Joel Piroe scored a brace to help Swansea produce one of the comprehensive football results of the weekend in the Championship. After giving up their tenth goal of the year on a set-play in a 2-1 loss at Reading earlier in the week, manager Russell Martin ordered his players to battle harder to defend their box, and they reacted by once again controlling possession.
The one moment of concern occurred in the ninth minute when they failed to completely clear a corner and when the second ball came in, the always dangerous Keinan Davis headed it in, forcing Steve Benda to make an important save. The pressure put on Watford by Swansea’s relentless passing game eventually paid off when Liam Cullen prodded the ball into the box, allowing Pirone to run onto the ball and hammer home with his reliable left foot for his seventh goal of the season. Swansea’s captain Matt Grimes and Darling both received yellow cards in the first 45 minutes.
The goal was scored in the 40th minute, five minutes after Piroe forced Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann to save his long-range drive, and several headers from corners and free-kicks caused issues for Slaven Bilic’s patched-up team. Hasane Kamara, who was sent off against Millwall on Boxing Day, was suspended for four games, along with five other important players, so the Hornets entered the game without their leading scorer Joao Pedro.
Swansea needed a second goal to conclude the game, and after 74 minutes, Cullen scored his third goal in as many games by striking home a rebound off a Watford defender at a corner. After some strong work in the Watford box by Ollie Cooper, Piroe added his second, and the Swans’ fourth goal of the game—Joel Latibeaudiere’s first of the year—sealed all three points.
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