The Swans slumped to a 1-0 defeat at the KC Stadium courtesy of a solitary George Boyd goal on his return to the Hull City side following a three match suspension for spitting at Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart. Despite having the lions’ share of possession, Garry Monks’ side didn’t have the cutting edge to win this one, meaning that we still need another couple of positive results to guarantee Premier League safety. We are not panicking, but the sooner the boys can steer us to safety and put this season to bed, the better.
Monks named at unchanged line-up as his Swansea side made the long journey to take on Hull City at the KC Stadium, following last weekend’s fine 3-0 win against Norwich City at the Liberty. Steve Bruce on the other hand made two changes to his team, with George Boyd and Maynor Figueroa coming in, while Steve Harper continued to deputise in the Hull City goal for the injured Allan McGregor.
The game started with both sides reverting to type. The Swans showed what they were all about with their usual fluent passing football and ball retention. Hull on the other hand were as well organised as usual, and a bit more direct, trying to get crosses into the box for strikers Shane Long and Jelavic at every opportunity.
The first chance of note fell to Long on 9 minutes. Figueroa crossed from the left and Long, who looked to be offside was given too much space by Swansea Captain Ashley Williams, forcing a fine save from goalkeeper Michel Vorm. George Boyd also kept Vorm busy with a shot from 25 yards, which the Dutchman smothered comfortably.
However, midway through the first half, the Swans ought to have been in front. First, Wayne Routledge put Jonathan De Guzman through on goal with a brilliant pass. De Guzman appeared indecisive, checking inside onto his left foot and hitting a soft shot which Hull goalkeeper Harper saved easily. Two minutes later, Wilfried Bony played in Routledge, who again showed a lack of conviction and Harper, far too comfortably saved again.
On 38 minutes, the home side took the lead. The ball was played optimistically into the area from the right flank. Despite two Swans defenders and goalkeeper Michel Vorm being in the box, winger George Boyd rose above Angel Rangel to head home. Between them, Vorm and Rangel really should have done better as they made it far too easy for Boyd to rise and score.
With the Swans 1-0 down at half time, Monks, dressed in his now trade mark sleeveless jacket from the club shop decided to take decisive action, replacing Jonathan De Guzman with the more direct Nathan Dyer. Dyer was straight into the thick of it, playing 2 excellent crosses into the box to no avail, before switching wings with Wayne Routledge.
Five minutes into the second half, Leon Britton won a free kick on the edge of the Hull penalty area, after a foul by Meyler. With De Guzman no longer on the field, Jonjo Shelvey clearly fancied his chances, but he failed to take advantage, hitting a poor free kick into the wall.
It was now all Swansea, however despite having plenty of the ball, we struggled to break down the home defence, well marshalled by the excellent Curtis Davies. Wayne Routledge, following on from his fine performance last weekend, continued to be busy. Jonjo Shelvey had a couple of changes, the first a left foot shot after good hold up play by Bony and the second a poor right foot shot over the bar.
On 70 minutes, Wayne Routledge played in substitute Nathan Dyer who screwed the ball wide of Harper’s right hand post. Then, 7 minutes later Pablo Hernandez, on in place of fellow countryman Michu also shot wide, having created time and space for himself.
Hull Manager Big Steve Bruce continued to encourage his side from the touchline. He might look like he drinks 10 pints and smokes 20 fags a night, but in fairness, Bruce knows his football and ensured his team kept closing the Swans down for the remainder of the game.
Monks played his final roll of the dice with 8 minutes to play when striker Leroy Lita came off the bench for Leon Britton. Chico Flores, sporting his new 80’s porn star haircut and wearing more hairspray that a supermodel started to gamble and drifted forward. However, as the minutes slipped away, although the Swans had more of the ball, they never looked like grabbing an equaliser and the game ended 1-0 to Hull City.
In summary, in a poor game for the neutral, we were not good enough to come away with any points today and I think we could have kept playing all weekend but still have failed to score.
Hull is never the easiest place to go and Steve Bruce has done a great job this season, however disappointingly it was poor defending again that was our undoing. I’m not an expert, but it is clearly an area that needs attention in the close season. Shane Long and Nikica Jelavic are decent strikers but neither did a great deal today and against a better side we could have come unstuck.
It’s moneybags Chelski next at the Liberty next week, not an easy one but surely it’s a game that will motivate the players. Come on, let’s get that all important win.
The teams and player marks (out of 10):
Swansea City: Vorm 5, Rangel 5, Davies 6, Chico 6, Williams (Captain) 6, Britton 7 (Lita), Shelvey 7, De Guzman 5 (Dyer 6), Michu 5 (Hernandez 5), Routledge 7, Bony 6. Unused substitutes: Tremmel, Amat, Taylor, Canas.
Swans’ man of the match: Leon Britton. Nobody stood out today I’m afraid, but I’m giving it to the wee man, who as usual always has a go.
Hull City: Harper 7, Rosenior 6, Figueroa 6 (Koren 5), Livermore 6, Chester 7, Davies 8, Elmomahady 7, Meyler 6, Jelavic 5 (Sagbo NA), Long 6 (Aluko 5), Boyd 8. Unused substitutes: Bruce, Fryatt, Jakupovic, Quinn.
Hull City man of the match: George Boyd. The Hull City tannoy announced George Boyd as their man of the match and I have to agree with the decision. He didn’t spit at anybody either!
Scorers: George Boyd
Possession stats: Swansea 57% Hull City 43%.
The match referee: Howard Webb 6. With an ego the size of a house, you know what you are going to get with Webb. He loves that whistle and isn’t afraid to use it. He didn’t dispel his reputation today.