Swansea City’s season came to an abrupt end this evening as they were comfortably beaten at Brentford to exit the play-offs at the semi final stage despite being thrown a late lifeline through Rhian Brewster’s goal.
Brewster’s sublime chip of the keeper after some hesitation in the Brentford defence bought us back into a game that we had barely competed in having never recovered from the loss of our one goal advantage by conceding two within the first twenty minutes.
At the time Brewster scored, Brentford were in total control of the tie allowing the Swans to have plenty of possession knowing that we were doing very little to threaten their goal on a night when our ability to conceded soft goals was so evident.
One of the things that Steve Cooper would have told his side prior to kick off would have been to keep it tight at the back in the early stages knowing that Brentford were likely to try and come at us quickly. It therefore feels like a moment of failure when the opening goal for the home side came from a Swansea corner and a quick break that saw Ollie Watkins set free through the middle and he finished with the ease you would expect of a striker with 25 league goals to his name this season already.
There were 11 minutes on the clock at that point and just 4 minutes later the Swans found themselves behind on aggregate when Emiliano flicked a header past a stationary Mulder. The Swans were reeling and needed something to calm their nerves soon or this tie was likely to be over by half time.
Conor Gallagher could – and possibly should – have pulled one back when he was put in by Bidwell but he saw his shot saved by Raya and it could have got worse for the Swans and would have done if Benrhama’s shot had crept in off the post instead of across goal.
It was proving to be one of those nights for the Swans with the midfield very much lacking for most of the first half and Brentford in complete control of the tie.
Steve Cooper made a double sub at half time bringing on Cabango and Dhanda but when you make a change you hope works for you despair will hit when you find yourselves further behind within two minutes of the restart as Mbuemo finished well from a cross from Brentford’s left.
Simply put for large periods of the game the Swans were just not at the races and it took the gift from Jansson to give us any level of hope which at least added some interest to the last twenty minutes although it was fair to say that at no point did we threaten the aggregate equalising goal that we so desperately needed and it was Benrhama who came the closest to adding to the goal tally on the night with two sharp chances almost taken.
When we look back on this season then it will be a case of a few ifs, buts and maybes and all so often it was the hope that killed us. One week ago we came into the play offs on the most incredible night of action but tonight there was to be no more miracle and yes it was yet again the hope that killed us.
And it is probably fair to say that over the two legs, the best side overall went through to the final and for us we go away and will start all over again in just over six weeks.