Stevenage 0-2 Swansea City: Swans comfortably advance to the next round

A goal on either side of the half was enough for Championship title chasers Swansea City to avoid any risk of embarrassment against Stevenage, who currently fight to stay in League Two.

Stevenage had a monumental task on their hands, as Championship title-chasers Swansea City travelled to the Lamex Stadium with merciless ambitions.

Prior to kick-off, Swans manager Steve Cooper demanded that his side do not become complacent from Stevenage’s league position and that everyone must remain engaged, saying: “Regardless of it being league or cup we just want to keep things going to keep everybody engaged.

“We just want to keep improving and striving to get better. We want to win and play well.”

Swansea were also sat 2nd in the Championship and just four points behind the leaders, Norwich City. Cooper had got the Swans thriving again, with an implement of youth under his leadership.

Meanwhile with the home side, Stevenage had brought in three new players in the week with the hopes of finding form and pulling away from the League Two relegation zone, which they were currently free from goal difference.

Teams

​​​​​​​Stevenage: Cumming; Wildin, Vancooten, Cuthbert, Coker, Lines, Smith, Read, Pett, Carter, Newton

Swansea City: Woodman; Cabango, Evans, Fulton, Naughton, Manning, Byers, Garrick, Dhanda, Routledge, Gyokeres

Match Breakdown

​​​​​​​Before Stevenage could really get a grip on the game, Wayne Routledge, who turned 36 on Thursday, forced the ball over the line to snatch an early lead for the Welsh side. Viktor Gyokeres found Yan Dhanda down the line, who floated a teasing ball towards Routledge allowing him to calmly  nod the ball past Chelsea loanee Jamie Cumming.

Swansea were vying to double their lead, as Jordan Garrick blitzed past Ben Coker but his squared ball was behind Gyokeres and the chance trickled out of play.

Stevenage were left frustrated as Tom Pett bundled his way into the box before Freddie Woodman seemed to clatter into the winger, but the referee waved away the Boro claims.

This sparked a revival in confidence for the home side, as some nice forward play from defender Luther Wildin ended up with Jack Smith on the wing, whose low cross was fired narrowly over from forward Danny Newton.

Alex Revell‘s side prevailed to threaten, as Pett lofted a cross onto the head of Charlie Carter, whose header left Woodman scrambling across his goal only to end up on the wrong side of the post.

Heading into the break, Revell opted to make a singular swap, as Pett was replaced by Luke Norris for his debut, whilst Swansea also made a change with Korey Smith coming on for Jay Fulton.

However despite the Stevenage pressure, it was Championship side Swansea that got the next goal. Some outstanding dribbling and pace from Garrick as he continued to terrorise Coker, before sending an inch-perfect cross onto the head of Brighton loanee Gyokeres, who nabbed his first for the club by heading past Cumming.

Nearing the final ten minutes, a robust tug of the shirt from Ryan Manning forced the referee to award the home side a penalty- and a lifeline.

But debutant Norris buckled under the pressure and was fantastically denied by Woodman, and squashed any outside hopes of a Stevenage renaissance.

Arthur Read, who had a brilliant game, attempted a spectacular free-kick from 25-yards but the ever-reliable Woodman acrobatically parried his strike onto the post.

Following four minutes of additional time, the game lacked any late action as the referee brought the entertainment to a close, and confirmed Swansea’s advancement to the FA Cup Fourth Round.

Post-match thoughts

​​​​​​​To say this was a game between one side fighting to be involved in next year’s Premier League, and one battling to stay in the EFL, the game was a tight contest, with Stevenage having the majority of possession.

The home side were valiant and should feel proud of their performance, with the likes of Read and Wildin having impressive performances against a Championship side. Stevenage just lacked the final finish, with Woodman admittedly in outstanding form, but Newton and Norris wasting a number of chances and of course missing a penalty, it was a game where the attacking prospect let the Boro down.

From a Swansea point of view, it can only be described as a professional performance. A clean sheet, two goals, even a youngster making his professional debut in the form of Cameron Evans, there really can be no complaints. Gyokeres nabbed his first goal dawning the Swansea shirt, which can hopefully provide him with the confidence to kick on from here and make that striker position his own.

Star players

​​​​​​​Arthur Read

Former Luton Town youngster Arthur Read had an excellent game for Stevenage, playing as a sort of wide playmaker who often cut inside from the wing, Read was hungry for the ball constantly and caused Swansea a headache in midfield.

Jordan Garrick

Another youngster, but Swansea winger Jordan Garrick was influential, heavily involved with both goals and provided Gyokeres with the assist for his first goal for the club. Garrick tormented Coker down that right-wing, used his frightening pace and power to create a number of opportunities and was a constant worry for