22/04/2017 14:00 v Stoke City

16th June 2017

The Swans recorded a first win in seven games as they continued their battle to beat the drop with a 2-0 victory over Stoke City.

Fernando Llorente headed the Swans into a 10th-minute lead in a game the hosts dominated.

Despite their advantage, an eventful 60 seconds after the break determined the outcome of the contest.

Stoke wasted a golden chance to level when Marko Arnautovic blasted his penalty way over the crossbar in the 69th minute.

Then, 60 seconds later, Tom Carroll's fine strike deflected off Joe Allen and past keeper Jack Butland.

The joy of victory was dampened, though, as fourth-bottom Hull City beat Watford 2-0 at home with ten men to retain their two-point advantage over the Swans with four games remaining.

The Swans needed to make an instant impression on this game, and they did just that.

Paul Clement's side were full of energy and bursting with enthusiasm.

Just three minutes were on the clock when the home side carved open their first opportunity, though Gylfi Sigurdsson rushed his shot when Kyle Naughton's cross had found him in space.

Sigurdsson was at it again soon after as he intercepted a pass inside Stoke's box but his attempt to find Fernando Llorente was blocked.

But the pair would link up to provide the combination the home crowd were so looking forward to after ten minutes.

Sigurdsson's pinpoint corner found the unmarked Llorente, and the Spaniard took full advantage to head home from close range.
The Swans kept pushing and pushing, with the home crowd urging them on.

Another chance arrived before the half-hour mark, with Stephen Kingsley's long throw being nodded along goal by Llorente, but Sigurdsson failed to connect with his volley.

Stoke were fully on the back foot, and there were rare glimpses of the visitors probing.

Saido Berahino should have found the target after 31 minutes when Joe Allen's cross found him ten yards out, but the striker's effort dropped well wide.

There was plenty of drama in additional time, too, with Jordan Ayew sent racing down the right by sub Ki Sung-Yueng - on for the injured Leroy Fer - but the Ghanaian's low angled drive struck the feet of keeper Jack Butland before fizzing along the face of goal and away from danger.

Then, with the last effort of the half, Berahino again got onto the end of the cross but fortunately he could only direct his header straight at Lukasz Fabianski from six yards.

Despite the home side's one-goal advantage, the tension levels were at fever pitch.

And that reflected in the opening exchanges of the second period, with neither team really threatening.

Just before the hour mark, Clement made a tactical change as defender Mike van der Hoorn replaced scorer Llorente.

It saw the Swans strengthen defensively as they looked to keep their lead intact.

The direction of the game then changed in one crazy minute.

Just as news filtered through that ten-man Hull had taken the lead against Watford, heads were firmly in hands at the Liberty as referee Michael Oliver pointed to the spot after Federico Fernandez downed Xherdan Shaqiri.

Up stepped Arnautovic, but the big Austrian skied his effort into the away fans behind the goal.

Relief turned to joy - and there was more joy for the Swans a minute later.

Tom Carroll took control of possession 25 yards out, and his left-footed effort deflected off Allen and over the diving Butland.

Carroll almost made it 3-0 only to be denied by a fine fingertip save from Butland soon after.

Stoke went on to create a few half chances, with Bruno Martins Indi firing over from close range.

But victory was secured, with the battle to beat the drop next seeing the Swans travel to Manchester United.

 

SWANS: Lukasz Fabianski, Kyle Naughton, Federico Fernandez, Alfie Mawson, Stephen Kingsley, Leon Britton (capt, Borja, 85)), Leroy Fer (Ki Sung-Yueng, 20), Tom Carroll, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jordan Ayew, Fernando Llorente (Mike van der Hoorn, 59)
SUBS: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Connor Roberts, Luciano Narsingh, Jefferson Montero.

STOKE: Jack Butland, Erik Pieters, Joe Allen, Glen Johnson, Marko Arnautovic (Mame Biram Diouf, 84), Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron, Xherdan Shaqiri, Peter Crouch, Saido Berahino (Ramadan Sobhi, 77).
SUBS: Lee Grant, Phil Bardsley, Marc Muniesa, Glenn Whelan, Charlie Adam.