Unseen Swansea City v QPR moments as Martin responds to boos, what Piroe did when subbed and full-time scenes

Swansea City’s season is at an end.

‘Transition’ is the word you’re most likely to hear when asked for an assessment on Russell Martin’s first season in charge. There have been notable highs in this campaign, but the defeat at home to the R’s was certainly a disappointing way to end the campaign.

Here are some key moments you may have missed from Saturday’s curtain call.

READ MORE:Russell Martin admits he wants to sign Joe Allen and loan duo want to stay at Swansea City

Martin hits back at fan frustration

Russell Martin was understandably held up as the Jack Army’s messiah after completing a historic South Wales derby double earlier in the season, but Saturday was perhaps a reminder that there remains an undercurrent of dissatisfaction among some supporters.

Swansea were booed by some sections of the home crowd during what was admittedly a disappointing performance, and there were similarly audible jeers at full time. Clearly, Martin’s brand of possession-based football still hasn’t quite convinced some sections of the Jack Army, some of whom still feel their team’s obsession with keeping the ball comes at the cost of real attacking intent.

It’s a view Martin himself would fiercely disagree with, of course, and the reaction to one passage of play in particular appeared to irk him. Midway through the first half, Andy Fisher sprayed the ball out wide to the left, and watched on as his team-mates, with little on in the final third, worked the ball back to him. He played an almost identical ball out wide, before exactly the same thing happened.

The frustration from the home crowd was palpable, prompting Martin to send a message to his players. Visibly annoyed by the reaction, he appeared to tell his side to ‘keep passing’, an apparent message of defiance in the face of such naysaying.

That’s not to say that even on a day with approximately nothing riding on it, frustrations weren’t justified, mind. In many ways this game was a microcosm of Swansea’s season. The ideas were there, but the quality and the execution, at times, was not. How Martin shapes his squad in the summer will subsequently be hugely important.

But judging by the ripple of boos at full time, and the disappointing number of empty seats during Swansea’s lap of appreciation, it’s perhaps safe to say that even after creating Welsh footballing history, Martin hasn’t quite convinced everyone – yet.

Piroe’s off-colour showing

Has Joel Piroe played his last game for the Swans? That will be the main question many Swans fans will be asking themselves after Saturday’s defeat. The Dutchman is Swansea’s most prized financial asset heading into the summer transfer window, and it seems they will be powerless to keep him on board for another season should the right offer come in. Piroe certainly didn’t look his normal self during the defeat to the R’s. His only effort on target just before the hour diverted straight at the keeper when you’d have bet your life savings on the net to bulge.

It was the only real flash of promise we saw from the forward in the final third all afternoon, and few would have been surprised by Martin’s comments after the game, with the Swans boss suggesting that the forward might well have been distracted by all the talk around his future.

Even so, there was an element of surprise to his withdrawal moments after that spurned chance, with Martin offering up a big hug for the Dutchman as he left the field.

Piroe then checked in with every single member of the bench before taking his place on the sidelines, cutting a figure who had plenty to ponder as his team-mates continued to labour without him. It all felt a little flat, particularly given the unease over what might happen next.

Things were a little more lively when the East Stand gave him a rousing rendition of ‘No Piroe, No Party’ at full time. Their feelings are obvious and crystal clear. The prospect of them seeing the striker in a Swans shirt again is less so.

Smith’s warm reception

Martin had confirmed before kick-off that Smith would be on his way this summer, and an injury to Joel Latibeaudiere in the second half gave him the chance to bid farewell. The warm embrace he received from Martin before taking to the field summed up his popularity with so many in Landore, and the terrific ovation from the stands shows that many fans feel the same way.

The feeling is clearly mutual. After uploading an emotional post on his Instagram story before his final training session, Smith made the most of the full-time festivities. There weren’t may who escaped a hug and a snap shortly before the players headed off on their lap of appreciation.

There was more praise for Smith (and indeed Ben Hamer, who’s also set to depart), on social media, including a post from young Cameron Congreve, who made his first home start for the club, and produced some flashes of quality that will spark genuine optimism about the future.

Wishing his team-mates off, the youngster simply wrote: “All the best boys! Cheers for everything!”

Cabango all smiles despite injury

The entire squad and their families turned out after the final whistle to pay tribute to the fans, including injured Wales star Ben Cabango.

The Wales defender has been out since April with an ankle injury, and is likely to be ruled out of the upcoming international schedule too. It’s a big blow considering the progress he’s made in a Swans shirt this season, but he seemed in good spirits here.

With his foot in a protective boot, the centre-back was all smiles with team-mates as he trudged round the pitch on the lap of appreciation. A big season for club and country awaits next term.


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