It’s such a shame when you look forward to Saturday afternoon all week and a game is then ruined by incompetence – and arguably pure negligence – after just 30 minutes.
The refereeing display by Bobby Madley, the referee who has in the past had some shockers for both sides, was quite simply appalling and he surely shouldn’t be allowed to referee in SA1 ever again.
Swansea started slowly but card happy Madley made his intentions clear from the very first minute with Patino receiving a caution for an innocuous challenge before 10 minutes on the clock.
Indeed the state on his second yellow card was quite simply a shocker with replays showing there was little or no contact on Black Cats midfielder Pierre Ekwah.
This is the same man who blew up after just twenty seconds of a minute’s silence for remembrance day before kick off. It was all in all a horror show.
The positive is that Michael Duff’s men stood strong, forming a defensive wall in front of Carl Rushworth’s goal to take away a point from a fixture that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, much like the 3-3 draw against Stoke in the Premier League days.
Duff kept the same eleven that started and won at Blackburn last weekend with injuries still a big issue as Kukharevych, Key, Wood, Allen and Ginnelly all sit out for some time longer.
Ashby – Darling – Humphreys – Tymon
Paterson – Grimes – Patino
Cullen – Yates – Lowe
It was an inauspicious start by the home team allowing Sunderland to dictate and whilst you could see they were a good side with pace on the winger, you never felt they were as able of cutting through as Leicester for example.
There were a couple of early opportunities with Ekwah firing over and Roberts finding too much space hugging the right touchline; Tymon not really getting close enough to the number 10 who always looking to cut in on his left foot.
The first laughable moment came as Patino was shown yellow for the type of challenge that usually results in a quiet word from the man in the middle. Not when you’re dealing with this egotistical creature from Yorkshire.
So the stall was set out at that point and of course Sunderland striker Rusyn was next into the book (and probably rightly so) for blocking a quickly taken free kick after just 20 minutes.
But a very similar challenge by Sunderland left back Niall Huggins to the one that saw Patino sanctioned went without a yellow, demonstrating major inconsistency before anger and frustration from the stands threatened to boil over.
Patino challenged Ekwah to win the ball in midfield and a coming together resulted in the latter rolling around on the ground, it looked at the time a 50/50 and replays show it was a shocker as the second yellow card came out.
From then on it was a case of attack vs defence and losing a man midway through the first half usually means a defeat but not with this stubborn Swans team. It might have been lacking creativity and possession early on but you can’t fault the spirit.
Somehow Swansea had the chance to go into the break 1 up, Luke O’Nien the culprit as he pulled down Cullen from a corner kick and a penalty was awarded. As Lowe stepped up I’m sure I wasn’t the only one lacking confidence as his slow and stuttering walk to the spot ended with a poor kick that Patterson palmed away.
Jack Clarke hit the bar with a free kick deep into stoppage time before the interval as fans were able to breath for quarter of an hour after a strange but breathless first half..
Jay Fulton was introduced at half time for Cullen in order to shore up the team and that’s what he did although earning a yellow card for a ball won in midfield as the Swans swarmed on the counter could have been the worst decision of the day.
The decisions made yesterday still make you shake your head the morning after.
Bar a Lowe effort that Paterson held as Yates lurked, there wasn’t really too much to talk about in an attacking sense for the Swans in the second half as the side ground in for a point.
Numerous opportunities came and went for Tony Mowbray’s men who brought on a host of attackers in an attempt to win the game but simply couldn’t get through a whole hearted Swans defence.
Cabango came on as did Cooper to provide an outfall as Rushworth made a couple of impressive saves as Duff’s men fought for the draw.
And ultimately that’s what they got after a hard second half of attack vs defence. This wasn’t a vintage performance before the red card but there was serious heart and spirit shown to keep a clean sheet thereafter and the reaction from the fans at the end said it all.
Onto the tough prospect of Ipswich away next weekend in this run of tough games that doesn’t seem to be getting any easier…
MATCH FACTS AND LINE UPS
OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP RESULTS
NEXT UP FOR THE SWANS