A bright and sunny Saturday, early afternoon kick-off and an early Liam Cullen goal. Things looked good at 12:50 yesterday as the Swans led against Bristol City.
What happened from there on at least on the football front was nothing short of a disaster with a 2-1 win for the visitors really flattering the Swans in a game where it probably should have been four or five to Bristol City.
How the Robins carved open the Swans team time after time is puzzling but probably the biggest concern despite Matt Grimes the captain and experience in Kyle Naughton on the field, there was absolutely no leadership.
It’s in these situations that your leaders stand up and take control of the game but we saw none of that as a siege on the Swans goal took place.
Make no mistake, Bristol City are not a great side. They are an average Championship side with a bit of pace out wide and we made them look very good.
Duff made two changes from the side that lost at Preston a week ago with Kyle Naughton and Ollie Cooper coming in for Harry Darling and Jay Fulton.
Naughton – Cabango – Wood
Ashby – Cooper – Grimes – Patino – Key
Cullen – Yates
It would take too long to list the number of chances and who had them for the visitors so let’s start with the only positive of the day after what was a reasonable opening fifteen minutes.
Within the first 10 minutes had Liam Cullen not decided to take a touch onto his left foot he’d have had an easy finish after some good high pressing from the Swans.
Then just moments later Patino fed Cullen with a through ball and the striker coolly finished past Max O’Leary – all looked good.
But Bristol City came back with aplomb and three offside goals tells you a story of what seemed to be a very poor referee leading to half time chants from the away end towards the officials.
Sam Bell was causing all sorts of problems down the Swans right side and the player regularly made a mockery of the high reputation that Harrison Ashby arrived with from Newcastle.
Before half time I count four clear goalscoring opportunities, nonemoreso than when Bell crossed the ball in and first Grimes cleared off the line before further last ditch blocks as the Robins turned the screw.
There was a collective sigh of relief around the stadium as half time came in the hope that it couldn’t be that bad in the second half? Duff changed Ashby for Ginnelly as the five at the back was binned for a four.
And ironically the Swans did look more in control – as the possession stats at least yell- but this was their undoing as the away team scored twice.
In a quick counter attack Mark Sykes was sent through down the right, sidefooted Nathan Wood (how did we reject any sort of bid?) and stroked left footed past Rushworth. Easy peasy.
Whilst the Swans had slightly more control it was pedestrian football with the only avenue chosen for attack being the left side where Ginnelly had been brought on. It worked for ten minutes before he was double marked – something that all sides seem to do except us?
It was quickly 2-1 to the visitors aa Sykes again tormented down the right side against non existent defending delivering the perfect ball to the far post for Bell to finish.
Duff made his five substitutions before 70 minutes with Kukharevych, Allen, Darling (for his aerial prowess?) and Paterson brought on to try and turn things around.
The only bright spark thereafter was a Cabango header which struck the inside of the post but the urgency wasn’t there and neither were many of the fans by full time.
Over 40 shots conceded in two home games (including the Carabao Cup) tells a story and not a very good one. The team is porous, disjointed and looking far away from a side that can get a win at this level.
The one win against a reserve Northampton team in the Cup is where we are and the only hope can be tha the four deadline day arrivals make a significant impact. Because that was terrible.
And luckily Duff knows that too.
MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
NEXT UP FOR THE SWANS