Match Reports

Match report: Connolly's double sinks Swans

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Albion ease into last 16 of the Carabao Cup as Lamptey and Locadia return.

By Bruce Talbot • 22 September 2021

By James Boardman
Aaron Connolly's first half quickfire double put Albion in control.
  • Albion 2, Swansea City 0

Two-goal Aaron Connolly led Albion into the last 16 of the Carabao Cup for the second successive season.

The striker's first goals of the campaign, scored in a five-minute spell in the first half, ensured Albion took care of business against boss Graham Potter's former club Swansea.

The visitors had some chances and twice struck the woodwork, but it was another night of positives for head coach Graham Potter.

By Paul Hazlewood
Tariq Lamptey made his first start of the campaign in the Carabao Cup against Swansea.

The headline was the return to action of Tariq Lamptey, whose last start had been at Fulham in December. The defender got through 45 minutes unscathed while youngsters Ed Turns, who was making his senior debut, Haydon Roberts, Taylor Richards and Marc Leonard, who got a very late call-up after Enock Mwepu hurt himself in the warm-up, all impressed.

Connolly had a bit of fortune for his first goal, which went in off a defender, but his second was a classy finish. In the closing stages he was replaced by Jurgen Locadia, who made his first appearance since August 2019.

Potter made 11 changes to the team that beat Leicester but was still able to start eight players with Premier League experience and four full internationals.

The 8838 crowd, many of whom would never have seen Lamptey in the flesh, were quickly energised by his first burst up the right wing but it was the visitors who settled quickest and skipper for the night Jason Steele was at full stretch to push away Liam Cullen’s shot while Smith ought to have worked the keeper in the 18th minute with a free header from Jake Bidwell’s cross which skimmed off his head and wide of goal.

By James Boardman
The Irishman's opening goal of the game was his first of the new campaign.

Albion struggled to create anything clear-cut in the opening third but with their first shot on target they broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute. Alexis Mac Allister’s lovely weighted pass released Connolly in the inside left channel, and he dinked the ball over the onrushing Steven Benda with the aid of a slight deflection.

Four minutes later Connolly made it 2-0 with an outstanding finish. Mac Allister pounced in midfield when Swansea gave the ball away and again set the Irishman in on the left. This time Connolly held off a defender and whipped a right-foot shot into the far corner with keeper Steven Benda helpless.

Connolly could have been celebrating a hat-trick before half-time. Steven Alzate showed great skill to pick out Jakub Moder in the box. The Poland international turned it into the path of Connolly but his right-foot strike flew a yard wide. After struggling to get going in the first 30 minutes Albion finished the half playing with a lot of confidence.

By Paul Hazlewood
Centre-back Ed Turns made his first professional start in the third round match against the Swans.

Pascal Gross replaced Lamptey at the break and Albion had some defending to do at the start of the second half. Cullen headed against the bar then Steele showed good reflexes to deny Smith as the Championship outfit looked for a way back into the contest.

Swansea should have pulled a goal back on the hour when Smith was presented with an open goal ten yards out but somehow managed to hit the top of the crossbar. It came after Alzate and Steele got their wires crossed and was a warning that if the visitors got the next goal they could still make it an uncomfortable night for Albion.

Jeremy Sarmiento came on for his first-team debut and with 15 minutes left Connolly departed to a standing ovation with Locadia coming on. Gross' stoppage-time free kick took a deflection off the wall and onto the bar as Albion eased into round four.

Albion: Steele, Lamptey (Gross 45), Turns, Roberts, Burn, Leonard, Moder, Alzate, Richards, Mac Allister (Sarmiento 69), Connolly (Locadia 75).

Subs not used: Scherpen, Furlong, Offiah.

Attendance: 8838