Saturday 8th January 2022
Swansea.com Stadium
17:30

SWA Swansea

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SOU Southampton

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Liam Walsh

Swansea City exited the FA Cup as they lost out to Southampton after extra time in an entertaining third-round tie at the Swansea.com Stadium.

The Saints had taken an early lead through Nathan Redmond, but were reduced to 10 men when Yan Valery was dismissed after receiving a second yellow card after half an hour.

The Swans levelled through Joel Piroe to ensure the additional period was needed, and a Jan Bednarek own goal then gave them the advantage.

However, Mohamed Elyounoussi rapidly levelled for the Premier League visitors, with Shane Long firing in what proved to be the winner.

This had been the Swans first game in a month after league games against QPR, Millwall, Luton and Fulham fell foul of Covid cases.

Russell Martin’s side was skippered by Flynn Downes, while Brandon Cooper, Kyle Naughton, Liam Walsh, Liam Cullen and Michael Obafemi were all handed starts as five changes were made from the game against Nottingham Forest back on December 11.

Despite having not played for a considerable spell, the hosts started promisingly. Walsh fired just wide of Fraser Forster’s near post, while Piroe and Korey Smith delivered threatening balls into the box.

Michael Obafemi

But it was the visitors who took the lead as a loose pass by Walsh was seized on by Nathan Tella, who fed Redmond in on goal to slot beyond an exposed Ben Hamer.

The Swans looked to respond, Naughton seeing a long-range strike deflected over the bar, while Tella also cleared the woodwork at the other end under pressure from Piroe.

Ryan Bennett made an excellent clearance at the far post after more good work by Tella as the visitors began to take a stranglehold on the game.

Cooper got back well to deny Armado Broja as there was no flag while Swansea appealed for offside, before Bennett sliced a clearance across his own area after Redmond had driven to the byline.

However, the Saints were reduced to 10 men on the half-hour as Valery was given his marching orders.

The Saints winger had been booked for a challenge on Ryan Manning earlier in the game, and was adjudged to have brought Obafemi to ground as he threatened to get in on goal from Cullen’s cross-field pass.

With the numerical advantage, the Swans enjoyed more possession and asked questions of the opposition rearguard, with Piroe seeing a deflected effort held by Forster.

Joel Piroe

Downes then thumped a volley over the bar but the hosts remained behind at the interval.

There were no changes for either side at the start of the second period and there were opportunities at both ends.

Tella scampered into the Swansea area and flicked a cross away from the advancing Hamer, but could not find another black shirt.

At the other end a fine pass from Walsh looked to have sent Piroe through, only for a flag to deny him.

Jack Stephens then spurned a glorious chance for Saints, arriving at the far post to meet a James Ward-Prowse free-kick unmarked but heading wastefully wide.

On the hour Martin introduced Matt Grimes and Olivier Ntcham in place of Walsh and Cooper.

Cullen saw a cross cut out with Piroe waiting, while Hamer gathered in a fierce Oriol Romeu strike at the second attempt as the last 20 minutes approached.

But the Swans found a leveller after Forster had been unable to hold a cross from Naughton, and Piroe was on hand to hammer home his 13th goal of the season.

Russell Martin

The hosts nearly led seconds later, Forster weakly parrying a shot out to Cullen, but the keeper held the striker’s volley.

Extra time now loomed but Piroe looked ready to settle the tie inside the regulation 90 when Obafemi sent him through, but Forster stuck out a leg to deny the Dutchman what would surely have been the winner.

That ensured the additional period would be required, but the Swans did not need much of it to take the lead through a Bednarek own goal.

Ryan Manning played a superb pass out to Ntcham, the Frenchman rifled a ball across the area and the defender could only turn it into his own net.

Olivier Ntcham

But the lead lasted a matter of seconds, as Bennett was unable to cut out Shane Long’s cross and Elyounoussi had the time to control and fire into the net.

And it was Long who put Southampton back in front as he converted at the far post from a magnificent Ward-Prowse cross.

It was end-to-end stuff and Swansea nearly produced a rapid equaliser of their own, Ntcham arrowing a low shot narrowly wide after Forster had parried Yan Dhanda’s curling effort from distance.

Piroe headed over in the second half of extra-time and it proved the last big chance for the Swans.

Swansea City: Ben Hamer; Ryan Bennett, Flynn Downes (captain), Brandon Cooper (Olivier Ntcham 61); Kyle Naughton, Korey Smith (Rhys Williams 113), Liam Walsh (Matt Grimes 61), Ryan Manning; Joel Piroe, Liam Cullen (Yan Dhanda 85); Michael Obafemi (Jay Fulton 91).

Unused Substitutes: Steven Benda, Jake Bidwell, Dan Williams, Azeem Abdulai.

Southampton: Fraser Forster; Jan Valery, Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek, Romain Perraud; Stuart Armstrong (Ibrahima Diallo 65), James Ward-Prowse (captain), Oriol Romeu, Nathan Tella (Mohamed Elyounoussi 77); Nathan Redmond (Adam Armstrong 65), Armando Broja (Shane Long 77).

Unused Substitutes: Willy Caballero, Lyanco Vojnovic, Dynel Simeu, Kgaogelo Chauke, Kazeem Olaigbe.

Referee: Simon Hooper