A second half strike from Rhian Brewster and an Andre Ayew penalty were enough to give the Swans all three points at the Liberty Stadium this afternoon, despite a late consolation from Sheffield Wednesday, led by our former manager Garry Monk.
Brewster struck seven minutes into the second half to put the Swans ahead at a time when they would have been counting their blessings that they were still level after a first 45 minutes that highlighted everything that can be bad about our play as the Owls missed at least two gilt edged chances to take the lead.
Strong blocks from Bidwell and Guehi as well as some poor finishing had kept the first half level in a period where the Swans did nothing to threaten the visitors goal. Most of the play was in our defensive third which saw us lining up with a back three that included Naughton and Bidwell. With young Chelsea defender Guehi in the middle of it, wing back services were provided by Roberts and Routledge as Cooper tried something different that I think most Swans fans at kick off would have told you was unlikely to succeed (at best).
It is difficult to know what was said at half time but I think “we can’t get any worse” would have been amongst the obvious statements as we came out for the second half, which in fairness saw us up our performance without really ever looking near a side that could make a last bid for the play offs.
Brewster’s finish was cool and clinical as he smashed home from close range after a good move and cross from the right hand side whilst Ayew finished with typical style from the spot after Roberts was deemed to have been fouled in the area after a push from Reach.
From struggling in the first half the Swans were two goals up with around 25 minutes to go and the play had taken it out of Wednesday. Whilst they continued to battle they never really got within threatening distance of the Swans goal with Woodman having far less anxious moments in the second half compared to the first.
Van Der Hoorn replaced Routledge, Byers came on for Gallagher and Liam Cullen was a late introduction when Brewster went off after falling awkwardly on his arm – a substitution that we can only hope at this stage is precautionary at worse.
Of course this is Swansea City and nothing is ever as simple as it seems and three minutes into a seven minute stoppage time period Nuhiu pulled a goal back with a powerful header that gave Woodman no chance from close range. There was still enough time for Wednesday to have a dangerous free kick from which Woodman was grateful to see Bannon’s header go straight at him and a last minute corner dropped nicely into the keeper’s hands.
The win keeps the Swans within touching distance of the play-offs but still four points of our South Walian neighbours and behind the division’s form side in Derby County. The one thing the win does is keep alive those hopes of the play offs but when you reflect back on the performance, the only difference between the two sides here is that we took the chances whilst Wednesday wasted theirs and that isn’t likely to be something that happens every week.
Still, the number one aim on today was to win the match and we achieved that despite the late worry. Onward to Birmingham on Wednesday.