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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Swansea City 2-3 Reading – Sub Standard Swans pay the price for errors

Swansea City were their own worse enemies this afternoon as a sloppy display of football coupled with key defensive errors and the obligatory Andy Carroll goal against us meant defeat for Russell Martin’s side and a much needed three points for Reading.

Yet again the Swans found themselves coming up short in a third game in a week scenario and Reading – despite being told by their manager that the Swans were ‘vulnerable’ – were probably not expecting us to be so generous on a ground where we have slowly gained a reputation of being anything but.

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It all started so promisingly for Russell Martin and his team when Korey Smith played in Jamie Paterson in the third minute and as he rounded the keeper his shot was relatively tame but helped into the back of the net by the covering defender and the Swans were a goal up.

It was the kind of start that we would have hoped for in our preparation for this game but sadly the lead was to last just one minute and the first piece of generosity from the Swans.  A sloppy pass from Matt Grimes left the Swans defence exposed and Reading were able to equalise at the near post to make it 1-1 and there was less than four minutes on the clock.

The goal seemed to stun the Swans and the scene for the game was set with the passing that was so patient against Barnsley in midweek seemingly rushed on more than one occasion.  It was even in the early stages of the game that the frustration of the crowd came through at times as passes went astray and too often the ball was played backwards when the opportunity to go forwards looked more obvious.

The game changed on two offside calls around the half hour mark though.  First a good Swans move saw a cross ball from Laird neatly tucked away by Piroe but was quickly rules out by the raised linesman’s flag.   The call looked about right on first glance but that is without any benefit of a replay to see if it was the correct call.

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However, very shortly afterwards the Swans looked for the flag from the other linesman but it never came as Carroll ran clear of Rhys Williams. The Swans defender managed to get back with a covering team mate but Carroll was still able to beat the two of them and find the back of his net with his shot.  The visitors were 2-1 up and the Swans were the architects of their own downfall on both goals.

This was certainly not the script that we had imagined for this game beforehand and certainly not one that was anticipated when Paterson had opened the scoring in the third minute.   But even at 2-1 you felt that a decent half time talk and we would be more than capable of turning it around in the second half.

And that belief increased with a moment of magic from Ryan Manning.   A minute before that moment he had passed by on the chance to take a shot at goal when he felt a ball into the middle that was eventually cleared was his best option but second time around his instinct took over and the Swans were level.   As Korey Smith’s header came down towards him on the edge of the area he volleyed the ball first time past the despairing dive of the keeper and into the corner of the net.  We were level again and surely now with the springboard to push forward in search of more goals.

However, for the second time in the game we were to concede within a minute of scoring and yet again it was a defensive error – or actually probably a series of errors – that gave Reading the chance to give themselves the lead again.  It started when Kyle Naughton inexplicably chose to play the ball into the middle when a backpass to the keeper was the obvious move.   That exposed Bennett and Reading were able to break into the area and a low shot came back off the post with Hamer beaten.   The Swans were slow to react but Reading weren’t and Drinkwater had the easiest time to find the back of the net and give the visitors a 3-2 advantage that it turned out they were never going to surrender.

To conceded so quickly after scoring once is careless to do it twice in one game is something more and no doubt something that Russell Martin will be keen to discuss with his team the next time they are together on the training ground.

Reading I would imagine at this stage could not believe their luck to have scored three goals with the assistance of an exceptionally generous Swansea side.

Changes were bound to happen and Downes replaced Smith and later in the game Cullen for Bennett as the Swans searched for an equaliser.   Twice we thought it was coming but a mix of wasteful finishing and desperate defending kept us out and a second home defeat of the season was the end result.

So where did today go wrong?   The passing was an obvious one – too many stray passes, too many decisions to go backwards when opportunities presented themselves to go forward.

Giving the ball away in mad areas cost us the first and third goal,  allowing an ageing forward like Andy Carroll to score the second when covered by two defenders was not our best moment either.

The danger of Ethan Laird was nullified early on in the game and the longer the game went on the more his confidence suffered.  He is a good player but Martin should have taken him off when it was obvious today was not his day!

That said today is one of those days where it is easy to point the finger and apportion blame but we should come away from that.   As a team we made silly mistakes and pretty much everyone was off the pace today and that made it easy for Reading.  Gifted goals and silly mistakes were the key reasons for defeat and that is something we don’t do too often but today we did it in abundance and that meant nil points.   Which was what we deserved.

Thankfully now we have the end of three games in a week for a while and a week to prepare for next week’s visit to Middlesbrough.  We can only hope for better.

MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS

OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS

LATEST TABLE

NEXT UP FOR THE SWANS

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Phil Sumblerhttp://www.planetswans.co.uk
Been watching the Swans since the very late 1970s and running the Planet Swans website (in all its current and previous guises since the summer of 2001 As it stood JackArmy.net was right at the forefront of some of the activity against Tony Petty back in 2001, breaking many of the stories of the day as fans stood against the actions where the local media failed. Was involved with the Swans Supporters Trust from 2005, for the large part as Chairman before standing down in the summer of 2020.

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