Swansea booed off af­ter Mur­ray’s strike puts Brighton up to eighth

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport | Football - By Alex By­wa­ter at Lib­erty Sta­dium

Swansea’s shock­ing home form con­tin­ued as Glenn Mur­ray’s first-half strike gave Brighton vic­tory in front of an an­gry Lib­erty Sta­dium crowd.

Mur­ray ap­plied the fin­ish to An­thony Knock­aert’s cross for the only goal of the game as the hosts were booed off. Paul Cle­ment’s men were al­ready low on con­fi­dence go­ing into the game and their morale only sank lower as the 90 min­utes played out.

Brighton didn’t have to do much to win the game and Swansea – who are now in the bot­tom three – are fac­ing a long bat­tle with rel­e­ga­tion based on their cur­rent form.

Cle­ment said: “If we play at that level we can’t ex­pect to win. The way we de­fended for the goal was very, very poor. Af­ter that you see a team that is re­ally strug­gling with con­fi­dence.”

He added: “The boos af­fected the team and some in­di­vid­u­als, but our job is to deal with that. We’re in a bad mo­ment, there is no doubt about that. We need to stop this vi­cious cy­cle of a poor per­for­mance and then a bad re­sult. The play­ers in this group have been in this sit­u­a­tion be­fore and we have be­lief we can get out of it.”

A small sec­tion of Swansea fans had protested against chair­man Huw Jenk­ins be­fore kick-off and their team’s lack of self-be­lief be­came more than ev­i­dent as the first half wore on.

A se­ries of mis­placed passes saw boos ring out from a home crowd frus­trated with their side’s cam­paign. And the mood in­side the ground soured fur­ther when Brighton went ahead. Fed­erico Fer­nan­dez gave Mur­ray too much room and he bun­dled Knock­aert’s de­liv­ery past Lukasz Fabi­an­ski. Mur­ray then went close again and only a su­perb save from Fabi­an­ski stopped Lewis Dunk mak­ing it 2-0.

Swansea’s set-piece de­liv­ery was woe­ful, with Ki Sung-yueng and Sam Clu­cas way­ward from dead-ball sit­u­a­tions. Tammy Abra­ham was the only bright note for the hosts, but a come­back never looked like hap­pen­ing.

Clu­cas was re­placed and booted a bot­tle on the Swansea bench, sum­ming up his side’s frus­tra­tion. Lu­ciano Nars­ingh, brought on as a sub­sti­tute, struck the bar when through on goal in what was the best chance, but by the time Mike Dean blew to end the game the cat­calls from the home crowd were en­tirely pre­dictable.

Brighton moved up to eighth with this win and man­ager Chris Hughton said: “We had to de­fend well and it was a re­ally good away per­for­mance. For us to be where we are sur­passes our ex­pec­ta­tions, but we have to be guarded against any sign of com­pla­cency.”

Swansea (4-3-3) Fabi­an­ski 7; Naughton 6, Maw­son 6, Fer­nan­dez 5, Clu­cas 5 (Rout­ledge 79); Ki 5, Car­roll 5 (Nars­ingh 59), Fer 6; Dyer 6, Ayew 6 (McBurnie 79), Abra­ham 6. Subs Nord­feldt (g), Van der Hoorn, Mesa, Ful­ton. Booked Fer­nan­dez, Clu­cas. Brighton (4-4-2) Ryan 7; Bruno 6, Duffy 7, Dunk 7, Bong 6; Knock­aert 7, Stephens 6, Prop­per 6, Izquierdo 6 (March 66); Gross 7 (Brown 85), Mur­ray 7 (Hemed 79). Subs Krul (g), Gold­son, Sch­e­lotto, Sut­tner. Booked Dunk. Ref­eree M Dean (Cheshire).

Beaten: Glenn Mur­ray gets the ball be­fore Nathan Dyer dur­ing a bad day for Swansea

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