26/12/2018 15:00 v Aston Villa
Wilfried Bony saw his penalty saved in the dying moments as Swansea City suffered a frustrating defeat to Aston Villa at the Liberty Stadium.
Graham Potter's men had more than matched opponents who have been in a fine vein of form, but fell behind when Conor Hourihane headed home after 65 minutes.
The Swans pressed for an equaliser, but their best chance went begging when Orjan Nyland denied Bony from the spot at the death.
The home side had started crisply, with a lovely interchange of passing seeing Oli McBurnie swivel to fire off a volley, which was blocked to safety.
Bersant Celina was the next Swans player to try his luck, sweeping across the face of goal after good work from Matt Grimes and Connor Roberts.
The hosts continued to press, forcing Nyland into the first meaningful save of the afternoon as Mike van der Hoorn connected with Daniel James’ cross.
But the Swans needed an outstanding save from Erwin Mulder to avoid falling behind in the 19th minute, the Dutchman somehow diverting John McGinn’s strike to safety following a knockdown from Tammy Abraham.
The clearest opportunity yet arrived 11 minutes before the break when Van der Hoorn freed James on the left.
McBurnie sought to get up in support but was pulled back repeatedly by James Chester, the offence was missed by the officials and the Swansea striker was off-balance and unable to finish when the cross arrived.
At the other end, Abraham and Yannick Bolasie were off target with headed efforts as the first half ended goalless.
As with the opening half, Swansea were quick out of the blocks at the start of the second period, with Celina seeing a volley deflected wide and Fer working Nyland.
Villa responded with Mulder palming away a Bolasie strike that had flown high into the air off a Swansea foot.
The Swans keeper was soon palming two Hourihane free-kicks around his post as the action ranged from end to end.
Potter send on Jefferson Montero for James just past the hour mark only for Swansea to fall behind just three minutes later.
Bolasie worked room for Alan Hutton down the left, and Hourihane arrived to power a header into the net off the underside of the bar.
Bony and Nathan Dyer soon followed Montero into the fray, but the Swans could not convert when Van der Hoorn knocked a ball down into a group of players on the edge of the six-yard box.
Bony fired straight at Nyland following good pressing work by McBurnie, before Van der Hoorn struck the outside of the woodwork from Grimes’ deep corner.
Swansea were then handed a gilt-edged chance to level as Anwar El-Ghazi fouled Dyer in the area.
Bony stepped up but his effort was saved by Nyland to ensure the afternoon ended in disappointment.
Swansea City: Erwin Mulder; Connor Roberts, Mike van der Hoorn, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kyle Naughton; Jay Fulton (Nathan Dyer 69), Leroy Fer (captain) (Wilfried Bony 69), Matt Grimes; Bersant Celina, Daniel James (Jefferson Montero 62); Oli McBurnie.
Subs not used: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Joe Rodon, George Byers, Barrie McKay.
Aston Villa: Orjan Nyland, James Chester (captain), Glenn Whelan, John McGinn, Yannick Bolasie (Albert Adomah 75), Conor Hourihane (Birkir Bjarnason 90), James Bree, Tammy Abraham (Jonathan Kodjia 88), Alan Hutton, Anwar El-Ghazi, Ahmed Elmohamady.
Subs not used: Scott Hogan, Keinan Davis, Mark Bunn, Dominic Revan.