It’s taken a while to be able to put together a reasonably balanced account of what happened in yesterday’s game at Reading. A point on the road should always be a reasonable result but this was anything but. This was a second half collapse.
Football really is a funny old game, you can go from joy at a 4-1 scoreline to utter dejection in the fifth minute of injury time when the opposition score an equaliser to change the result.
What’s worse is that Reading seem to have done an undeserved number on us twice this season – first back at home in November and now today but these are the lessons you need to learn in football if you want to be successful.
That last twenty five minutes is likely to haunt the team over the coming weeks – or at least it should – and whilst it continues an unbeaten run now extended to seven games, it should never have been just a point.
Goals from Joel Piroe (2), Michael Obafemi and Hannes Wolf seemed to set the Swans on course for a win with four away goals for the second time in two years at Reading but the game was turned on its head with three unanswered goals in the final quarter.
Lucas Joao opened the scoring from the penalty spot before the Swans responded with four until the late show which saw Tom Ince, Joao’s second and Tom McIntyre steal a point from the jaws of defeats.
Despite talk of numerous changes Russell Martin made just one with Flynn Downes back in the eleven in place of Jay Fulton with the rest the same from the 1-1 draw with Barnsley on Friday.
Latibeaudiere – Naughton – Cabango
Christie – Downes – Grimes – Wolf
Piroe – Obafemi – Paterson
It was a rather good display until the 65 minute point but the mentality was all wrong when 4-1 up and surely looking to just see out the game.
Defensively it was poor and whilst not entirely his fault, questions do need to be asked of Andy Fisher as he was again less than convincing in a goal that was penetrated three times in the last twenty five minutes.
An early penalty which looked rather dubious was awarded very early on when Piroe was adjudged to have fouled Josh Laurent. The penalty was then quickly converted by Joao for 1-0 and it looked to be a difficult afternoon.
The response was fantastic when Flynn Downes strolled forward on his return and played a pinpoint pass for the in form Wolf who curled a delightful strike towards the top corner and parity was restored. Could the Swans comeback to win?
It looked that way as Piroe bounced back from conceding the spot kick to again curl home just like Wolf did past the stranded goalkeeper for an excellent second goal and the away fans went wild.
Martin’s team at this point were truly dominant and Reading were chasing shadows although they did hit the woodwork through ex Cardiff man Junior Hoilett before he clumsily barged over Obafemi in the box.
In stoppage time in the 42nd game of the season, Swansea had their first penalty of the campaign which Piroe managed to sneak past the goalkeeper and out of nowhere, the team were leading 3-1 at half time. Surely a killer blow for the Royals?
No changes at half time and the Swans soaked up a little Reading pressure before Piroe turned provider on the hour mark for Obafemi who continued his fine form and struck home for 4-1.
Some home fans saw that as the time to leave and therefore wouldn’t have witnessed the carnage that took place thereafter – shame for them…
One time (or surely more it seems) target Tom Ince pulled another back for his dad’s team on 65 minutes volleying home a quality cross from Hoilett and suddenly the lead looked slightly precarious even with a two goal advantage.
But the jekyll and hyde nature of performances continued as Reading pushed and grabbed a third, again Joao hitting home after a defensive mess at the back.
Martin responded by making changes, three over the space of 20 minutes as Downes made way for Fulton, Piroe for Manning and Paterson for Ntcham. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but perhaps they were the wrong decisions to make at those points…
Obafemi and Wolf should have made it 5-3 in an incredible last 5 minutes plus stoppage time with substitute Ntcham also agonisingly hitting the post in stoppage time.
And in typical Swansea style Joao again proved a menace as his knock down was headed home in the 5th minute of 5 added on by Reading local boy Tom McIntyre for a soul destroying finale for the strong away following.
It’s all rather academic as the Swans were never really going to make the top six after the draw against Barnsley although those missed four points would have positioned the Swans with the chance to get into the play-offs if they won their game in hand.
Lots of work for Martin to do in the summer. As said earlier, a point on the road should never be sniffed at unless you’re three goals ahead and fail to win. Then a point is pretty poor.
And this was.
MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
NEXT UP FOR THE SWANS