Play-off drama | How the night unfolded for Swansea City

23rd July 2020
First team
Reading (A) full time 2

Swansea City have a two-legged Championship play-off semi-final against Brentford to look forward to after a night of scarcely believable drama.

Steve Cooper’s side entered the final game of the season knowing they had to beat Reading at the Madejski Stadium, but that they would also need help from elsewhere.

Cardiff and Nottingham Forest were their two rivals, both three points ahead of the Swans.

A defeat for either of those sides would open the door for Swansea, although they would also need a minimum goal difference swing of five in their favour if they were to usurp Forest.

Here, we look back on all the key moments and how events unfolded.

1st minute: All three games get under way with Cardiff hosting bottom side Hull and Nottingham Forest entertaining Stoke City on home turf.

17th minute: The Swans are the first of the trio of play-off hopefuls to register a goal as Rhian Brewster smashes in a fantastic long-range strike. It’s the on-loan Liverpool striker’s 10th goal since joining in January.

Reading (A) Brewster scores

19th minute: There is more good news for Swansea as, after weathering heavy pressure, Danny Batth pops up to head Stoke into the lead at the City Ground.

Stoke Danny Batth

20th minute: Meanwhile, at Cardiff, the hosts take a stride towards sealing their top-six spot as Junior Hoilett fires home on the angle to give them the lead.

Cardiff Junior Hoilett

34th minute: Cardiff put themselves firmly in control as Sean Morrison heads home their second. A defeat for the Bluebirds and a win for the Swans would have seen the sides swap places, but that avenue already appears well and truly closed off. If Swansea are to overtake anyone, it is going to have to be Forest.

40th minute: Swansea are aware they need goals and their quest is helped when Reading striker Yakou Meite is shown a straight red card after pushing Mike van der Hoorn in the face.

43rd minute: But the Swans quickly suffer a setback as Jake Bidwell brings down Andy Rinomhota in the area, and George Puscas levels from the spot.

Reading (A) Puscas penalty

45th minute: The half-time whistles go around the country and Swansea are facing an uphill battle. Forest are losing, Cardiff are winning, while the Swans are level and needing to score a number of goals to have any chance. To that end Cooper sends on Yan Dhanda and Wayne Routledge at the break for Jay Fulton and van der Hoorn.

61st minute: It’s bad news from the City Ground as Tobias Figueiredo heads Forest level against Stoke. There is less than half an hour to play.

66th minute: Routledge gives Swansea some hope as he superbly controls a lovely pass from Matt Grimes and lofts the ball over Rafael Cabral and into the net.

Reading (A) Routledge goal

73rd minute: Just over a quarter of an hour to go and there’s a glimmer of a lifeline as James McClean finishes from close range to restore Stoke’s lead. As it stands, Swansea still need three more goals.

Stoke James McClean

78th minute: That requirement is quickly reduced to two when Lee Gregory slides home another goal for the Potters. They now lead 3-1 in the East Midlands.

Stoke Lee Gregory

83rd minute: Danny Ward puts the seal on Cardiff’s win with their third goal. There is definitely one Welsh side in the play-offs, can the Swans make it two?

84th minute: They put themselves within tantalising reach when Liam Cullen, not long on the field as a substitute, superbly converts a half-volley to score his first senior goal for the club. Swansea need just one more goal provided nothing else happens at Forest.

Reading (A) Cullen celebration

88th minute: Swansea are now playing with only one man back in Marc Guehi, and the defender makes a vital block as Lucas Boye threatens to shatter their play-off dream. Erwin Mulder also makes two important saves from Omar Richards.

91st minute: Green and black shirts swarm forwards in search of the goal they need. After a move breaks down, Conor Gallagher and Brewster combine for the former to chip in an inviting cross that Routledge heads home. As it stands, Swansea are in the play-offs.

Reading (A) Routledge second goal

Full-time: The whistle goes at the Madejski, but Swansea are left waiting for news from Nottingham. As Cooper and his players wait a roar erupts from the stands behind them to let them know that Forest's Nuno da Costa has put through his own net to make it 4-1 to Stoke. The celebrations can begin.

Reading (A) full time 3