How the Hell Did That Happen? Swans Defy the Odds to Reach the Championship Play-Offs

A towering Wayne Routledge header in stoppage time was just one of the unlikely events on a crazy night that saw the Swans defeat Reading 4-1 and reach the Championship Play-Offs in dramatic fashion…

Hands up those of you that REALLY BELIEVED last night that the Swans could overturn the odds that were stacked against them and pip either Nottingham Forest or hated South Wales rivals Cardiff City to reach the Championship Play-Offs? 

I have to admit, hand on heart, that I didn’t…I thought that whilst it was mathematically possible there was just too much to do, what with Cardiff hosting a doomed and desperate Hull and Forest holding a significant +5 goal difference advantage to protect them should they lose to Stoke and the Swans beat Reading.

Oh, I told people we could do it – explaining the maths behind it and going into great detail why it was a failing Forest side and not the Bluebirds that was the most viable target.

And all the while that mocking voice in my tiny bald head kept whispering “it’s the hope that kills ya”.

You know, the little voice that’s almost always proved right as typical Swansea City contrive to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory just as you start to believe.

Well that little voice has been well and truly silenced. Hope was somehow turned into sensational reality as the Swans triumphed 4-1 over Reading and Stoke felled Forest by the same scoreline, thus turning the five goal deficit into a plus one and securing that last Play-Off place.

Now the only voices left in my head are the ones telling me to sellotape breadcrumbs to my kitchen window to watch sparrows crash and burn – but that’s another story!! 

Hannah's Tweet
Hannah really should have known better than to tempt fate with a tweet like this!

having slept on it (fitfully, due to over excitement and too much social media celebrating) I still have absolutely no idea how the Hell we pulled off the near impossible! Ok, we got a huge favour from Stoke – the Star Trek evil Mirror Universe SCFC – but make no mistake we still had a huge task on our hands to score the goals to take us through.

That we did it against a Reading side reduced to ten men after a really soft sending off shouldn’t reduce the achievement. In fact I thought the red card made our task harder as it forced us to abandon the three centre back formation that has been at the heart of our recent resurgence.

Reading also refused to lie down and threatened to spoil the party all night. The penalty they gained just before half time punctured our optimism, cancelling out Rhian Brewster’s sensational opener and they continued to cause problems throughout an excruciatingly tense second period.

Indeed, Wayne Routledge’s fantastic first (a glorious chip from a sublime Grimes pass) and uncharacteristic header for his second and the crucial fourth would have counted for nothing if not for a truly magnificent last ditch intervention by Marc Guehi in-between.

In amongst all of that we had the heartwarming sight of young Liam Cullen scoring his first senior goal, his smart finish providing the fresh hope and impetus for our grandstand finish. That well taken strike and the importance of it will fill the youngster with self belief and I’m pretty sure it will be the first of many for the fledgling forward.

 

Ian Mitchelmore's Tweet
Wales Online journo Ian Mitchelmore channels his inner Tarantino as he tries to make sense of what he's just seen

What it all boils down to though is whilst I can’t answer ‘How the Hell did that happen?’ I really don’t need to! Not a single Swans fan will care as we look forward to a two legged semi-final against a surely deflated Brentford, before a possible date with destiny in the Championship Play-Off Final.

The finale to the Championship season is always packed with drama but this was something special well in keeping with this crazy Covid affected campaign.

A last gasp injury time Routledge header to secure a Championship Play-Off place with a five goal goal swing is just SOOOO 2020 – and that’s all the explanation we need!