Championship
Swansea2Sheff Wed1

Swansea City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday

Andre Ayew celebrates scoring Swansea's second goal
Andre Ayew celebrates scoring Swansea's second goal from the penalty spot

Swansea City recovered from a slow start to beat Sheffield Wednesday and maintain their challenge for a Championship play-off place.

It could have been a different story had Wednesday capitalised on their first-half dominance, exposing the hosts' new-look three-man defence but wasting several chances.

Swansea then converted their first opportunity, Liverpool loanee Rhian Brewster smashing in from close range to score a goal for which the phrase 'against the run of play' could have been invented.

Andre Ayew struck the Swans' second with a penalty after Connor Roberts was wrestled to the ground by Adam Reach, before Atdhe Nuhiu headed in an injury-time consolation goal for Wednesday.

Steve Cooper's side are now eighth in the Championship and back within four points of the play-off places with five matches left this season. The Owls remain 14th.

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This was a timely victory for Swansea, who had resumed their season with an excellent 3-0 win at Middlesbrough, but then lost at home to Luton and drawn at Millwall, leaving them seven points adrift of the top six following Cardiff City's win at Bristol City on Saturday.

And despite being thoroughly outplayed by Wednesday in the first half here, the Swans recovered to keep their somewhat fragile play-off hopes intact.

Having switched to a 3-4-2-1 formation, Swansea's narrow three-man defence was initially severely stretched by Wednesday, whose right winger Jacob Murphy was given far too much space.

He found himself unmarked in the penalty area for his first chance, which he half-volleyed over the bar, and just a couple of minutes later his low shot was saved by Freddie Woodman.

Cooper's tactical change was playing right into Wednesday's hands, ironic as it appeared to be an attempt to nullify the visitors' own three-at-the-back system.

The early pattern would have been particularly pleasing for Wednesday boss Garry Monk, who was back at the club where he spent 11 years as player and coach and will have been encouraged to see his former team-mate Wayne Routledge struggle in his unfamiliar role of left wing-back.

The three defenders playing behind the 35-year-old playmaker, Jake Bidwell, Marc Guehi and Kyle Naughton, also looked uncomfortable in the new formation.

But Chelsea loanee Guehi, making only his sixth career league start, was perhaps the only real first-half positive for the home side, making a crucial block to deny Alessio Da Cruz what seemed a certain goal from close range.

Da Cruz missed another good chance moments before the interval as he headed over, and it was a small wonder that the first half ended goalless.

Cooper did not make any changes at the break and, against all the evidence of the opening 45 minutes, his patience paid dividends.

Roberts' hooked cross was flicked on by Jay Fulton to Brewster inside the box, and the England youth international fired into the roof of the net for his seventh goal in 15 appearances since joining the Swans on loan.

Improbable Swans win

Remarkably, it got even better for the hosts when they were awarded a penalty after Reach brought Roberts down as Swansea's Wales international attempted to meet a cross.

Ayew took the spot-kick, hesitated and sent Joe Wildsmith the wrong way to give Swansea a scarcely believable 2-0 lead.

Brewster had an opportunity to extend that advantage when a superb Naughton pass put him through on goal, but his shot hit the side netting.

Wednesday gave themselves a late lifeline when substitute Nuhiu headed in with around three of the additional seven minutes left.

A series of set-pieces for the Owls followed, but they were unable to snatch a late winner as they were left to rue their wasteful first-half finishing as Swansea held on for an improbable win.

Swansea manager Steve Cooper:

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"It was hard fought in the end - didn't love us first-half. We're better than that, particularly with the ball.

"Our positioning wasn't quite right and we had to change formation, things like that. But we can play much better than that with ball.

"In the second half we looked a lot more dangerous. The second goal, I know it's a penalty, but if you have a look at the move for it, it's fantastic and that's exactly how we want to play.

"So we were delighted to go 2-0 up, but we did get a bit nervy late on."

Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk:

"It's so, so frustrating. We had dominance in the first half and we should have been in a good position going into half-time. If you do that it makes it difficult for the other team.

"For all the dominance and good chances we had, we couldn't score and when you do that it leaves the door ajar.

"We made a couple of poor decisions and I was left thinking 'How have we got ourselves in this position?' That's been a bit of a theme this season.

"We played so well in the first half, but in the second we had some poor decisions and a few minutes of madness."

Line-ups

Swansea

  • 27Woodman
  • 26Naughton
  • 2Guehi
  • 24Bidwell
  • 23Roberts
  • 6FultonBooked at 33mins
  • 8Grimes
  • 15RoutledgeBooked at 58minsSubstituted forvan der Hoornat 63'minutes
  • 33GallagherSubstituted forByersat 69'minutes
  • 19BrewsterSubstituted forCullenat 88'minutes
  • 22A Ayew

Substitutes

  • 5van der Hoorn
  • 10Celina
  • 12Dyer
  • 18Kalulu
  • 21Dhanda
  • 25Mulder
  • 28Byers
  • 32Cullen
  • 44Cabango

Sheff Wed

  • 28Wildsmith
  • 2Palmer
  • 27Iorfa
  • 13Börner
  • 14Murphy
  • 5LeeSubstituted forHuntat 45'minutes
  • 10Bannan
  • 21LuongoSubstituted forNuhiuat 70'minutes
  • 20ReachBooked at 65minsSubstituted forK Harrisat 67'minutes
  • 19Wickham
  • 38Da CruzSubstituted forRhodesat 79'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Rhodes
  • 7K Harris
  • 8Pelupessy
  • 17Nuhiu
  • 22Odubajo
  • 25Dawson
  • 29Hunt
  • 35Hughes
  • 46Shaw
Referee:
Steve Martin

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamSheff Wed
Possession
Home53%
Away47%
Shots
Home7
Away10
Shots on Target
Home4
Away3
Corners
Home5
Away8
Fouls
Home12
Away20

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Swansea City 2, Sheffield Wednesday 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Swansea City 2, Sheffield Wednesday 1.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Sheffield Wednesday. Conceded by Jake Bidwell.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Julian Börner (Sheffield Wednesday) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Barry Bannan.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Mike van der Hoorn (Swansea City).

  6. Post update

    Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by André Ayew (Swansea City).

  8. Post update

    Alex Hunt (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  9. Goal!

    Goal! Swansea City 2, Sheffield Wednesday 1. Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday) header from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Jacob Murphy with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Jake Bidwell (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday).

  12. Post update

    Matt Grimes (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Alex Hunt (Sheffield Wednesday).

  14. Post update

    Foul by Liam Cullen (Swansea City).

  15. Post update

    Julian Börner (Sheffield Wednesday) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Substitution

    Substitution, Swansea City. Liam Cullen replaces Rhian Brewster because of an injury.

  17. Post update

    Offside, Swansea City. George Byers tries a through ball, but Rhian Brewster is caught offside.

  18. Post update

    Rhian Brewster (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Liam Palmer (Sheffield Wednesday).

  20. Post update

    Attempt missed. Atdhe Nuhiu (Sheffield Wednesday) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Barry Bannan.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leeds41239963342978
2West Brom412114671403177
3Brentford412191173334072
4Fulham4120101155441170
5Nottm Forest411814954411368
6Cardiff41161695851764
7Derby411613125653361
8Swansea411515115248460
9Millwall411417104844459
10Preston411610155250258
11Blackburn411511155653356
12Bristol City411510165360-755
13QPR41158186066-653
14Reading411410175348552
15Sheff Wed411410175056-652
16Wigan411311174553-850
17Birmingham411213165164-1349
18Stoke41137215461-746
19Charlton411210194655-946
20Huddersfield411210194963-1446
21Hull41129205672-1645
22Middlesbrough411014174053-1344
23Barnsley411011204566-2141
24Luton41117234678-3240
View full Championship table

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