Swans give Pool a footballing lesson

Chris Basham tries a shot at goal and (below) Alex Baptiste.

Chris Basham tries a shot at goal and (below) Alex Baptiste.

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Swansea 4, Blackpool 2. On paper, a Tuesday night friendly away at Swansea seems just about the worst idea possible.

With a long and gruelling season ahead, a five-hour trip to South Wales is the last thing anyone wanted.

Alex Baptiste

Alex Baptiste

But on the other hand, it was perfect.

Swansea are a prime example of what Ian Holloway is aiming for.

Their quick and short passing game, which saw them finish 11th in the Premier League last season, is exactly the style the manager is aiming to bring to Bloomfield Road.

Brendan Rogers’ side won the plaudits of everyone, and from this display it appears new boss Michael Laudrup is trying to carry on in the same vein.

Holloway started with what won’t be far away from his strongest 11, and a side containing none of his new signings.

Chris Basham was the only eye-catching inclusion as he was named in midfield, new boy Isaiah Osbourne was due to start, only for a hand injury to keep him out.

The Seasiders got off to the worst possible start, going behind after only 45 seconds.

Barry Ferguson played a blind back pass which was read well by Danny Graham, and the former Pool loanee rounded a stranded Matt Gilks and tapped into an empty net.

I’d say it left the Pool fans shocked, but there didn’t appear to be any. The away end at the Liberty Stadium was totally empty, although official figures say 11 die-hards made the long trip.

Pool hardly touched the ball in the opening 15 minutes, with Swansea so comfortable in possession, and it was no real surprise on 16 minutes when the home side doubled their lead. Graham was again involved with a nice reverse pass to Michu, who gave Gilks no chance.

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Pool improved as the half went on though, going close when Ludovic Sylvestre hit the bar from 25 yards.

And it was the midfielder who did eventually drag Blackpool back into the game.

Neal Eardley burst into the box, and cut the ball back into the path of Sylvestre, who fired one into the top corner.

A lovely goal which was applauded by the home supporters.

Although Blackpool were starting to keep the ball better, Holloway had a change of plan when Tom Ince came on in place of Basham just after the half-hour mark.

As half-time approached, Swansea regained their two-goal lead.

Graham was a constant threat, and he gave Gilks no chance from five yards after a Baptiste mistake allowed Nathan Dyer to burst into the box.

Holloway made three changes at the break. Tiago Gomes, Angel Martinez and Scott Robertson coming on to replace Ferguson, Sylvestre and Elliott Grandin.

The handful of Pool fans who made the long trip will have fond memories of the Liberty Stadium. Who can forget the sensational 6-3 win here in 2007 when Keigan Parker and Andy Morrell tore the Swans apart to send the Seasiders into the play-offs?

There never looked like being nine goals in this game, although there were chances in the second half.

Scott Robertson had Pool’s best, he scuffed a volley wide, but the Scotsman is starting to show what he’s all about now he’s gaining fitness.

It was 4-1 on 63 minutes. Dyer’s shot was parried by Gilks into the path of Graham, who completed the easiest hat-trick he’ll ever score.

Ince made the score a little more respectable on 83 minutes when he sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot after Ashley Williams hauled him down in the box.

A decent workout for Holloway’s men, although he’ll expect a much better performance when they travel to Millwall on August 18.

BLACKPOOL: Gilks, Crainey, Eardley, Evatt, M Phillips (Barkhuizen 62), Grandin (Gomes 45), Taylor-Fletcher (Bruna 77 (Caprice 90)), Sylvestre (Angel 45), Baptiste, Ferguson (Robertson 45), Basham (Ince 37).

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