Huddersfield 0-0 Swansea: Jordan Ayew sent off as Swans hold on for valuable point
By Ben Reynolds
Last Updated: 10/03/18 6:56pm
Swansea produced a brilliant defensive performance to claim a point at Huddersfield despite playing 79 minutes of the 0-0 draw with 10 men.
The visitors' gameplan was undone after just 11 minutes when Jordan Ayew was shown a straight red card by Michael Oliver for a high boot in a challenge with Jonathan Hogg.
Yet for all their subsequent possession - and Huddersfield enjoyed 81 per cent of the ball - Swansea keeper Lukasz Fabianski was forced into just one save of note, tipping Steve Mounie's fierce volley onto the bar midway through the second half.
Tom Ince then hit the post in injury time with a fine downward header, but the hosts could find no way through as Swansea held on to leave both sides on 31 points in their fight against relegation.
Huddersfield: Lossl (6), Malone (7), Hogg (6), Mooy (6), La Parra (6), Pritchard (6), Ince (7), Mounie (7), Zanka (6), Schindler (6), Hadergjonaj (7)
Subs: Williams (6), Depoitre (6), Quaner (6)
Swansea: Fabianski (8), Naughton (7), van der Hoorn (7), Mawson (8), Fernandez (8), Olsson (7), Ki (7), Clucas (7), King (7), J Ayew (3), A Ayew (7)
Subs: Abraham (6), Carroll (6)
Man of the match: Federico Fernandez
The game swung on Ayew's red card as he slid in to retrieve the ball in a robust 50-50 challenge with Hogg, although replays showed the Huddersfield captain was perhaps fortunate to avoid punishment as he appeared to stamp on the Swansea forward's leg.
And it might have been worse for the visitors had Alfie Mawson made contact with Alex Pritchard with a reckless sliding lunge on 18 minutes. That Pritchard was able to hop out of the way meant the Swansea defender was only shown a yellow.
But the red card established the pattern of the game, with Huddersfield moving the ball wide and throwing in cross after cross, largely without reward as the Swansea back three of Mawson, Federico Fernandez and Mike van der Hoorn continued to head and hack clear.
Only once did Town really threaten in the opening 45 minutes - Mounie's flicked header from Aaron Mooy's cross on 41 minutes looping just over the bar with Fabianski scrambling.
They improved after the break - a superb cross from Florent Hadergjonaj fell to Scott Malone at the far post but he could not sort his feet out to make contact and ended up in the back of the net instead of the ball.
Huddersfield boss David Wagner made three changes, with Aaron Mooy back after a three-game absence with a knee injury. He replaced Danny Williams, while Terence Kongolo missed out through injury, allowing Scott Malone to come in. Tom Ince started after impressing in the defeat at Spurs, so Colin Quaner began the game on the bench.
Swansea were unchanged from the side that beat West Ham so emphatically last weekend.
Mounie then fired into the side netting on the hour before Fabianski brilliantly tipped the striker's fierce volley onto the bar and behind as Huddersfield continued to press.
Hadergjonaj's shot from 25 yards flew inches wide and when Ince's header bounced up and onto the post, Huddersfield knew that despite 28 shots to Swansea's zero, this was not to be their day.
- There have been three occasions of a team having more than 25 shots in a Premier League match but failing to score this season - all of them have been against Swansea City - Southampton: 29 in August, Tottenham: 26 in September and Huddersfield: 30 today.
- Meanwhile, Swansea became only the third side to fail to have a single shot in a Premier League match since Opta have the data available (2003-04), after West Bromwich Albion against Manchester City in December 2004 (drew 1-1) and Blackburn against Tottenham in April 2012 (lost 0-2).
- Huddersfield have failed to score in a league-high 16 Premier League games this season.
- Huddersfield's possession figure of 80.84% is the second highest ever in a Premier League game (since 2003-04), after Manchester City's 82.28 against QPR in May 2012.
- Jordan Ayew's red card after 11 minutes was the earliest a player has been sent off in the Premier League this season, and earliest in the competition since Jeff Hendrick against Watford in February 2017 (six minutes).
David Wagner: "Sometimes in football you need luck, but the performance was very good. We didn't have luck today, but we will take the clean sheet. It's been a long time since we had a clean sheet. But this could be a crucial point at the end of the season.
"Swansea put all the bodies behind the ball and were lucky. They worked hard but we have to be honest, they were lucky, we were unlucky. We can live with this performance, you don't always you get what you deserve."
Carlos Carvalhal: "This is one of our best results because of the circumstances of the game and the importance of the game. My players were brave. They fought a lot, the commitment was very strong. We played with 10 players for most of the game.
"When we lost one player, we knew we missed the bridge to go to attack, so we had to protect the point. You see how many crosses and corners they had, but my players were unbelievable. They were brave and we achieved an epic point this afternoon."
Man of the match - Federico Fernandez
It was a heroic performance by all of Swansea's defenders, but Fernandez was the pick of them all, repelling everything thrown his way as Huddersfield laid siege to the Swansea penalty area. The Argentinian made a game-high 15 clearances for his side as Carlos Carvalhal's side returned to Wales with a valuable point.
Huddersfield's bid to avoid the drop continues with another clash with fellow strugglers as Crystal Palace visit the John Smith's Stadium next Saturday.
Swansea have an FA Cup quarter-final date with Tottenham next Saturday before travelling to Manchester United in the Premier League at the end of the month.