Championship
SwanseaSwansea City2WatfordWatford1

Swansea City 2-1 Watford: Jamal Lowe brace takes Swansea up to second

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales at the Liberty Stadium
Jamal Lowe (left) with Marc Guehi
Jamal Lowe (left) has scored six goals in his past six games for Swansea

Swansea City rose to second place in the Championship as Jamal Lowe scored twice to help them overcome rival promotion contenders Watford.

In an entertaining first half, Tom Cleverley fired Watford in front before Swansea took control and equalised via Lowe's delightful curling effort.

Lowe headed in from Korey Smith's fine, deep cross to put the Swans 2-1 up.

Watford ended strongly and had chances to level, the best of which was volleyed over by Troy Deeney.

After winning their first match under Xisco Munoz, a first defeat for the Hornets under their new manager sees them drop to sixth in the table.

Swansea, meanwhile, move up into the automatic promotion places, four points behind leaders Norwich City.

Wednesday's goalless draw at home to Reading had seen the Swans miss an opportunity to close the gap on the Canaries, who had lost to Watford in Munoz's first match in charge on Boxing Day.

But on this occasion, even after falling behind, Swansea seized their chance to climb up the table.

This was a stern examination of their promotion credentials and, while there is a long way to go in this congested battle to return to the Premier League, head coach Steve Cooper will be encouraged by his team's response.

His counterpart Munoz had started his Watford reign with a notable victory over Norwich and he made just one enforced change to his team, bringing Nathaniel Chalobah into midfield to replace Etienne Capoue following his move to Villarreal.

Chalobah and his central midfield partner Cleverley started impressively against Swansea's three in the middle, helping Watford gain an early foothold in the match.

The visitors' front two of Andre Gray and Troy Deeney occupied the Swans' back three effectively, and it was Gray who played the pass to Cleverley for the opening goal, a powerful drive from 20 yards.

That strike ended a run of three successive clean sheets for Swansea but, after a slow start, Cooper's side improved to such an extent that it was something of a mystery as to how they were not ahead by half-time.

Andre Ayew missed their first chance, heading over from a Ryan Manning cross on the left, before Jay Fulton cleared the crossbar after good work on the opposite flank by Connor Roberts.

Ayew then had a firmly hit half-volley superbly tipped over by Ben Foster, who made another fine save soon afterwards to deny Smith.

A Swansea goal was coming and it duly arrived two minutes before the break, as Lowe calmly took aim from the edge of the penalty area and guided a delicate curling shot in off the post.

The second half could not match the first for excitement and scoring opportunities, although the home side were still in the ascendancy in its early stages.

They felt wronged to have a goal disallowed as Jake Bidwell was deemed offside after heading in from Roberts' excellent whipped cross from the right.

Swansea's second goal came from the same part of the pitch, Smith this time delivering an even better, deeper cross to the back post, where Lowe was on hand to nod in.

Cooper's side were well worth their lead but they had to withstand sustained Watford pressure for much of the final 20 minutes, a flurry of corners followed by a good chance for Deeney, which he volleyed over.

That was to prove their best opportunity to equalise and Swansea saw out the closing stages with the welcome addition of a substitute appearance from Morgan Gibbs-White, the Wolves loanee making a timely return from three months out injured just as the race for promotion gathers pace.

Swansea City head coach Steve Cooper:

"I think it was the right result and the consequence of a brilliant performance.

"I thought we were by far the superior team. We gave up a bit of territory late on, but that happens when it's only a one-goal margin.

"The idea was to really commit to playing with the ball today. I felt that we could build out from the back, through their formation and find obvious spaces to play in.

"We showed great character and resilience after going 1-0 down against the run of play to not let it phase us and carry on as we were. The lads were brilliant today. They got the right rewards."

Watford head coach Xisco Munoz:

"The team had personality and passion, we had good chances, so there are good things, which we need to continue.

"I am happy with the guys because they gave the maximum. It's to be continued. We know we made mistakes, but we carry on tomorrow and prepare for the next game.

"The Championship is strong and it's a difficult competition. My job is working with these guys. I have been here for two weeks and I believe in them."

Line-ups

Swansea

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Woodman
  • 5GuehiBooked at 21mins
  • 44Cabango
  • 24BidwellBooked at 33mins
  • 23Roberts
  • 6Fulton
  • 8GrimesBooked at 45mins
  • 3ManningSubstituted forGibbs-Whiteat 85'minutes
  • 7Smith
  • 10A Ayew
  • 9Lowe

Substitutes

  • 11Gibbs-White
  • 13Benda
  • 14Gyökeres
  • 15Routledge
  • 21Dhanda
  • 31Cooper
  • 38Evans
  • 41Garrick
  • 45Palmer

Watford

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1Foster
  • 21Femenía
  • 31Sierralta
  • 6Wilmot
  • 3NgakiaSubstituted forMasinaat 45'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 23Sarr
  • 8CleverleySubstituted forHughesat 90'minutes
  • 14ChalobahBooked at 42minsSubstituted forGarnerat 60'minutes
  • 12Sema
  • 18Gray
  • 9Deeney

Substitutes

  • 5Troost-Ekong
  • 11Masina
  • 16Garner
  • 19Hughes
  • 26Bachmann
  • 32Navarro
  • 40Dalby
  • 44Hungbo
  • 49Crichlow
Referee:
Darren Bond

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamWatford
Possession
Home54%
Away46%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away8
Fouls
Home12
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Swansea City 2, Watford 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Swansea City 2, Watford 1.

  3. Post update

    Foul by Jake Bidwell (Swansea City).

  4. Post update

    Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Troy Deeney.

  6. Substitution

    Substitution, Watford. Will Hughes replaces Tom Cleverley.

  7. Booking

    Adam Masina (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  8. Post update

    André Ayew (Swansea City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Adam Masina (Watford).

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Watford) header from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kiko Femenía.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Matt Grimes (Swansea City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by André Ayew.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Ben Wilmot.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Swansea City. Morgan Gibbs-White replaces Ryan Manning because of an injury.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Jamal Lowe (Swansea City).

  15. Post update

    Ismaila Sarr (Watford) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Ken Sema with a cross.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by André Ayew.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Francisco Sierralta (Watford) header from very close range is blocked. Assisted by Ken Sema with a cross.

  19. Post update

    Corner, Watford. Conceded by Ben Cabango.

  20. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

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As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich23145431201147
2Swansea23127427131443
3Bournemouth22118337181941
4Brentford22118336211541
5Reading2312473428640
6Watford2210752517837
7Middlesbrough22106628181036
8Stoke239862622435
9Barnsley2310492729-234
10Bristol City2210392324-133
11Blackburn2395938271132
12Preston23102113031-132
13Huddersfield2394102832-431
14Luton228682024-430
15Cardiff228592925429
16Coventry236892231-926
17Millwall2151061820-225
18Birmingham2358101729-1223
19Nottm Forest2357111626-1022
20QPR224992030-1021
21Sheff Wed2367101523-819
22Derby2247111424-1019
23Rotherham2044121929-1016
24Wycombe2336141635-1915
View full Championship table

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