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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Swansea City 1-4 Nottingham Forest – SHAMBOLIC! Swans crumble at home

Swansea City crumbled to a home defeat against Nottingham Forest and were again their own worst enemies with defensive calamaties and goalkeeping howlers high on our agenda as Steve Cooper took all three points back to the East Midlands with his team.

The Swans were certainly keen on the early Christmas gifts for their visitors as two goals in the opening five minutes of the second half effectively sealed our fate and even after Joel Piroe has given us some hope we continued to be masters of our own downfall to present Forest with two more goals.

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This is becoming a worrying habit for Russell Martin as he watched his side not just capitulate in front of their own fans but miss the gilt edged chances that they created without forcing a decent save out of the visiting keeper.

The watching Swans boss would have been at a loss to explain just why his team keeps making the same mistakes and defensively we are looking like we are capable of shipping a goal every time the opposition attack.  That was as evident in the first half as it was in the second with the only difference being that we were punished for our defensive frailties in the second half whereas we got away with them in the first forty five.

It could have been so different maybe if first Olivier Ntcham and then Joel Piroe both shot over when it looked easier to score towards the end of the first half and as we went in we should have been two goals to the good but instead were faced with a blank scoreline.

That scoreline wasn’t to stay blank for long though as the Swans opened up the second half with defensive slopiness and soon found themselves two goals behind to the delight of the always loud visiting support.

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The first came when we were unable to clear a Forest set piece and Zinckernagel and Grabban combined with the former opening the scoring with a shot inside the post.

If that was bad within two minutes they had doubled their lead when Johnson was too quick for a static Cabango and his ball across the area gave Grabban the easiest chance to make it 2-0.

The trouble with the game plan that Russell Martin likes to implement is that when it goes wrong it creates much frustration and that was certainly the case this afternoon as, even at 2-0 down, the instinct is to pass sideways and backwards and that adds to the frustration of the team.  The harsh reality here is that we have a lack of clear creativity in the side and it is increasingly obvious that Joel Piroe contains the bulk of our goal threats and it is more and more likely that Michael Obafemi is going to prove to be a bad signing for Swansea.

It was Piroe that gave us some level of optimism when his volley from the edge of the area found the back of the net through a slight deflection and we wondered if we could get something out of nothing.

Just five minutes later that optimism had disappeared when Ben Hamer spilled a tame shot from Osei-Tutu and Johnson was on hand to pick up the ball and score the visitors third.   This summed up the difference for me between the two sides – Forest were everywhere in our box when they had the chance we were largely trying to pass it neatly around the edges and often giving up the opportunity to create an attack to ensure we kept possession instead.

The game was becoming bad tempered and Johnson was doing his best to try and get first Downes and then Cabango sent off but the referee – who had made some odd decisions – saw through both and kept his card firmly in his pocket but the pathetic play acting of Johnson was surely as embarrassing for Forest to watch as it was us.

The fourth goal arrived in stoppage time when Cafu scored in stoppage time and it was probably the least they deserved on an afternoon when we were second best.

There really are no positives that can be taken from a game and a performance like this one.  Quite simply our defensive frailties are being exposed every week and our lack of composure in front of goal is alarming.  Add to that a pass and move game that has a midfield that is simply afraid to pass the ball forward and you have a team beaten three times on the bounce and whatever we are doing in between games is not working well enough to translate itself into performances on a Saturday afternoon.

This is now a real test for Russell Martin.  He has the (hopeful) benefit of a transfer window coming up in January and it is increasingly obvious as to what is needed to turn this into a side capable of competing week in week out at this level.   There is a real worry that some of the players we have are simply not up to that challenge and Martin must make decisions to either move them on or at least stop them being near the first team on such a frequent basis.

We have two away games now on the bounce before returning to home after Christmas with the visit of Luton Town.   Why does it already feel like its damage limitation in the next two?

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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