Swansea came oh so close to a first win under new coach Bob Bradley, but suspect defending eventually proved costly once again in the Swans' 1-1 draw with Everton.
The team performance was far improved compared with the 3-1 defeat inflicted by Manchester United before the international break. Swansea showed better organisation and more determination this time, and but for being able to create a few more chances on goal might have been able to put the game out of reach. Youngster Jay Fulton looked comfortable in the centre of the park, and could see more action in the future as Bradley continues to shift his pieces to find the fit he wants.
Late equalisers are always hard to stomach, and never more so than when points are proving hard to come by. Bradley switched his central defensive pairing yet again, presumably to punish Alfie Mawson and Mike van der Hoorn for their part in the United fiasco, but Jordi Amat and Federico Fernandez are the poorer duo in the air.
Everton's goal came as a result of a weak Amat headed clearance followed by a weak aerial challenge from Fernandez allowing Seamus Coleman to score. Neither man had played badly up to that point, but little mistakes are still hurting this team.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Bradley was bold once again in making eight changes to the side which was humiliated by United, including starting youngster Fulton who took his opportunity. However, no team should be more aware of Ashley Williams deficiencies in the air as Swansea, and Bradley's decision to not even include Fernando Llorente in the match day squad or play Borja Baston -- both excellent aerial weapons -- seems like an obvious opportunity wasted.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Lukasz Fabianski, 7 -- Back to his better self, as he stopped five shots to keep Swansea in the game. Could do nothing to save Coleman's perfect header.
DF Kyle Naughton, 6 -- Appalling passing with only 53 percent success, and picked up a booking too. Did make half a dozen tackles and five clearances, however.
DF Federico Fernandez, 6 -- Should have done a lot better in defending the equalizing goal, but did make four tackles and a 14 clearances throughout the rest of the game.
DF Jordi Amat, 6 -- Fairly solid stuff from the Spaniard on his return to the team. Could have done better to clear the ball in the build-up to Coleman's goal, but at least he was in the right position to make the play in the first place.
DF Neil Taylor, 6 -- Like Naughton, dreadful passing with 58 percent, but was decent defensively otherwise. Kept the Everton threat fairly quiet on his flank.
MF Jack Cork, 6 -- Another one to suffer in the passing game with an uncharacteristic 65 percent completion, but didn't make any huge mistakes despite seeing a lot of the ball. Hasn't yet returned to the levels he's previously been capable of.
MF Jay Fulton, 7 -- Convincing stuff from the youngster who was handed more responsibility by a coach desperate to see some enthusiasm and fight from his players. Won all his tackles and made a handful of clearances and interceptions. Should be more involved in the future, since he clearly sees this relegation fight as a perfect chance to prove himself.
MF Leroy Fer, 7 -- Pitched in in all aspects of play. Swansea are better with his disruptive physical presence than without.
FW Modou Barrow, 6 -- Needs to work on his aerial game having won none of the eight headers he challenged for. Was involved in the build-up to the penalty, but still hasn't rediscovered his early-season form.
FW Gylfi Sigurdsson, 8 -- Led by example as ever, and scored another penalty, having never missed from the spot for Swansea. Was responsible for four of Swansea's six shots.
FW Wayne Routledge, 5 -- One of only three players, along with Sigurdsson and Fabianski, to survive the changes made since the United game. He played poorly in that game and wasn't much better here. No shots, no dribbles, no headers, and no tackles. With Montero injured, might only be in the team owing to lack of any better options at this point.
FW Nathan Dyer, NR -- Replaced Barrow in the 80th minute but didn't have time to influence the game, though his return to fitness at least gives Bradley another option for the future.
MF Ki Sung-Yueng, NR -- Replaced Fulton in the 86th minute but didn't have time to influence the game.