Report: Blackburn 2 Swans 2
Swansea City ended the 2018-19 season with a draw as goals from Courtney Baker-Richardson and Oli McBurnie earned them a share of the spoils at Ewood Park.
The visitors had trailed to Darragh Lenihan’s goal but had looked set for a first win here since 1971 when they led at the break.
Those goals came courtesy of fine headers from Baker-Richardson and McBurnie, scoring their fifth and 24th goals of the season respectively.
But Bradley Dack’s composed finish got the home side back on terms.
It means the Swans finish 10th in the Championship, having lost just one of their last nine games and they will head into the off-season with plenty of optimism and encouragement.
Their fine late-season form had seen Graham Potter’s side thrust themselves into play-off contention.
And, although a top-six place was not to be, the growth and development of a young squad has been clear to see under Potter’s tutelage.
The Swans boss had made three changes for the season finale, handing Baker-Richardson, Jay Fulton and Declan John starts in place of Daniel James, Barrie McKay and Kyle Naughton.
The home side started sharply, with Amari’i Bell looking sharp down the Rovers left and nearly setting up an early chance after getting around Connor Roberts.
But the Swans soon began to settle, with some lovely build-up between McBurnie and John almost teeing up Baker-Richardson.
There had been little goalmouth action but the Swans fell behind in the 21st minute after some poor defending.
The visitors had barely been under pressure but when Joe Rothwell reacted first to a Kristoffer Nordfeldt punch, he fired a ball into the box which was deflected towards the far post.
Under pressure from Lenihan, Nordfeldt this time missed his punch completely and the ball found the far corner of the net.
But the Swans responded superbly and were level four minutes later. Wayne Routledge produced a smart turn on the left flank to whip in a cross, and Baker-Richardson stole a march on his marker to glance the ball home.
Ten minutes later and the Swans led as they caught Blackburn sleeping at a free-kick. Matt Grimes’ shallow delivery picked out McBurnie, and he headed home superbly to find the near corner for his 24th goal of the season.
Baker-Richardson should have extended the lead just a few moments later, but the striker dragged wide after doing well to get away from the cover.
The striker nearly turned home another chance before the interval after a flowing move, with George Byers seeing his follow-up effort blocked after the keeper had just about kept the ball out.
Having ended the first half so strongly, Swansea could not have made a worse start to the second as Blackburn levelled just 90 seconds after the restart.
It was all far too easy as Danny Graham flicked the ball into the path of Dack, who coolly beat Nordfeldt to find the far corner.
Blackburn were firmly on the front foot and nearly retook the lead as Adam Armstrong’s cross found Graham, with the striker’s cushioned finish hitting the post.
It took Swansea a little time to settle back down, but they began to retain possession once more and find some semblance of control.
However, it was the hosts who were on the front foot and Nordfeldt made an excellent save from Jacob Davenport’s dipping volley with 12 minutes to play.
Swansea went up the other end and saw Roberts whip an inviting ball across goal with no reward, while Nordfeldt then denied Craig Conway as it ended all-square.
Blackburn Rovers: Jason Leutwiler, Derrick Williams, Adam Armstrong, Joe Rothwell, Danny Graham (Craig Conway 67), Amari'i Bell, Bradley Dack, Darragh Lenihan, Lewis Travis, Corry Evans (Harry Chapman 74), Eliott Bennett (capt) (Jacob Davenport 28).
Subs: David Raya, Charlie Mulgrew, Ben Brereton, Danny Butterworth.
Swansea City: Kristoffer Nordfeldt; Connor Roberts, Mike van der Hoorn (capt), Cameron Carter-Vickers, Declan John; George Byers (Joel Asoro 78), Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes; Wayne Routledge (Nathan Dyer 87), Courtney Baker-Richardson (Yan Dhanda 62), Oli McBurnie.
Subs: Steven Benda, Kyle Naughton, Joe Rodon, Barrie McKay.