Swansea 4-0 Watford: Piroe nets double as Swans ease to victory
Joel Piroe recorded a brace as Swansea opened the scoring in a game for the first time since October 23 with a 4-0 Championship victory over fifth-placed Watford to complete the double over the Hornets.
Manager Russell Martin had asked his players to fight harder to defend their box after conceding a 10th goal of the season to a set-play in a 2-1 defeat at Reading earlier in the week and they responded by once again, dominating possession.
Despite enjoying 76 per cent of the ball at Reading, they still conceded two goals but this time they went on the offensive from the start at the Swansea-com Stadium.
Central defender Harry Darling got a long-range shot off in the opening minute that forced Daniel Baumann into a low save and that was the first of nine first-half attempts by the home side.
The only scare they had in that time came in the ninth minute when they failed to fully clear a corner and when the second ball came in, the ever-dangerous Keinan Davis put in a header that forced Steve Benda into a crucial save.
Swansea skipper Matt Grimes and Darling both picked up yellow cards in the opening 45 minutes but the pressure exerted through their relentless passing game eventually bore fruit as Liam Cullen prodded the ball into the Watford box to allow Piroe to run onto the ball and hammer home with his trusty left foot for his seventh goal of the season.
That goal came in the 40th minute and, five minutes earlier, Piroe had forced Watford goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann to save his long-range shot and a number of headers from corners and free-kicks caused problems for Slaven Bilic’s patched-up side.
The Hornets came into the game without top scorer Joao Pedro, Hasane Kamara — who is suspended for four games due the red card he picked up against Millwall on Boxing Day — and five other key players.
Warford started the second half more positively as they tried to press for an equaliser and Bilic brought on front runners Vakoun Bayo and Samuel Kalu on the hour mark.
Referee John Busby issued a number of yellow cards for poor tackles and he also threw in a card for Martin for his touchline protestations as the tension mounted.
Swansea needed another goal to kill off the game and it finally came after 74 minutes when Cullen struck home a rebound off a Watford defender at a corner for his third goal is as many games.
Then Piroe added his second after good work in the Watford box by Ollie Cooper before Joel Latibeaudiere got his first goal of the season and the Swans’ fourth of the night to seal maximum points.