Thursday 26 April 2018

Swansea rue missed opportunities

Swansea City 1 Everton 1

Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
Swansea City manager Carlos Carvalhal. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

Stuart James

Every point feels precious in the scrap for survival, yet Swansea City will lament the fact that they departed with one, not three, from a game they badly needed to win to allow them to breathe more easily in the relegation battle. A superbly-taken goal from Jordan Ayew at least enabled them to salvage something after Kyle Naughton had put through his own net just before-half time, but this felt like a missed opportunity for Carlos Carvalhal and his players.

The Welsh club edged another point clear of the drop zone but slipped two places in the table on an afternoon when they paid a high price for their profligacy in front of goal. Everton, in contrast, remain ninth and it was another of those days when their supporters made it clear that they are far from enamoured with Sam Allardyce and his tactics. The Everton manager's decision to bring on Ramiro Funes Mori for Yannick Bolasie went down particularly badly with the travelling fans, especially after they had just hit the woodwork and the game was there to be won.

Swansea had started brightly, opening Everton up with their slick passing and creating several excellent chances inside the first 30 minutes, but went behind against the run of play. Lukasz Fabianski produced two fine saves to deny Bolasie and then Idrissa Gueye from close-range, but the ball rebounded off Naughton and over the line.

Everton had twice cleared balls off the line in the space of 60 seconds earlier in the first half. Leighton Baines seemed to know little about it when Ayew's shot deflected off his heel and behind after Tom Carroll had broken away on the right. From the corner that followed Cenk Tosun nodded Federico Fernández's header off the line.

Everton seemed unable to stem the flow of white shirts and there was another reprieve in the 26th minute. Ayew's lovely first-time pass released his brother Andre through on goal but the forward's shot was tame and straight at Jordan Pickford.

Swansea had another couple of openings early in the second half. Carroll's diving header was saved by Pickford and then the Everton goalkeeper clawed Andre Ayew's attempt over the bar. Everton, however, were starting to see a bit more of the ball and Gueye, totally unmarked, wastefully headed a cross from Theo Walcott wide of the far post.

Everton's Seamus Coleman (left) and Swansea City's Tom Carroll. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Everton's Seamus Coleman (left) and Swansea City's Tom Carroll. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

With the clock ticking, Carvalhal knew that he had to roll the dice. Tammy Abraham replaced Ki sung-Yueng as Swansea desperately pressed for an equaliser. Tosun cleared another header off the line, this time from Alfie Mawson, and Swansea must have wondered what they needed to do to score. The answer came via a slice of good fortune. Carroll's mis-hit volley landed at the feet of Jordan Ayew, who took a touch before drilling an unerring shot across Pickford and into the far corner.

With the game now stretched, Everton came desperately close to regaining the lead 15 minutes from time. Tosun crossed from the right and Seamus Coleman rattled the crossbar when it appeared easier to score. Allardyce's response was to replace Bolasie with Funes Mori - presumably to try to shut up shop, yet Swansea should have scored again. Jordan Ayew's astute knockdown from Carroll's free-kick implored Abraham to score but the substitute screwed his shot over the bar from no more than eight yards.

Observer

Swansea City's Jordan Ayew (left) and Everton's Beni Baningime battle for the ball. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire
Swansea City's Jordan Ayew (left) and Everton's Beni Baningime battle for the ball. Photo: Nick Potts/PA Wire

Sunday Indo Sport

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport