13/05/2017 14:00 v Sunderland
Swansea City took another giant stride towards Premier League survival by beating Sunderland 2-0 at the Stadium of Light.
It was not always pretty – particularly in a scrappy second half – but Paul Clement’s men did not care a jot as they delivered a first away win in four months.
The Swans have now taken 10 points from their last four games, a superb run at this crucial stage in the season.
Both goals on Wearside came in the first half, with Fernando Llorente heading his team in front early on before Kyle Naughton popped up in the penalty area to double the Swans’ advantage.
Clement’s side are now four points clear of the relegation zone ahead of their final-day meeting with West Bromwich Albion.
But all eyes will be on Selhurst Park on Sunday, when 16th-placed Crystal Palace take on Hull City, who are 18th.
If Palace win, the Swans will be safe with a game to spare.
The Swans made a confident start, stroking the ball around nicely in the early stages.
And to the delight of the 3,000 travelling fans housed high above Jordan Pickford’s goal, the Swans struck an early blow.
Only nine minutes were on the clock when Victor Anichebe felled Kyle Naughton wide on the Swans’ right flank.
Gylfi Sigurdsson swung in the free-kick which resulted and, after Pickford had come off his line and failed to get there, Llorente rose highest to nod the ball home.
The Spaniard’s 14th goal of the season was just what the Swans needed, and they continued to play some nice football as the first half wore on.
Another free-kick had Sigurdsson interested, although he was long way from goal and his effort was comfortably gathered by Pickford.
Sunderland’s cause was not aided by two early injuries, with Jason Denayer and Anichebe both having to be replaced before half-time.
But the home side did have the Swans worried on 36 minutes when Seb Larsson’s corner was met by Billy Jones.
He headed the ball down to Jermain Defoe but, with the angle tight, Lukasz Fabianski got across to smother the striker’s shot.
It seemed the Swans would go in at half-time with a one-goal advantage, yet in the second of three added minutes at the end of the first period, they grabbed a second goal.
A controlled spell of possession ended when Leon Britton strode forward in central midfield before squaring for Ki Sung-Yueng.
He rolled a sweet ball down the inside right channel, where Naughton arrived to drill a fierce shot beyond Pickford and into the far corner.
What a time this was for the former Tottenham player to score his first goal for the Swans, and his first anywhere since March 2011.
The Swans’ task in the second period was simply to carry on where they had left off in the first.
There was plenty of endeavour on display from the visitors as they set about building on their 2-0 lead, with Clement’s men working hard to defend their advantage.
Sunderland struggled to create much initially, although Seb Larsson reckoned the Black Cats should have had a penalty for handball when his free-kick struck Sigurdsson.
Some Swans sloppiness in possession meant more opportunities for Sunderland to get forward, with Fabio Borini’s shot deflecting into the side netting before Wahbi Khazri volleyed wide from the corner which followed.
With energy levels dipping, Clement sent on Leroy Fer to give his team some extra thrust in midfield.
But Fer’s first contribution was to give away a free-kick which almost led to a Sunderland goal.
Khazri curled the set-piece around the wall, forcing Fabianski to scramble across his line to make a save.
The ball rebounded to the onrushing Jones, but he wasted a golden chance by shooting just wide of the upright.
Jack Cork replaced Britton on 77 minutes as Clement opted for another pair of fresh legs.
There was another scare for the Swans when Khazri – who was booked but might have seen red after an ugly challenge on Sigurdsson – drilled in a shot which Fabianski beat away.
Defoe’s eyes lit up as the rebound dropped to him, but his deflected wide off Federico Fernandez and the Swans escaped.
With that, the Swans could celebrate a first away clean sheet since the opening day of the season - and a priceless victory.
SUNDERLAND: Jordan Pickford, Billy Jones, Jason Denayer (Darron Gibson, 19), Sebastion Larsson, Fabio Borini, John O'Shea (capt), Didier Ndong, Jermain Defoe, Javier Manquillo, Lamine Kone, Victor Anichebe (Wahbi Khazri, 36).
SUBS: Vito Mannone, Bryan Oviedo, Papy Djilobodji, Jack Rodwell, Lynden Gooch.
SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson, Martin Olsson, Leon Britton (capt, Jack Cork, 77), Ki Sung-Yueng (Leroy Fer, 67), Tom Carroll, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Ayew, Fernando Llorente (Luciano Narsingh, 89).
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Mike van der Hoorn, Stephen Kingsley, Borja.