Swansea City suffered heartbreak on the grandest stage on Saturday as they fell a step short of making back to the Premier League after a three-year absence.
The Welsh outfit had made positive steps in the previous campaigns in trying to get back to the top flight, with Graham Potter laying the foundations in his one and only season at the Liberty Stadium before handing the reins over to Steve Cooper.
Cooper’s side lost out to Brentford in the play-off semi-finals last season, but they were out for revenge at Wembley this past weekend as the two sides would meet in the final after getting past Bournemouth and Barnsley.
It all went wrong in the first half though as Ivan Toney converted a penalty after just 10 minutes and Emiliano Marcondes doubled the Bees’ advantage not long after.
Swansea’s potential route back into the game was hindered on 65 minutes when Jay Fulton was sent off, and with the man disadvantage they couldn’t land a blow on Brentford – promoted to the Premier League for the first time in their history.
Can you name the Swansea City player who has been carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
A player who scored 14 goals for Swansea this season and played in all 49 league games, Jamal Lowe – who was visibly emotional at full time – has sent a message to the fans following the gut=wrenching defeat.
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It will have been a tough moment for Lowe and the Swansea squad to take – they were in and around the automatic promotion spots all season so falling at the final hurdle will naturally be disappointing.
But they’ve made progress year on year since being relegated from the Premier League – Graham Potter had them in mid-table in their first season, and now Cooper has guided them to sixth and fourth in the previous two campaigns.
Is the top two on their horizons next season? We’ll have to wait and see, but Andre Ayew’s expected departure will really hurt them on the pitch (although it will ease their finances) – the Ghanaian will be a tough man to replace and Lowe may have to fire in more than the 14 goals he netted this season to compensate for his probable loss.