There are away games, there are good away games and then there are away games that go better than you probably could have imagined and that was the kind of afternoon the Swans had today as three first half goals gave them a well deserved and comprehensive victory at Middlesbrough.
More than 100 days since our last outing (a 0-0 draw at home to West Brom) Steve Cooper must have dreamt about a start like this. We could (and possibly should) have already been at least a goal up by the time Rhian Brewster scored the first goal with just 18 minutes on the clock.
The goal came after a superb run from Andre Ayew who seemingly had the freedom of the Riverside before squaring the ball for Brewster to slot home through the keepers legs.
If that was a good start it was soon to get better for both the Swans and the on-loan striker as he doubled the advantage just three minutes later. This time it was service from the other side of the pitch as he volleyed home a cross from Kalulu to make it two. Both players involved in this particular move had hit the post by this stage as the Swans were in complete control over a side that looked like the relegation threatened team that they really are.
As a contest the game was just about over just after the half hour mark as Ayew scored a penalty to make it three after Connor Gallagher was tripped in the box and the three points were on their way back to South Wales to keep our promotion hopes very much alive.
It could have been slightly different in the second half had the referee viewed Kalulu’s challenge on the half time mark as a red card offence but thankfully just a yellow ensued and the Swans were free to continue in the second period with our maximum entitlement.
And whilst the second half maybe never lived up to the high level performance of the first in terms of chances, there was very little for Freddie Woodman to do in our goal as the hosts battled hard but never looked like breaking their duck. Indeed, it was George Byers who came the closest to adding to the scoring when he hit the post towards the end of the game – the last meaningful chance of an afternoon in which the Swans impressed all those watching from the comfort of their own armchairs.
“It is not nice to see that kind of performance and it wasn’t good enough.
“There were no signs on the training ground of that performance coming. It isn’t good enough, it is concerning and now we’ve got a week to put it right.” – Jonathan Woodgate
“To win 3-0 away from home is a fantastic result at anytime in the season, never mind after however many months without playing.
“We deserved the clean sheet and could have scored a fourth as well. – Steve Cooper
The Swans are back in action next Saturday (12.30pm) when bottom of the table Luton visit the Liberty Stadium