Swansea City 2-3 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 6th Oct 2018 17:22
Trevoh Chalobah’s 84th minute header saw Town to their first victory of the Paul Hurst era as the Blues beat Swansea City 3-2 in a topsy-turvy game at the Liberty Stadium. A Janoi Donacien own goal put the Swans in front in the eighth minute as the home side dominated but Gwion Edwards and Freddie Sears gave Town an unlikely lead via goals in the 27th and 31st minutes. The Blues held on to their lead until the 79th minute when former loanee Bersant Celina lashed in an equaliser but Town weren’t to be denied the three points and Chalobah headed his second of the season five minutes later.
Edwards, Sears, Matthew Pennington and Andre Dozzell all started for the Blues with Jonas Knudsen, Jon Nolan, Kayden Jackson and Jordan Graham dropping to the bench having been in the XI which lost 2-0 to Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
Knudsen’s usual left-back role went to Donacien, who moved from right-back with Matthew Pennington returning after his one-match ban.
Skipper Luke Chambers and Toto Nsiala continued at the centre of the defence in front of keeper Dean Gerken.
Cole Skuse and Chalobah were in their usual deeper midfield roles with Dozzell, making his first start since the opening day of last season, coming in for Nolan ahead of them.
Edwards, facing the club where he came through the youth ranks, was on the right with Grant Ward on the left and Freddie Sears the lone striker.
Young striker Jack Lankester was on the bench for the senior side in a competitive fixture for the first time having been handed the number 36 shirt. Another academy product, left-back Bailey Clements, also made the trip to Wales but didn’t make the final 18.
Former Blues loanee Celina started for the Swans, while another of last season’s Town loan players, Cameron Carter-Vickers, was among their subs.
The home side threatened in the opening seconds, Town having lost the ball soon after kicking off. Dan James broke into the left of the box and hit a shot which Gerken blocked. Connor Roberts was unable to divert the rebound goalwards.
Town threatened for the first time in the third minute, Dozzell threading a pass through for Sears, who beat the offside trap and was in on goal. However, the ball seemed to get stuck under the former Colchester man’s feet and he was caught by Joe Rodon, who stabbed behind for a corner.
Aside from that chance - and it was a very decent opportunity - the early stages were dominated by Swansea and in the ninth minute they went in front via a Donacien own goal.
James sent a ball across the six-yard box from the left following a one-two with Celina which Oli McBurnie failed to reach. But Roberts crossed back in from the right and the ball beat Gerken off the St Lucian defender.
Ward shot from distance for Town on 10 but without significantly troubling Kristoffer Nordfeldt in the Swans goal.
Sears was subsequently sent away down the right channel and won a corner, Nsiala just failing to connect with a far-post header. Soon after, the former West Ham man broke away again but chipped his cross over the bar with his options in the box limited in any case.
On 20 the lively James again burst away behind the Blues’ backline on the left and as previously McBurnie was just unable to get a touch on his low cross.
James was giving Pennington a tough time and four minutes later he escaped again before cutting back to Celina, who fortunately for the Blues screwed his shot well wide.
It had been all Swansea but in the 27th minute Town equalised via former Swan and local boy Edwards's third goal of the season. Sears crossed superbly from the left and the winger nodded across Nordfeldt and into the net from a few yards out.
Four minutes later, the same pair combined in reverse to hand the Blues a lead which had looked hugely unlikely only moments earlier.
Sears fed Edwards on the right and broke forward into the area before flicking the Welshman’s ball into the box across Nordfeldt, although Swans skipper Van der Hoorn may have got the final touch. Nevertheless Sears celebrated and will presumably claim his first goal of the season.
Shocked Swansea went about trying to restore parity and went close in the 35th minute. Celina was sent away on the right of the box and played inside to McBurnie. The Scotland international cut past Pennington but was thwarted by Gerken who came out quickly to block his shot.
The Blues briefly found themselves under pressure but on 42 weren’t too far from a third. Edwards broke away down the right and sent the ball across the six-yard box but just too far in front of Sears.
Town ended the half with their lead still intact and with the Swans having continued to dominate possession but without creating a further chance.
The home side will have gone in scratching their heads wondering quite how they found themselves behind.
They had completely dominated the early stages and scored the early goal which ought to have seen them on the way to a comfortable half-time lead.
However, they were unable to profit from their advantage and Town twice caught them with a sucker punch with Sears and Edwards having created problems on the break all half and the Blues might even have added a third late on.
