The Swans are beaten on the last day of the season at Vicarage Road but it made little difference as results elsewhere saw the team secure 4th placed and a two legged semi final against Barnsley with the first leg on 17th May
Steve Cooper made four changes for the game and named a surprisingly strong side for the game, possibly needlessly so given the fact that a play off spot was secured a week or so ago. Particularly unexpected was the return of Andre Ayew to the starting line up with early observations suggesting that his movement was limited at best.
Worryingly for the Swans Ben Cabango missed out on the game due to a groin injury picked up in midweek and the Swans will be hopeful that he can recover from this ahead of the play off challenges we have in front of us.
A decent first half from the Swans was not rewarded with any goals as the interval was reached with a 0-0 scoreline that for the Swans would be enough to secure a 4th placed finish and a record points tally at this level. The bigger question though at this point was what would Steve Cooper do in regards his changes as surely the time would be to rest some legs ahead of those play off semi finals.
There were no changes at the start of the second half for the Swans but another bright start saw Cullen come close five minutes into the second half and just a minute or two later Fulton also had a shot deflected for a corner as the Swans went in search of the goal that would surely secure a fourth placed finish.
That fourth placed finish though was becoming more secure as news filtered through from Bournemouth that the home side was 2-0 down to Stoke so it was looking like it would make little difference as the Swans went behind in the 56 minute.
A patient build up from the back eventually saw the ball coming in from the left where it hit a grateful Andre Gray to put the home side ahead and undo all the good work of the Swans to that point.
It was the 65th minute when the changes started on both sides with Watford making a double sub at the sam time as the Swans introduced four players into the mix clearly with a view of getting some key players some rest including Ayew, Lowe and Grimes in a game that was fast petering out as having many moments of interest.
The goal and the changes had effectively taken most of the sting out of the game and the two sides were effectively playing out what this was – a meaningless end of season game between two sides who had the same goal for most of the season but for one that goal is still to be achieved.
By the time Watford doubled their advantage in the 87th minute the result had long stopped becoming an issue. The Swans knew 4th placed was secured and home advantage in the second leg of a play off whilst Watford were ready to open the champagne and start their end of season promotion party.
For the Swans all attention now turns to a play off two legged meeting with Barnsley which will see a first leg on Monday 17th May and the 2nd on Saturday 22nd at the Liberty.
46 games, 80 points, 4th place. On the face of it a very good season in terms of the end result but we now need to forget all that and focus on what lies ahead. Bring on the play offs.
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