What is it with the Swans and international breaks as we returned from yet another one with a first defeat of the season, this time beaten by Huddersfield at the Liberty.
Remember last season when we went into an international break off the back of 16 points from 18 and top of the league before gradually falling away as the season went on? This time we went in with 10 points from 12 and have come back with a defeat.
In fairness this wasn’t a bad performance at times but it was also a performance where we never capitalised on the chances that we created and certainly never made the most of a very shaky Terriers defence in the first half.
With Kyle Naughton in for the departed Joe Rodon and Viktor Gyokeres in for the injured Morgan Gibbs-White it was changes forced on Steve Cooper this afternoon rather than those of his voluntary making. After a productive day yesterday that saw the Swans boss bring in four new signings on the last day of the transfer window he would certainly have gone into today in a buoyant mood. He would also not have been surprised as us to hear of the injury to Gibbs-White and the change that was necessary as a result.
The Swans started brightly with some sharp passing in the early minutes and it looked at this stage as if our good pre-break form was to be continued as we pressed the visitors high and often pressured them into a mistake from which maybe we should have capitalised.
However, we found ourselves a goal down for the first time in the league this season when Naughton appeared to lose his man in the penalty area and he was able to deflect a shot past the helpless Woodman as a result.
We weren’t behind for long though when Hamer bought down Korey Smith in the penalty area to earn us a spot kick – a spot kick put away by Ayew with the style we have become accustomed. It was the perfect response from the Swans and should have been a confidence booster following the blow of conceding a goal.
That was the action from the first half but – as we see too often – the away side came out brighter at the start of the second half and should have been ahead early in the second period. As one shot came back off the post we could have been counting our blessings but it wasn’t long before the visitors missed a glorious chance and shot wide when it looked easier to score.
That surely had to be a signal that this was to be the Swans afternoon didn’t it? Well you would have hoped so but it was our turn to miss the glorious chances of the afternoon when Andre Ayew headed inexplicably wide when presented with a free header from a Grimes free kick. The face of the attacker said it all and he knew he should have had his second of the afternoon.
Jamal Lowe was the next guilty party as he raced through the Huddersfield defence and despite seeing his first shot well saved he somehow managed to hit the rebound way wide of the post.
The Swans introduced new signing Casey Palmer for Gyokeres and he had a chance of his own which went wide from a free kick but by this point the Swans were behind again. The Swans defence had sat back with Huddersfield in possession on the edge of the box and a low shot found the bottom corner to restore the visitors lead.
Cooper looked to make more changes with ten minutes to go when he introduced Garrick and Cullen in place of Lowe and Naughton in an attempt to get his side back into the game but by this point Huddersfield were sitting deeper and we were lacking the imagination to create the chances needed. Palmer was busy in midfield and missed his own glorious chance in the last two minutes as he fired wide when very well placed and at this point the Swans last hope appeared to have evaporated despite a late flurry of corners all of which seemed to create worry in the Huddersfield defence without actually creating a clear chance.
The one thing we can take from this is that games right now are coming thick and fast and we have a chance of putting things back on track away at Coventry on Tuesday night before heading off to the leaders Bristol City next Saturday.