Swansea ease past Morecambe to progress in Luke Williams’ first match in charge

Swansea ease past Morecambe to progress in Luke Williams’ first match in charge

Second-half goals from midfielders Charlie Patino and Jerry Yates secured victory in new manager Luke Williams’ opening match in charge.

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Swansea eased their way into the FA Cup fourth round with a 2-0 win against Sky Bet League Two strugglers Morecambe.

Second-half goals from midfielders Charlie Patino and Jerry Yates saw the Sky Bet Championship side safely into the hat and secured victory in new manager Luke Williams’ opening match in charge.

While Swansea were never seriously troubled, they were laboured at times and made harder work of the win than Williams would have liked.

But the 42-year-old, who had a spell at Swansea as assistant under former boss Russell Martin before leaving to guide Notts County back into the Football League, will be relieved there was no cup slip-up.

Williams, brought in as replacement for the sacked Michael Duff after a recruitment process that dragged on over a month, was introduced to the crowd before kick-off.

There was warmth and tangible optimism in the reception he received but Williams has a considerable revival job on his hands, with the Swans well off the Championship play-offs pace in 16th position.

He opted to make 11 changes to the side which began the last league outing – a 1-0 win against West Brom.

But with the likes of captain Joe Allen, defenders Nathan Wood and Kyle Naughton and midfielders Charlie Patino and Ollie Cooper, there was no shortage of recognised first-choice players in the starting line-up.

It was no surprise the Swans monopolised possession from the first whistle, but their failure to seriously threaten the Morecambe goal frustrated home fans.

A deflected effort from midfielder Azeem Abdulai that fizzed just wide in the sixth minute looked like a sign of things to come.

Arsenal-loanee Patino forced Shrimps goalkeeper Adam Smith to tip his header over the crossbar in the 14th minute after left wiger Yannick Bolassie nodded across goal.

The impressive Bolasie went close eight minutes before the interval when his fierce effort from range narrowly cleared the bar.

But Swansea were thwarted for long spells by a well-drilled and disciplined Morecambe side content to limit their ambition to sporadic counter-attacks.

The pattern did not last long after the interval.

Just two minutes after the restart Patino made the breakthrough, ghosting in at the far post unmarked to side-foot volley a cross by Sam Parker underneath the body of Smith for the opener.

Morecambe did exert some pressure as the match entered its closing stages, but failed to create a single clearcut chance to equalise.

Their challenge was extinguished in the 87th minute when Yates found space on the edge of the 18-yard box and sent a low left-footed shot into the bottom corner of Smith’s net.

Rob Edwards bemoans late penalty decision in Luton’s goalless draw with Bolton

Rob Edwards bemoans late penalty decision in Luton’s goalless draw with Bolton

Rob Edwards bemoans late penalty decision in Luton’s goalless draw with Bolton

Alfie Doughty went down in the closing moments under a challenge from defender Will Forrester but VAR ruled against an infringement.

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Rob Edwards believes Luton should have been awarded a late penalty at Kenilworth Road as they were made to settle for a goalless draw against League One Bolton in the FA Cup third round.

Alfie Doughty went down in the closing moments under a challenge from defender Will Forrester, seconds after he had been denied a likely winner when his shot came back off a post.

Edwards fielded a near full-strength side but it was not enough to find a way past the team currently second in the third tier.

Substitutes Andros Townsend and Jordan Clark both saw second-half efforts deflected wide as Luton laboured in vain to avoid a replay.

Chances for Ian Evatt’s side were at a premium, Josh Sheehan briefly worrying stand-in goalkeeper Tim Krul in the first half with a rasping drive that cleared the crossbar, but by and large this was a result earned via a determined, organised defensive effort.

Yet Edwards felt his team had been unfairly denied the chance to win the tie from the penalty spot after referee Andrew Madley was advised by VAR that Forrester had not committed an infringement in challenging Doughty for the ball.

“The big decision was a penalty on Alfie Doughty,” he said. “I never moan about decisions going against us but I’m not sure what VAR was thinking there with that one.

“I think Andrew Madley should have been told to go to the screen. I think that was a big mistake.

“Credit to Bolton. They’ve got a result and we go and do it again.”

The result means a replay which in turn will force a rearrangement of Luton’s upcoming Premier League visit to Burnley, now brought forward three days to January 12.

Edwards had hoped to take his players away on a warm-weather training camp after the game at Turf Moor, but that will now have to wait until after the rematch against Bolton.

“I’m disappointed that we’ve not managed to get the job done today,” he said. “The reality is we haven’t, and we have to go again.

“We’re on a different schedule now, we were going to be off (Monday), have a bit more time to plan for Burnley, but now we play them away on Friday night. That’s just the reality and we’ve got to deal with it.

“I respect the (FA Cup) hugely, it’s one I love and have grown up watching. I want us to progress in it. I respect Bolton Wanderers and everything (Ian Evatt) has done there.

“I genuinely feel whatever team I would have picked would be strong and be capable of winning the game.”

Bolton boss Evatt reflected that the decision not to award Luton a late penalty was fair.

“The referee made the decision and there were two experienced officials in the VAR hub who looked at it as well and both of them thought it wasn’t a penalty, so it wasn’t a penalty,” he said.