The Swans put in another performance where we were anything but our best but somehow secured a win thanks to a third minute goal from Connor Hourihane. There was not much pretty about our play and we certainly didn’t dominate but we just keep on winning. Does that mean we are destined for the success we all crave?
The pressure was probably slightly increased on the Swans today with Brentford winning at Blackburn last night which lifted the Bees into second place ahead of both Watford and the Swans on goal difference.
The Swans still do have though that one game in hand which may yet prove crucial and knew that a win today could well see them end the evening in 2nd place in the table which would be the biggest boost that we could probably want at the moment.
It was a big five changes for Steve Cooper today when he named his starting line up with Bennett, Manning, Latibeaudiere, Smith & Dhanda all returning to the starting line up as he went for the result that was important but you always felt that a performance was equally as important today especially after the last few weeks.
So I would imagine that the smile on Cooper’s face was very wide when his side took the lead as early as the 3rd minute. A long ball from Manning was perfect as it found Dhanda in space and, as he broke into the area, Ayew drew the defenders leaving a perfect ball across the ball to find Hourihane in acres of space and he wasn’t going to need a second invitation to give the Swans the lead. The perfect start and surely one from which we would build.
Well, you would have thought. As seems to be our game plan, we started to sit back and gradually as the half went on that sitting back got deeper and deeper and we reverted to what appears to have become our “type” in recent weeks. Our deep defensive work was meaning Luton were becoming more confident and only a linesman’s flag kept us in the lead when Luton found the net in the 20th minute.
Luton were forced into a change when Potts clashed accidentally with Hourihane causing a lengthy delay and the half time news that his injury was not as bad as it looked was welcome to hear as you never like to see a player leaving the field on a stretcher after any lengthy treatment.
The first half had passed us by with few goalmouth chances for either side beyond the goal in the 3rd minute but the disappointment as a Swansea fan was that we seemed to be settling for the 1-0 scoreline and trying to defend it from almost the moment the goal went in and given our recent defensive errors that seemed to be an unnecessary dangerous tactic.
If it was sitting deep in the first half then the second started with the Swans almost exclusively sitting inside their defensive third. This was just inviting more and more Luton pressure as the game ticked on and a yellow card for Woodman for time wasting in the 56th minute told its own story as to how the game was unfolding in front of us.
It was 65 minutes in when Steve Cooper made his first changes of the afternoon with Jay Fulton and Jamal Lowe introduced to replace goalscorer Hourihane and Yan Dhanda with the Swans still very much struggling to impose themselves heavily on the game and Luton starting to ask more questions of our defence as they went in search of the equaliser.
The Swans weren’t helping their cause at all because even when we had the ball we were either undone by a sloppy pass or a pass that was never going to reach it’s intended target and Luton were able to keep a relative level of pressure on the Swans although as we headed towards the last ten minutes of the game there had been little to test Woodman heavily since half time which tells you much about the weaknesses in the Luton team ahead of the strengths of ours.
Both Lowe and Grimes had rare shots for the Swans but both were so off target they found the advertising boards at the top of the stand which was kind of summing up the performance of the Swans in what had long since become a very forgettable performance.
Four minutes of stoppage time was never going to change the pattern on this game greatly and so it showed today as the two sides played out the period with no changes to the scoring and so it proved that the one strike from Hourihane was to be enough as the Swans got three more points and yet another clean sheet into the bargain.
The call at the start of this game was for a performance as much as a result. We certainly got the latter thanks to a third minute goal but beyond that we once again we more than flattered to deceive but somehow we keep on winning games that we just do not look as if we deserve to win.
In fairness today I am not sure we deserved to lose either, Luton for all their territorial advantage did nothing much to suggest they were about to pressure Woodman too much either.
The simplistic fact is we won again, in eight games of what feels like poor performances we have averaged two points per game and now have 69 points on the board with 11 games still to play. We remain a promotion chasing team but with Bournemouth and Cardiff to come in the next seven days much could be tested in that time as to whether we remain that promotion chasing team.
Three more points but boy was it boring!
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