiness when an unmarked Lions player was free in front of goal, the shot going out for a corner.

The long throw ins continued from Millwall, clearly targeting what they saw as a makeshift Swans defence. Their tactic clear. As ten minutes passed the Swans had a period of possession but no threat on the Millwall goal. On twelve a lovely cross from Liam Cullen was met with a poorly executed shot from Ronald. Referee Eltringham was allowing Millwall tackles to go unchecked. Although the game was ticking along both sides didn’t look up for the game. The periods of low tempo football clearly reminding everyone it was the last game of the season with nothing to play for. On twenty minutes a penalty shout was waved away when Josh Key went tumbling in the Millwall penalty area.

On twenty five minutes the Swans earned their first corner of the game. Charlie Patino took it but the set piece was cleared. The Swans domination in possession was seventy five percent after half an hour. Then a great cross from Ollie Cooper on the Millwall right was met by Paterson who had to twist in the air to head over the bar. Liam Cullen seemed pretty much out of the game, he was being bullied off the ball and his height and effort in the air wasn’t helping matters.

The game then turned in to a competition of who could give the ball away the most. Ronald tried to unlock the Millwall defence but ran out of ideas, and the match was struggling its way to half time. What was evident was the lack of bodies willing to commit to forward runs. Cullen chasing shadows. If there was a team looking the more likely to score it was Swansea. Millwall now slowing the game down and adding to the misplaced passes stat.

On forty minutes the big clue appeared. Pressurise the defence and you get results. Paterson and Cullen forcing an error in the Millwall back four with the ball cleared away anywhere. Possession given away. Millwall’s Longman had a chance on forty two minutes but his hard shot was blocked by Carl Rushworth and the danger cleared. The referee drew the half to a close without any injury time and both sides will know they had to do better.

The second half didn’t immediately show any improvement by the Swans, in fact it pretty much followed the first half. On forty eight minutes a shocking tackle on Paterson went unpunished by way of a card, and the Swans started to up the tempo. The referee’s incompetence would be highlighted a short time later. Josh Tymon was getting higher up the pitch as did Ollie Cooper. Ronald had a chance but his burst in to the Millwall area saw the Brazilian well tackled. Josh Key joined in but like the pattern of the game had already shown us, the Swans just couldn’t bypass the visitors defence. The game had risen a few degrees. Millwall were playing a high line, the Swans looking to expose that with players breaking, It had opened up.

On fifty five minutes Rushworth turned a clever shot from McNamara round his post for a Millwall corner. The corner well taken but the header pretty poor on goal. Millwall were ready to make their first substitutions. What more came on for Esse, Ryan Leonard for brook. A corner followed for the Lions after Bashir Humphreys misjudged the ball. The ball fell to Millwall’s Cooper who saw his header saved by Rushworth. The Swans gave the ball away on the half way line, Millwall’s goal attempt was headed clear by Matt Grimes.

Then Jamal Lowe came on for Charlie Patino, and Liam Walsh for Paterson. Millwall though were now counter attacking well, and another corner came on sixty two minutes. It was well headed clear by Cullen. Then some magic from Ronald saw him brought down in the area, it was a clear penalty. Matt Grimes took it. It was a lethargic effort to the keeper’s right. His penalty was well saved. Indicative of the way the game was going. Millwall sensed they could get the three points. Josh Key then had a chance but his shot was headed out for a corner. The attempt by Tymon was cleared. The Swans pressed. Poor crossing followed as the Swans were static at times looked a different proposition albeit for a few minutes. Poor control by Ronald and a snap shot at goal were easily dealt with.

A ridiculous piece of control from Ronald let Millwall in, a simple cross for substitute, Casper De Norre to slot the ball home. The away side were now leading. Ronald was immediately taken off for Azeem Abdulai. Then Jerry Yates was introduced.. The Swans play was sketchy, slow and frustrating, their tackling weak when opportunities arose. Then it was Cullen’s turn to give the ball away the Swans surviving the counter attack. Saville and Honeyman came on for Millwall as the away side went in search of another goal.

To say the Swans play was negative was an understatement. Turning back when chances forward were there, and a complete reluctance to take the game by the scruff of the neck was clear to see. The Swans with thirteen minutes to go were going through the motions. Walsh operating on the Swans right seemed happy to pass the ball backwards, and any momentum was persistently being lost. Then on eighty minutes Lowe earned his side a corner. Tymon took it. It came to nothing.

With eight minutes to go the pattern of the game continued.

Humphreys put in a strong tackle on McNamara. The referee stopping the game when the swans were attacking. Then a player bundle ensued. Yates sent off for seemingly going over the top in the toe to toe. It looked like a well aimed punch on a Millwall player actually hit the target ! Tanganga went off for Millwall. The only real person to be blamed is the referee who stopped the game when he didn’t need to. The game was held up for four minutes. When it continued, the Swans attacked but Cullen couldn’t adjust his header with power. Walsh worked an effort in the area after a pass from Abdulai. The corner was pretty shocking.

McNamara should have been sent off in the ninety for an arm in to the face of Abdulai.

The Swans were now getting out their deckchairs, the effort bar Abdulai poor. The extra time was four minutes, then Key was brought down when getting past his marker. The referee strangely giving a goal kick. He was having a mare. The game was brought to a close with Millwall getting their fifth win in a row. This wasn’t a good performance by Swansea City, and the mistakes on the ball were unforgivable. There is one positive from this display and that’s Azeem Abdulai, he really should be in the starting eleven next season.

⚽️ Swansea City: Carl Rushworth, 6 Josh Key,6 Ben Cabango, 6 Matt Grimes (captain), 5 Jamie Paterson 6 (Jerry Yates 74),🟥 4 Josh Tymon, 7 Charlie Patino 5 (Liam Walsh 61), 5 Liam Cullen, 5 Ollie Cooper 5 (Jamal Lowe 61) 5, Bashir Humphreys, 6 Ronald 5/ (Azeem Abdulai 73).6

Unused Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Mykola Kuharevich, Nathan Wood, Aimar Govea, Filip Lissah.

⚽️ Millwall: Matija Sarkic, Danny McNamara, Jake Cooper, Japhet Tanganga,🟥 Billy Mitchell (George Saville 77), Tom Bradshaw (George Honeyman 77), Zian Flemming (Shuan Hutchinson 87), Ryan Longman, Ryan Leonard (Brooke Norton-Cuffy 58), Casper De Norre, Romain Esse (Duncan Watmore 58).

Unused Substitutes: Connal Trueman, Adam Mayor, Aidomo Emakhu, Wes Harding.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham 2/10 A shocking and amateurish performance.

Attendance: 17,661
Away 1,148

Duncan Johnson for Swansea Independent

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