FIZZING FER ADDS TO SMITH’S WOES

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Wragg

BIG prob­lems are pil­ing up for As­ton Villa man­ager Dean Smith.

Smith, a Villa fan ap­pointed to his dream job two months ago, is likely to lose top goalscorer Tammy Abra­ham next week.

Whether Smith can find a re­place­ment is a big ques­tion – and Villa’s fans didn’t wait to find out, walk­ing out long be­fore the end.

Birth­day boy Leroy Fer took Villa apart, ru­in­ing £7mil­lion Croa­t­ian in­ter­na­tional goal­keeper Lovre Kalinic’s de­but and dump­ing them out of the FA Cup.

Smith’s only win in his past seven games was at Swansea City in the Cham­pi­onship.

They also beat them in the league at home, but never looked likely to make it a hat-trick.

Fer, 29 yes­ter­day, set up goals for Nathan Dyer and Jay Ful­ton af­ter Court­ney Baker-Richard­son had got the Swans up and run­ning in­side two min­utes.

But Smith thinks Fer should have been red-carded for a sec­ond-half tackle on Neil Tay­lor.

“Fer could have had five cau­tions and it took un­til the 90th minute for the ref­eree to give him one,” said an an­gry Smith.

“Neil Tay­lor has just come back from a ham­string in­jury and he gets one right down the back of a shin and an­kle and noth­ing gets done about it.

“Fer cre­ated a good pass for the sec­ond goal and a good bit of skill for the third, but I’m amazed he was still on the pitch.”

Smith could have a dif­fi­cult week ahead.

He is likely to lose top goalscorer Abra­ham.

Abra­ham is thought to be end­ing his loan from Chelsea and go­ing on loan in­stead with Wolver­hamp­ton Wan­der­ers early in the week.

But Smith in­sists: “I haven’t heard any­thing more. I be­lieve Abra­ham was here to­day and I be­lieve him to be in train­ing on Mon­day.”

Dyer af­ter 47 min­utes and sub­sti­tute Ful­ton in the 78th minute added more goals thanks to Fer, and Swansea man­ager Gra­ham Pot­ter saw noth­ing but good in him.

“I said to Fer I thought it was his best game,” re­vealed Pot­ter. “Peo­ple for­get that he’s come back from an Achilles rup­ture and missed a lot of last sea­son.

“I am de­lighted with him and thought he was dis­ci­plined, although I am sure Dean Smith will say he got away with a cou­ple of tack­les as well.”

Smith made six changes for the tie, Pot­ter only one and it showed as Swansea bossed the game.

Kalinic’s first job for Villa was to get the ball out of the net. Baker-Richard­son beat him from close range – and it got worse.

As the game wore on the more Villa’s fans be­came dis­grun­tled with their side’s per­for­mance.

Swansea, on the other hand, were gen­er­ally more pos­i­tive with Dyer prov­ing to be an in­spi­ra­tion.

Two min­utes into the sec­ond half Dyer demon­strated his con­fi­dence by in­creas­ing Swansea’s lead when he moved on to a through ball from skip­per Fer and scored with a low drive.

Baker-Richard­son made way for Ful­ton in the 70th minute and eight min­utes later the sub­sti­tute added Swansea’s third goal as Villa’s de­fence failed three times to clear their lines.

PIC­TURE: PA Im­ages

FAST START: Swansea’s Court­ney Baker-Richard­son cel­e­brates his early goal, shown in­set

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