July 26, 2015 by notjustpumpkinbread
With an attendance of 4,285 it’s pretty easy to hear what’s going on on the pitch. For me, that’s a good thing, as we were once again treated to the dulcet tones of Dorus De Vries barking at his back four and anyone else in the vicinity. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Karl Darlow and was disappointed when he joined Newcastle. But if there were a couple of things he lacked it was (sometimes) poor distribution and very little communication with those in front of him. I like to see a goalkeeper commanding his box and Dorus fits the bill. He also made a couple of sharp saves during the game and was quite happy to collect the ball when the need arose.
As for the rest of The Mighty Reds, well it was an encouraging performance against Premier League opposition. Coming off an exceptional season Swansea looked comfortable on the ball and were a good test. During the first half I saw us initially set up with a 4-1-4-1 formation with Mancienne in the holding role, but we switched to 4-1-3-2 (albeit briefly) and 4-3-3 at times. Antonio looked like he may well be picking up where he left off in May and Ward was a handful at times. Tesche was given the role we saw Gary Gardner utilise in the latter stages of last season – picking up the loose ball and making himself available while also, on occasions, marauding into the box as an additional option. All good stuff.
Maynard put himself about once again and held the ball up well. He’s still lacking that final sharpness but as I’ve said before, I think he’ll be a good signing if we are able to commit. Reading numerous posts and articles over the past week, it seems we have two spots available in the squad and they looked like being filled by Messrs. Maynard and Taylor. Clearly that’s not the case now as we welcome Ben Hamer to the City Ground. The Leicester shot-stopper has been signed on a season long loan to give Dorus some competition for the starting eleven. I would assume this means Dimi Evtimov will be loaned out again – hopefully at a higher level – to gain some more experience. We’ll have to wait and see.
So two into one doesn’t go at the moment. Which is a conundrum as both Maynard and Taylor look like good options. I know neither of them are pulling up trees in the goal scoring department but with FFP embargos we have to cut our cloth accordingly. Abdoun and Magic are clearing unwanted, but there’s no news on them leaving any time soon.
Anyway, I digress. Back to the game. It was interesting to hear some chunderers around and about my position in the main stand bemoaning Danny Fox – the poor bloke can’t really catch a break. I’ll put it out there that I liked Dan Harding and I like Danny Fox. He’s no Stuart Pearce or even for that matter Chris Cohen, but he is a left back and we need one. I thought he had a fairly good game and did have a chuckle to myself when, after playing a sumptuous ball over the top for Antonio to run onto, the aforementioned chunderers found themselves choking up a few complimentary words.
As for the goals, well Swansea created a bit of panic in the box and no-one in red was able to get a boot on it. It fell nicely for Andre Ayew to let loose and score his first for Swansea on 60 minutes. Eight minutes later Ward swung in a lovely ball from the right which looked for all the world like it was going to meet Maynard and find the back of the net. It would have been just reward for all his efforts so far this pre-season. Unfortunately for Maynard it wasn’t to be but up popped Tesche on another of his excursions into the box to head it past Fabianski.
Various substitutions ensued as the second half progressed with Walker, Taylor and C. Burke on for Maynard, Antonio and Ward, as well as Vaughn coming on as a late replacement for Tesche. All who trotted out in the Garibaldi were worth their place on the pitch and it looks like Mr. Dougie is assembling a solid squad that will compete. I’m looking forward to the season more and more. I’ve seen us play twice now and am encouraged by the performances so far. Hopefully that will continue into our last pre-season fixture against Aston Villa next Saturday. COME ON YOU REDS!!!