Cambridge – Fan’s Views

Saturday, 2 November 2002, 0:01
3 mins read

Only one change was made to the team that according to all reports played dreadfully against Kidderminster in the week. Reid was suspended and replaced by Phillips. In reality the team picks itself with very few options available to Brian Flynn. Even after such a mauling in the week there was a creditable away following of 200 housed in the new away stand behind the goal. In fact a fair way behind the goal, in readiness I suspect to move the pitch allowing development of the home end.

The game had only been going a minute when De Vulgt and Tudor collided resulting in a long delay enabling any latecomers to take their seats. The game restarted with Cambridge putting the Swans under pressure and for the first 20mins had almost total control, with back to the wall defending not allowing them much of a site at goal aprt from a goal line clearance from De Vulgt. Smith seemed ‘up for it’ as many crunching tackles were made. After weathering the storm the Swans did crawl their way back into the game and did enjoy a 15min period when they had the upper hand. Wood & Thomas again battled manfully but were living off scraps as most attacks were hopeful long balls from defence, without any creative moves through midfield. Cambridge again came strong towards half time, which came after 5mins of extra time, with us still in the game at 0-0.

Very much like the Carlisle game the team were very slow to start with Cambridge having 3 very close chances within the first couple of mins. By now the intermittent rain of the first half, had turned into a consistent heavy drizzle which was to last the whole of the second half. The conditions made it difficult for both teams with many players unable to keep their feet. Cambridge did adapt better and we found ourselves second to most balls. Cambridge were a much more physical side than us and many of our challenges were brushed aside. We were defending deeply and not closing their midfield down allowing them to make at least 10yards progress at every attack. Their goal came from an attack down their left resulting in a long cross field pass to the right wing, and with Howard moving out to that area the player crossed towards the penalty spot for Kitson to plant a header into the net with both Smith & Freestone losing their footing on the slippery surface. Mumford was replaced by Williams as we chased the game, but by now Cambridge had the beating of us as they mounted attack after attack. A further change saw Keaveney replace Wood and a very late change saw Murphy replace Cash. In the dying minutes surprised to be still in the game, we did manage a couple of late attacks. With one cross and one corner it was very disapointing to find that players did not throw their bodies into challenges allowing Cambridge to survive.

Player Comments

Freestone – Seemed unsure early on, but did make many important save to keep us in the game. His clearances were short of what was required.

De Vulgt – Battled but is very lightweight and was caught in the wrong position on many occasions, but to his benefit kept going.

Smith – A very strong performance winning most that came his way.

O’Leary – A battling performance with many timely tackles.

Howard – Many attacks down his side and was left unprotected. Allowed his man to cut inside on frequent occasions

Jenkins – Put in effort for the whole game, but only defensively, showed nothing going forward.

Phillips – As above

Mumford – Did have a bright 5 mins but faded badly.

Cash – Fairly anonymous did not show fight for the cause, seems only to want the ball to feet, and not go looking for it.

Thomas – Again battled, did try a couple of speculative shots out of frustration when a pass was a better option.

Wood – Like Thomas battled for everything without much success.

Subs

Williams – Never got going and on the 2 occasions he had space to run with the ball didn’t

Keaveny – Full of running but no end result

Murphy – Not on long enough to make an impression.

Having not seen the Kidderminster but read the many reports and postings, we can only guess that this was a much better effort. We chose the word effort carefully, as each player did put in the effort, but also made glaring mistakes. Apart from a couple of players returning from injury this is the team that will carry our hopes. It is very difficult to say but relegation is staring us in the face. Games are passing us by with no glimmer of changing fortunes. It is a simple game, you must want the ball more than the opposition. Until we start winning more of the 50/50 balls teams will dominate us and we will continue to chase shadows. Effort is not going to be enough, the skill level and teamwork is sadly missing.

Regards

Clive Gareth & David

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

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