Both sides made a change at the break. Knudsen was restored to his regular left-back role for Donacien for the Blues, while the Swans swapped Kyle Naughton for Joel Asoro.
Celina blazed an early chance following a corner high and wide, then in the 50th minute Dozzell curled a freekick over after Ward had been fouled.
Sears continued to be a threat on the break for the Blues but the game quickly returned to a pattern similar to the first half with the Swans dominating possession for the most part but with Town now seeing more of the ball and probing deeper into the opposition half.
On 55 Swansea twice went close to levelling from a Celina corner on the right. Rodon headed against the bar, then Van der Hoorn nodded the rebound over. Three minutes later, the Swans switched George Byers for Leroy Fer.
Ward was inches away from adding a third for the Blues in the 59th minute. Dozzell wrong-footed a defender with a clever reverse pass, giving Ward space to break from midway inside the Swans half. Eventually the former Spurs man unleashed a 25-yard strike which flew not far past Nordfeldt’s left post.
The Welsh side went similarly close in the 63rd minute. Celina left Nsiala in his wake and played another low ball across the six-yard box from the left but once again just too far in front of McBurnie.
Swansea were beginning to up the pressure again and Van der Hoorn forced Gerken to save his flick following a corner on the right but having strayed offside. On 68 Dozzell was booked for time-wasting at a Swans freekick.
After a spell in which the Blues had begun to see more of the ball, the home side replaced Van der Hoorn with winger Barrie McKay as they moved to three at the back.
Seconds after the change Celina was played through on goal only to be thwarted by a superb sliding challenge from Chambers.
The game was becoming increasingly open and on 78 Sears broke away on the right and sent over a deep cross which the Swansea defence took several goes at clearing.
However, once they had managed to extricate it from their box and with Town having committed too many men forward, they scored the leveller via ex-Blues loanee Celina.
McKay fed Celina on halfway as the home side broke quickly and incisively and the Kosovan, who joined the Swans on a permanent basis in the summer from Manchester City, struck a powerful low effort from distance, which flew just inside Gerken’s left post.
While the Swans celebrated, Dozzell was subbed for Flynn Downes, a switch the Blues had been looking to do before the goal. Soon after the restart Chalobah was booked for a foul on Fer.
The momentum seemed to be with the Swans after the goal with their crowd now very much behind them.
However, the Blues didn’t crumble and Skuse struck a powerful effort from the edge of the box which deflected wide.
And in the 84th minute they restored their lead. Ward sent over a corner from the right and Chalobah rose highest to nod down, through a crowd of players and into the net. The on-loan Chelsea man and his team-mates celebrated his second Town goal wildly in front of the travelling Blues support.
Asoro turned a cross from the right wide, then Chambers just got ahead of McBurnie to head out for a corner as the Swans began their search for another equaliser.
Town brought Kayden Jackson on for Edwards deep in injury time before McKay shot wide with what was to prove the home side’s last attempt of the match.
The Blues might even have grabbed a late fourth, Jackson cutting back to the by-now exhausted Sears, who screwed well wide.
Not too long after, the whistle blew to a huge cheer from the Town support at the end of a long, long wait - since the Reading game in last season’s penultimate match, a winless run of 12 league games and the Carabao Cup tie at Exeter - for a victory.
The players celebrated with the fans and there was the welcome first sight of a Chambers fist pump during the Hurst era.
Having looked as if they were on their way to a defeat - and probably a heavy one at that - for most of the first half, the Blues, who always looked a threat on the break via Edwards and man of the match Sears, staged an unlikely turnaround.
They looked like they were going to hold on to their advantage in a more even second half until Celina’s goal looked to have broken their hearts once again.
However, they showed remarkable spirit as the game looked to have swung in Swansea’s direction to grab their third and finally end their wait for a win.
Whether the victory will be enough to save manager Hurst’s job remains to be seen as the season moves into the October international break, traditionally a time when club owners assess whether to change their bosses.
Town’s result and the scorelines elsewhere see the Blues stay 23rd but with a very significant millstone having been removed from their necks.
Swansea: Nordfeldt, Van der Hoorn (McKay 75), McBurnie, Celina, Carroll, James, Grimes, Rodon, Roberts, Naughton (Asoro 46), Byers (Fer 58). Unused: Mulder, Olsson, Carter-Vickers, Fulton.
Town: Gerken, Pennington, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Donacien (Knudsen 46), Skuse, Chalobah, Edwards (Jackson 90), Dozzell (Downes 80), Ward, Sears. Unused: Bialkowski, Nolan, Graham, Lankester. Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands). Att 18,810.
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