The Swans returned to league action this afternoon but ultimately, for all the possession and passing, were unable to break down an organised Hull defence who stood firm and with some ease earned the point that they were set up to win.
Russell Martin will need his side to be more savvy when faced with eleven men behind the ball and will need his side to create a pass and move approach to the game which at the moment is definitely good at the passing but much less so on the movement.
There were positives, don’t get me wrong, but goal scoring will continue to be our downfall this season unless we address that nature of play with too many passes being sideways or backwards whether by design or whether by the nature of the lack of movement ahead of them.
The debut of Olivier Ntcham is definitely a positive for this particular game and our defence was rarely tested but the performance of Rhys Williams gives us great hope again going forward especially the ease in which he brings the ball out of defence and adds to the attempts to attack in a way that other of our defenders don’t do so well.
The deep performance of Flynn Downes was another plus point on the day and the apparent pace of Michael Obafemi was on display in what was a short debut and possibly one where we waited too long to introduce him.
Two weeks on from the capitulation at Preston, Martin would have hoped for a good performance from his side and the early signs were good as the Swans did have the previously mentioned movement for the first 15 minutes but it was soon disappearing as Hull settled into their routine of just holding their line with a vague hope that they may hit us on the break.
However, it was the 90th minute before the Swans keeper – Ben Hamer in for the dropped Steven Benda – was forced into a save and whilst it would have been a travesty had the Swans ended empty handed the chance was as good as any that the Swans had created through all their possession.
Matt Grimes had tested the keeper in the first half as had Kyle Naughton and Joel Piroe always looked as if he could create something from nothing but too often the final pass was off target or just unable to be threaded through the eye of the needle. There is little doubt that the ‘triangles’ and such are back in the way that Martin wants us to play but they do not create the space where we need it because of the lack of movement at the moment. That isn’t to say that it isn’t coming but it does need to be drilled into people that we will not break down solid defences without it.
The Swans had – what on the face of it looked – a couple of decent penalty shouts that on another day could have been given and a couple of obvious advantages were missed by the referee in the first half that did nothing to endear him to the crowd on an afternoon where the home crowd was relatively quiet for the most of the 90 minutes which tells you much about the goalmouth action.
The good news can be added to by the fitness of the players who have definitely come on from the levels that Martin bemoaned two weeks ago and a clean sheet is always welcome although we will not have an easier clean sheet this season than the one we earned today.
The danger with where we are at the moment is we can easily be sucked into a relegation battle. We do need to search out a win in the next week to put some gap between us and the bottom three and this is definitely some level of progress from two weeks back but there is still plenty of work to be done to get us to where we want us to be – both position and form wise.
From today we have to take the positives that were there and then work on the areas which we know we need to be better at.
Bring on Millwall.
MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
NEXT UP FOR THE SWANS