Report - Stoke City 2-1 Swansea City
19th October 2014
Swansea City`s winless run stretches to five after a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Stoke City as Monk`s side let a 1-0 lead slip following a controversial penalty decision and a headed winner from Walters.
After the second 2-week international break of the season, Garry Monk welcomed back Angel Rangel following his one-match ban, while Jonjo Shelvey served his after picking up five bookings. Spurs loanee Tom Carroll joined Ki Sung Yueng in midfield, while Jefferson Montero still waits for his first League start.
Stoke City had only scored one goal at home in the League before today, in their only home win of the season - beating Newcastle United thanks to a headed goal from Crouch. He wasn`t on the scoresheet today, despite having an excellent record against the Swans, but he didn`t need to be as the referee gave the hosts a gifted chance to equalise.
The Swans missed two superb chances to go in front early on as Sigurdsson was involved in everything that was good from the visiting team. He rounded the goalkeeper but couldn`t find the net before the ball went out of play, and then created a chance but Ki`s shot was saved by the legs of Begovic.
You wondered if the Swans would later be punished for a lack of a clinical edge, but thankfully, the referee, correctly, waved to the penalty spot as Sigurdsson waited to curl in a corner from the right hand side. Shawcross wrestled Bony to the ground, swivelling him around with both arms and the referee, standing just yards away, had little option but to award the spot kick. Bony calmly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put Swansea 1-0 in front.
The lead should have lasted until half time at the very least, as the hosts didn`t create a great deal of clear cut chances. They got forward on quite a few occasions but Swansea`s defence remained solid and were able to block or intercept the opposition at the vital time.
The controversy came just a couple of minutes before the half time whistle. Moses cut inside from the left and went on a decent run towards the penalty box. Rangel struggles to deal with his pace but made very little contact as the attacker fell to the floor with ease.
A dive it most certainly was, it appeared, as the contact was very minimal to say the least, certainly nowhere near enough to send Moses to the ground in the way he did.
Charlie Adam stepped up and powered a low drive right into the bottom corner, Fabianski wasn`t far away but he was never going to get down quick enough to keep it out.
The penalty changed the game completely. Rather than going in at half time feeling pleased with themselves and in front, they walked off in frustration, they were back level because of a dive that the referee bought. There were questions being asked and it must have been a very different dressing room after losing a lead in the circumstances just moments before the break.
Swansea City dominated long spells of the first half, with some good quick, one touch passing and movement, but it wasn`t to be seen in the second 45 minutes.
Stoke City nullified all of the threat that the Swans possessed. The wingers couldn`t inspire anything going forward, Sigurdsson faded out of the game and Bony`s usually reliable hold-up play was letting him down.
Therefore, forward passes up to the lone striker often meant possession was conceded, which allowed Stoke to quickly counter attack straight through the middle.
The Swans missed Shelvey. Ki was excellent throughout but he didn`t support alongside, as Carroll, whilst decent in possession, couldn`t offer any ball winning qualities which was desperately needed at a place like Stoke.
Monk`s side had no idea how to switch the game into their favour. The defence were under pressure due to a lack of support in front of them and Hughes` side were able to constantly get balls into the box.
Midway through the half, you wondered if Swansea are already beginning to be "found out". Again, it`s yet another case of the Swans losing their hold of a game in the second period. The team are struggling to perform for 90 minutes, and when the going gets tough, they`re void of ideas.
Ki had our best chance as Begovic did well to deny his shot from about 10 yards, but other than that, it`s hard to recall if he had anything else to do.
After being accused of not using his subs early enough against Newcastle a fortnight ago, Monk went for the juggler today and made a double change after 65 minutes. Montero and Gomis came on for Dyer and Sigurdsson but it made little impact.
11 minutes later and Stoke found their winner. A decent cross from the left found substitute Walters. He was unmarked and had plenty of space to head home into the top corner. Fabianski`s attempted dive for the ball was so delayed that Walters was off celebrating before the goalkeeper had finished his efforts to try and keep it out. Meanwhile, Taylor was on the floor as he failed miserably to make up the 2 yards at least, that he distanced himself from the goalscorer.
14 minutes to try and get an equaliser just didn`t seem long enough, by a long way. The Swans aren`t exactly the type of side to constantly put the ball into the box - which actually may result in a goal, or a save, or even winning a corner.
Instead, the ball was being played about too much in the middle third and towards the edge of the final third. Bony continued to lose possession far too often and the ball just didn`t stick anywhere for long enough. Stoke could then break forward again, and in all honestly, their 3 points looked all but guaranteed as soon as their second goal hit the net.