Report | Swansea City U23s 2 Watford U23s 3
Swansea City Under-23s suffered stoppage-time heartbreak as they were narrowly beaten by Watford in the Professional Development League.
The young Swans twice led at Landore through Declan John and Josh Thomas, only to be pegged back on both occasions.
And, following a largely positive performance, they were desperately unfortunate to leave the game with nothing after Sam Dalby’s deflected free-kick in the fifth minute of injury time.
Coach Jon Grey saw a terrific response from his players after their disappointing 5-1 defeat at Ipswich last time out.
The big team news saw George Byers pull on a Swansea City shirt for the first time this season after recovering from a groin injury, while there were also welcome returns for the likes of Cameron Evans, Daniel Williams and Oli Cooper.
John was once again given the opportunity to get minutes under his belt and he opened the scoring after 11 minutes, finishing a neat cutback after an impressive move by the hosts.
The visitors levelled just before half-time through Joseph Hungbo, but the Swans regained the advantage in the 72nd minute when, fresh from signing his first professional contract with the club, Thomas finished from Cooper’s through ball.
Watford replied through Toby Stevenson seven minutes later, before Dalby struck deep in stoppage time to break Swansea hearts.
Nevertheless, Grey was pleased with the way his players closed out 2020, but highlighted a key area for improvement heading into the New Year.
“I was really happy with how we played, the effort and work rate – it was 150 times better than last week against Ipswich,” the under-23s coach said.
“I was delighted with the performance; that’s probably the best we’ve played all season and we looked like Swansea City.
“I was sat in the dressing room with the players asking how we lost that game.
“We completely dominated from start to finish. We created so many chances – probably enough to win three games – scored two really good goals and their goalkeeper made some unbelievable saves.
“Overall, we deserved to win, but we didn’t. That’s just the way things are going for us at the moment.
“Coming down from category one football, it seems that whoever we come up against at the moment, they’re raising their game.
“We must now learn how to stop leaking goals. The first team have been fantastic this year with their defensive record and we must look to emulate that.”
Swansea City U23s: Lewis Webb; Ryan Bevan, Cameron Evans, Scott Butler, Joe Lewis, Declan John; Daniel Williams, George Byers (Michael Murphy, 62), Oli Cooper; Cameron Congreve, Josh Thomas.
Subs not used: Jamie Searle, Aaron Hillier, Dylan Perkins.