Swansea 3 Southend 2

Friday, 15 February 2002, 0:01
4 mins read

Addison made one change to his now familiar 3-5-2 formation with Watkin coming in for the injured Jenkins. Phillips moved from midfield to right wing back with Brodie occupying his midfield place.

Freestone

Phillips Mumford Todd Sharp Howard

Coates Cusack Brodie

Sidibe Williams

The match was only a minute old when Swansea took the lead. A corner from the left by Coates was played short to Watkin who fed the ball back to Mumford in the left wing position. A poor cross by his standards resulted in a high looped effort falling nicely for keeper Flahavan on his far post, but challenged by Sharp, he let go of the ball. Todd was first to react to the loose ball and doubled his tally for the season with a firm shot into an empty net.

While we all waited for the inevitable free kick award for their keeper, Todd celebrated his second goal in 2 games and the Swans really were one up after just a minute.

However, the euphoria was short lived, for within 5 minutes Southend were level in very similar circumstances. A corner from the right was poorly punched by Freestone and not cleared from the area. The ball was then delivered back centrally in the box and Cort imitating Todd, made the score level.

Swans then had a good spell of pressure in which Phillips brought an acrobatic tip over from Flahavan which was shortly followed by some Sidibe magic at the edge of the box in which he beat 2 players at the edge of the box with a clever juggle and dribble.

The game settled into a boring mid-table midfied encounter for a period but it burst into life on the half hour mark. Cusack was bundled to the ground yards outside the box for which a free kick was rightly awarded. Up stepped Coates and Mumford. Coates ran at the ball from the left and did the obligatory step over (essential on any Swansea free kick for the past 5 years), while Mumford approached it from the right to hit a sweet shot over the wall and beat the diving keeper – but instead of dipping into the net, the ball hit the crossbar near the right angle and rebounded into the 6 yard box area. Who was first to react and smash the ball home? CHRIS TODD again – 3 goals in 2 games!

The remainder of the half flew by and Swansea went in deservedly 2-1 up.

The second half was rather forgetable as Swansea seemed content to settle for a 2-1 win, but the game busrt into life again on 75 minutes. A through ball along the ground by Cusack saw Sidibe gather with 2 men to beat. Dipping his shoulder, he easily left one for dead but his run from left to right across the Southend area was tracked by Whelan. With surprisng agility for such a big man, Sidible stopped dead with the ball at his feet and changed direction by 180 degrees. This just gave him the edge to lose his marker and slot a right footed shot along the ground from 15 yards out to sneak inside Flahavan’s right hand post.

Worryingly, Sidibe had turned on his ankle in this manoeuvre and gingerly made his way back to the center circle. Instead of making the substitution there and then, Addison dallied (becoming a trait?) and Sidibe aggravated the problem further when he slipped awkwardly in the box minutes later. Eventually Lacey replaced him and the fact that Sidibe didn’t go straight down the tunnel is encouraging news.

Williams also replaced Watkin with quarter of an hour to go.

No sooner had Sidibe gone off, than Southend equalised. Again the simplicity of the chance should cause alarm bells to ring in the mind of the person coaching the defence. A simple ball played to the outside of the line of the back 3 was easily collected by Whelan who was straight through on Roger. With a careful aim he reduced the deficit with still 5 minutes left.

Despite the 3 minutes of added time. Swansea were under little pressure and the crowd celebrated a well deserved 3 points.

7 points from a possible 9 is promotion form, but we have one big problem that needs addressing. The back 3 are all individually playing well, but paradoxically as a unit, they are quite poor in patches in most games. There is no depth to this unit when defending and once an attacker is past one of them, he is past all of them. Basic coaching would suggest that some sort of covering around is needed whenever the ball is at the extremity of this line – to date, this hasn’t happened. Perhaps we should be deploying Cusack in the ‘reverse sweeper’ role in front of the back line again?

Players ratings: Freestone 5 – a poor game by his standards, looked very shaky dealing with corners and was deservedly booked for time wasting Phillips 7 -acquitted himself well if unspectacularly Todd 8 – mainly for his goalscoring. To quote a Hollinism, “If it wasn’t for Chris we’d have lost 2-1!” Mumford 8 – excellent – but see my proviso above about the 3 centre backs Sharp 7 – some good tackling and heading as usual Howard 6 – reasonable game Coates 7 – good defensively tonight as well as being involved in starting forward moves Cusack 7 – reasonable game but whingeing too much whenever fouled Brodie 5 – can’t see what he brings to the party – had one shot all game Sidibe 8 – getting back to his best now he has some games under his belt Watkin 7 – good solid performance in which he took a lot of punishment from a robust marker

Williams 6 – had a few runs – but came to nothing Lacey – only on 5 minutes

Safety is guranteed in my opinion – also in my opinion we have no hope of anything other than mid table while we continue to leak goals.

Well done to the players and management on 7 points from the last 9 – after just 1 from previous 18 – shows character.

Images courtesy of Getty Images, Athena Picture Agency and Swansea City Football Club.
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