The exact size of the task facing Russell Martin at the Swans was laid bare for everyone to see this evening as we were second best all over the pitch and comfortably beaten 3-1 by a Stoke side who continued their unbeaten start to the league season.
If there was any doubt that the Swans are in transition it was evident for all to see this evening as a quiet home crowd saw Stoke seize the initiative within the first minute of the game and never relinquish it as they scored three goals before Joel Piroe scored his first league goal for the Swans to put some level of respectability on a scoreline that at one stage was in danger of spiralling out of control.
This was a night where the Swans waited more than half hour to reach the opposition penalty area, waited an hour before they had a shot on target and barely threatened the opposition goal until Piroe headed home a Bidwell cross to pull a goal back.
That came though at a time when the game was well out of the home side’s reach thanks to goals from Powell, an inevitable Clucas strike and Østigard capitalising on comedy defending to score the third. At this stage goals looked as if they could come from every Stoke attack as a back three of Cabango, Brandon Cooper and Manning struggled to grab any composure in defending although this was widely not helped by a static midfield.
There were small glimpses of hope in the debut of Ethan Laird who looks as if he could cause defending full backs some issues this summer and Joel Piroe came on to be our only real goal threat of the game. His introduction was a clear indication that Russell Martin got it wrong tonight as he made a tactical change in the 37th minute, taking off Yan Dhanda, with a view to trying to make a difference.
It didn’t and it became more clear that we are several players short of being a good team. We have no real pace in the team and playing wing backs when we pass the ball around the backline and defensive midfield is just wasted personnel. This will be a focus for Martin in the coming weeks no doubt but he has a huge two weeks ahead of him before the transfer window closes.
Much work to be done following a pretty dismal night for the Swans.
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MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS
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