Swansea fans watching at home this evening were “treated” to anything but the kind of performance that is likely to win promotion come May. In the end we were grateful to the award of another penalty – converted by Andre Ayew – to get ourselves a point in what was a completely unforgettable affair at Ewood Park.
Steve Cooper was again making changes ahead of this game with Jamal Lowe and Jake Bidwell both in the starting eleven having missed out on a start at the weekend. It was a little surprise to see those two changes made immediately especially to see that Korey Smith was back on the bench given the difference that he clearly makes to midfield.
We have become a little accustomed in recent weeks to pretty dire first halves but even by those standard’s the first 35 minutes of tonight’s game took that direness to a whole new level as two sides bounced the ball about without any clear indication of what they were trying to achieve. Neither keeper was troubled, neither side looked like scoring and certainly neither side looked like a team that had aspirations of Premier League football next season. At least for Blackburn they have the excuse of not having those aspirations, our excuse is not as clear.
Blackburn took the lead in the 37th minute in traditionally scrappy circumstances. A ball into the area saw Dack in as much space as he needed and his shot went through the legs of Woodman to give the home side the lead. A goal from nowhere but one that didn’t surprise anyone watching it.
The Swans though didn’t stay behind for long and – yet again – it was a penalty that bought us back into the game. Whilst there maybe some controversy over our last couple of penalties there was none over this one as Fulton was clearly fouled in the area. And for the fourth game running Ayew was successful from the spot to bring the Swans back level and somehow a dreadful game had two goals in it, shared between the two teams.
The Swans made a half time change when Joel Latibeaudiere replaced Marc Guehi and you just hoped at this point that change or not the second half surely had to be better than the first.
On the evidence of the first ten minutes of the half though it wasn’t seeming that way as both teams struggled to get any hold on the game or even create chances that suggested there was more goals to come. Woodman got away with a goalkeeping error and Hourihane curled a free kick over the bar but that was about it as the game headed towards the final third with the scoreline locked at 1-1.
To their credit the Swans were trying to get control of the match but we were looking more like a side struggling with tiredness and certainly one that is in need of the international break due in just over 10 days time. The team appeared at this stage to be lacking any urgency or cohesiveness – certainly an issue that we have developed more and more in the past half dozen or more games.
The changes made by Cooper were having no impact on the overall game and Mowbray in the opposition dugout was also trying to shake it up a but but it was having very little impact on the overall game with both sides as disjointed as each other. Blackburn occasionally caused some concern in the Swansea defence but that was largely caused by our own indecision and inability to clear rather than their creativity.
Wayne Routledge came back into the action with ten minutes left in the game – a replacement for Jamal Lowe as Cooper tried to make a difference in the game but this match had developed a pattern that was not likely to be broken this late on in proceedings.
Tonight’s point is of course enough to pull us level with Watford in second place on points but on the performances in recent weeks that will be a temporary measure. Steve Cooper needs to find a way of getting his team to start putting in performances if we are to retain the challenge through the last 12 games of our season.
It is another point towards our end of season goal but that was dull to watch and we need to step this up several notches in recent weeks.
Over to you Steve please.
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MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
NEXT UP FOR THE SWANS