The Swans picked up another win on the road this afternoon at Rotherham as goals from Conor Hourihane, Matt Grimes and Jay Fulton gave us a deserved win at Rotherham, kept us in 2nd place and also took us past the fifty point barrier.
Steve Cooper recalled both Yan Dhanda and Ryan Bennett to the starting line up following the midweek draw with Brentford as he looked to return to winning ways and hold onto 2nd place with leaders Norwich next to visit the Liberty next Friday night.
He could have got the perfect start almost from the kick off when it looked as if Ayew may have been played in but hesitation from the out of form forward and a quick Rotherham defender saw the danger disappear almost as quick as it had appeared. It was the only action of note in what was another cagey first fifteen minutes from both sides with the Swans struggling to string together any series of passes or threaten the Rotherham defensive third whilst the home side were facing a similar battle when heading in the opposite direction.
The game had created a scrappy opening broken up all too often by the whistle of a fussy referee but as the half was progressing the Swans were starting to ask questions of the Rotherham defence without testing the keeper. Or at least that was until we opened the scoring in the 28th minute. A poor ball from Ayew left Connor Roberts stretching to keep the ball in play but keep it in play he did. A cross was flicked by Ayew, rescued by Lowe who passed to Dhanda and his lay off was superbly finished by Conor Hourihane for his second goal in as many games to give the Swans the lead.
Jamal Lowe could have doubled the Swans lead when he was sent through on goal coming in from the right angle but his shot was pushed wide by the keeper and earning the Swans a corner. And it was from that corner that the second goal arrived and what a goal it was. Hourihane’s strong delivery was pushed out of the danger area by the keeper or so we thought but as it landed at the feet of captain Matt Grimes the sweet left foot was in action and it found the bottom corner of the net to double our advantage and surely set us up for three points once again?
As we watched the replays of both goals at home you only had to admire two great finishes from our midfield players with the sweetness of both strikes giving the keeper no chance on either one.
Rotherham opened the second half with one change that saw former Swan Shaun MacDonald taken off in a bid to change the game around and it did see Rotherham start the half more on the front foot but again not troubling Woodman in the Swans goal.
The Swans were definitely not set up to defend their two goal advantage at this time but were certainly in a patient mood to wait for the chances to come their way rather than search them out with the most important thing of course being the three points. A powerful run from Lowe looked as if it may open up the Rotherham defence just past the hour mark but his team mates were too far behind to take advantage of the run and eventually a shot from Roberts trickled harmlessly into the keepers arms.
Just a minute later the Swans advantage was halved after they failed to deal with a long throw into the ara and the substitute Ladapo directed a header into the bottom corner to bring Rotherham back into the game.
Rotherham were definitely in the ascendancy at this point and continued to push and ask questions of a Swansea side that were now dropping deeper and deeper and it was clear that Paul Warne had set his side up to create delivery from the flanks and Rotherham were winning more than their fair share of headers from those deliveries.
On 73 minutes Cooper made a much needed change with Fulton coming on for Yan Dhanda – it was something that was needed from the moment Rotherham scored as the midfield was being overrun and that was putting additional pressure on our defence. And the impact of Fulton was something that Cooper could have only dreamed of. Hourihane played Bidwell in down the left and his low ball into the area was superbly finished by Fulton to restore the Swans two goal advantage and a finish that looked better every time you saw it on the replay. This was the first time we had scored three in the league this season and surely this time around our two goal advantage would be enough to secure the three points.
Rotherham could, and probably should, have pulled one back in the 79th minute when a corner from the left saw Woodman in no-man’s land but thankfully for the Swans the header came back off the bar with the keeper immediately apologising to his defenders for his error.
Jordan Morris was handed his first action in a Swansea shirt in the 83rd minute when he replaced Lowe, the timing being perfect with the game seemingly won at this stage and the chance to give our latest signing some much needed game time following his loan move. And it was from a well worked corner that Morris almost set up a fourth for the Swans as he headed and flicked a ball which was met with a powerful header from Lowe which was tipped over.
The game by this point was over as a contest and the Swans were on their way to three more points in their promotion push. News of Brentford scoring seven at home should not dampen that fact and we can now focus on the huge game against Norwich next Friday knowing we remain unbeaten in 2021. As it stands tonight we are four points behind them but both they and Brentford play in midweek so let’s see how that looks come kick off time on Friday.
Another good afternoon at the office – well done lads!
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