The ACN Match Review – Swansea (h)


While our path ahead is still unclear, the brighter moments haven’t yet sparked the momentum we need. Ffion Thomas watches and waits.

The line-up

Fassnacht starting allowed Sara to play centrally, which worked very nicely for the hour or so he was there. Barnes’ injury is a worrying one given there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of confidence in the striker we signed in January, apart from his ability to sit on the bench and/or warm up behind the touchline.

The atmosphere

A bit better than last week, but still pretty subdued and with very little of that end of season promotion push feeling, for which I’m mostly blaming the weather – it was cold and miserable. When walking to football at the end of April I should not be regretting not wearing my winter coat and wishing I’d brought a bobble hat.

Hurrah moment

One-nil down and needing a spark from somewhere, Gabriel Sara picks the ball up, runs into space and rockets a 25-yarder past the keeper. It wasn’t anywhere near as far out, but as it pinged in off the bar at the River End on this April day it had more than a touch of Youssef Safri about it.

Boooo moment

Hoicking up the goalnets as soon as the final whistle went and not giving the numerous kids on the pitch for the “lap of appreciation” any footballs to kick around until they’d finished doing most of the parading. Half the fun of these things is watching professional footballers attempting to persuade their tiny children to kick the ball into the goal, rather than running away from it. Must do better next year. 

Hero of the match

Gabriel Sara bounced back from coming second in the Barry Butler with one of the best individual performances of the season. As well as the goal and assist that he added to his substantial numbers so far, the moment in the first half where he twisted and turned two defenders inside out down the left before playing the ball across the edge of the six-yard box should have been another. What a bloody plaaaaaaar, we’ll miss him when he’s gone.

Our post-match takeaway

Frustrating not to get the win that would have made it all mathematical with a game to spare. The second-half substitutions lost us our intensity and things faded out a bit in the last 20 minutes, which doesn’t bode well. But much like Bristol City, Swansea were tidy opponents (Jamie Paterson stood out) and a draw was probably fair, with both sides having chances to win it.

Despite being turfed off a train by Greater Anglia along with several hundred other people in the rain at Colchester, I got home in time to watch the second half of Hull v Ipswich. This was certainly an entertaining end to the day and probably about as good a result as we could have hoped for, taking all important matters into consideration. 

But even with our healthy goal difference we should be going all out for the win at St Andrew’s next week anyway, for a number of reasons: 1) The power of momentum and improving our quite bad away record. 2) A semi-final opponent who may be in worse form than the other likely semi-final opponents who are also in bad form. 3) The opportunity to send Birmingham City down in an act of petty revenge for 2002. All good reasons.


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