Words: Ben Woodcock
Second-half goals from Rhian Brewster and Andre Ayew kept Swansea City’s play-off hopes alive and punished the Owls for missing several chances whilst dominating in the first-half.
Jacob Murphy could have added two goals to his tally within the opening 15 minutes. His first chance came in unorthodox fashion from a deflected Adam Reach cross which bounced just before the Newcastle United loanee made contact. He was unable to provide the finish required and sent the ball flying over the crossbar.
His second chance came a couple of minutes later when he surged forward into space and let fly towards goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, who gathered at the second attempt.
On the half-hour mark, Alessio Da Cruz had an opportunity to open his account for Wednesday when Jacob Murphy’s scuffed cross had The Swans defence in a muddle. The ball fell to the feet of Da Cruz but he saw his strike blocked on the line by Marc Guehi.
Just before the half-time interval, the man on loan from Italian outfit Parma had an even clearer chance to break the deadlock. his time Barry Bannan was the architect with a sweeping ball into the danger zone, and Da Cruz made great contact with his header but couldn’t keep it on target.
Garry Monk’s side seemed to lose all their momentum that they built up in the first-half and were soon ruing missed opportunities.
The first warning sign came from an Andre Ayew free-kick that was dealt with unconvincingly by Joe Wildsmith and put behind by Murphy.
Then, on 52 minutes, Rhian Brewster put his name up in lights once more when a hooked ball into the area from Connor Roberts evaded everybody before the young Liverpool starlet hammered home his seventh Championship goal of the season.
This knocked the stuffing out of the Owls, who were chasing the game for the remainder of the half.
14 minutes after going ahead, Swansea were handed an opportunity to make the lead more comfortable when Adam Reach poleaxed Connor Roberts in the 18-yard-box. Ayew sent Joe Wildsmith the wrong way from the resultant penalty, netting his 14th league goal of the campaign.
The visitors did rally late on, and Atdhe Nuhiu could have made the final 10 minutes of the contest very interesting had he slotted home on the volley after great control on the chest.
Nuhiu did grab his 48th goal for Wednesday, when he planted his header firmly past Woodman after connecting with a great cross from Murphy.
Wednesday did have the chance to snatch an equaliser right at the death, but Julian Borner could only direct his header down the throat of the grateful Woodman.
This win sees Swansea sit four points behind their South Wales rivals Cardiff City, who occupy the final play-off spot. They will be hoping to close the gap further when they travel to St Andrew’s to take on Birmingham City. Elsewhere, Wednesday are back on home turf looking to avoid a third straight defeat as they welcome Preston North End to Hillsborough.
FT: Swansea City 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday
View from the dugouts:
Garry Monk: “So, so frustrating to perform that well in the first half and be that dominant. We should have been in a very comfortable place at half time but a couple of poor decisions after and we are punished.
“It’s been a bit of a theme, for all the good work we’ve done, we should have firmly shut the door on them in the first half, but we weren’t ruthless enough.”
Steve Cooper: “Three points was the main objective, we had to win with the way results went yesterday. We got them, and it was hard-fought.
“I did not love us first half, we are better than that with the ball. We realised at half-time we needed to improve, we talked it through and in the second half we played some good football and were a lot more dangerous.”
Man of the Match: Marc Guehi