In stark contrast to recent seasons (Roger Johnson, Glenn Loovens, Kevin McNaughton and co) – our defence has looked the weak spot in a decent team unit. Previously we had build our performances on a solid defence yet this year Hudson and Gerrard are yet to convince while Gyepes (bench) and McNaughton (injury) are yet to force their way in.
Unfortunately, this was the case on Saturday and each of the defenders will have cause for concern after shipping three very shoddy goals. For the smallest player on the pitch to score a header is disappointing at best so David Marshall who slipped and was out of position to stop the tame headed effort must take some blame. Additionally, teenager Adam Matthews was marking Dyer but failed to even jump for the ball making it a simple finish for the diminutive winger. Immediately prior to the goal, Mark Kennedy gave away a needless free-kick in the corner, though it was a very harsh decision.
An early indication of Hudson and Gerrard`s inability to cope with a 1 man Swansea attack was provided early when a simple flick found Beattie through on goal. It was a well executed move but Gerrard was waylayed and Hudson charged out to meet Pratley leaving the sole striker completely un-marked! This theme continued and Swansea were able to get behind our defence with threaded balls, never needing pace or trickery to go outside or beat the defence – that alone is incredibly worrying. On numerous occasions, innocuous balls were not cleared and caused havoc – one especially when Beattie could do no more than block a cross only for Pratley to steam in and hammer home. Whilst a midfielder should track his run, we had two central defenders marking a lone striker – their responsibilities were un-clear and it showed.
The pick of our defence was, for me, David Marshall. He was caught out for the first goal but was unfortunate to slip. Prior to that he saved smartly from Beattie when he was through, and kept a deflected low effort out later on from Tate. He could no nothing with the two Pratley strikes and will feel aggrieved to have conceded three.