Report | Blackburn Rovers 2 Swansea City 1
Jamie Paterson marked his debut with a goal but it was not enough to see Swansea City pick up a point in Russell Martin’s first game in charge at Ewood Park.
Goals from Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton Diaz, the latter from the penalty spot after Steven Benda had fouled Tyrhys Dolan, had put Rovers two goals to the good.
But the Swans – who signalled their intent to look to build play from the back from the off – grew into the game and became more assured as it went on.
Paterson fired high into the net after a lovely, flowing attack and the visitors had the better of the final 30 minutes or so.
Liam Cullen was denied an equaliser by a superb save from Thomas Kaminski, while there were moments where an accurate final pass would have created an opportunity.
It meant head coach Martin saw his first game end in defeat, but there was no doubting there was plenty of encouragement to be taken from a challenging afternoon where his methods were clear to see right from the outset.
Paterson was handed a full debut following his arrival on a free transfer, with Matt Grimes returning to captain the side and Cullen partnering Jamal Lowe in attack.
From the off, the new head coach’s methods and focus on the training field were plain to see.
The Swans looked to play out from the back, with Benda often joining the build-up from a distance outside his area to create an extra passing option.
Inevitably, given the short turnaround from Martin’s appointment, there were a few moments where things went awry and Blackburn profited.
Benda made a good save to deny Dolan after Grimes had been dispossessed facing his own goal, with Brereton Diaz then firing high and wide shortly after.
But, there were also moments of real promise, with Ben Cabango sending Cullen in on goal, where the striker was denied by Kaminski in the Blackburn goal.
Lowe then threatened after neat link play with Paterson and Korey Smith as the Swans started to pose some questions.
Blackburn responded with Jake Bidwell blocking another Dolan effort, before Lowe went down in the area but had any penalty appeals waved away.
The breakthrough came nine minutes before the break as Brereton Diaz raced through the middle of the defence.
He was denied by a fine stop from Benda, but Gallagher was on hand to steer in the follow up.
Joe Rothwell worked Benda again, before the Swans had a good spell of pressure in first-half stoppage time which saw Smith and Paterson have shots blocked.
The Swans needed a strong start to the second half, but Rovers doubled their lead from the penalty spot through Brereton Diaz.
Benda conceded the spot-kick for fouling Dolan after the forward had taken the ball off him in his own area.
The Swans were denied an instant response as they worked Naughton in on goal down the right, but his low effort was saved.
However, Swansea got themselves back into the game with a fine goal from Paterson after some slick inter-passing.
Smith was heavily involved in prompting things, and when he and Lowe exchanged passes the midfielder pulled back for debutant Paterson to fire high into the net.
The game was becoming increasingly open, which suited the visitors and there was a growing fluidity in their play.
They put together a lovely move that started with Benda and worked all the way up to Cullen, whose low shot looked destined for the bottom corner until Kaminski got fingertips to it.
At the other end Gallagher drove well wide of the target when a pull-back to Brereton Diaz looked the better option.
Darragh Lenihan headed a corner wide, shortly after Benda punched away a Rothwell free-kick as the game reached its final 15 minutes.
The Swans got into some promising areas but could not find the killer pass to create an opening, while Benda saved from Buckley and Brereton Diaz during a frantic finish.
Blackburn Rovers: Thomas Kaminski, Ryan Nyambe, Harry Pickering, Daniel Ayala, Joe Rothwell, Sam Gallagher (Jacob Davenport 72), Tyrhys Dolan (Hayden Carter 84), John Buckley (Danny Butterworth 80), Ben Brereton Diaz, Darragh Lenihan (captain), Lewis Travis.
Unused Substitutes: Connor McBride, Jake Garrett, Tyler Magloire, Jordan Eastham.
Swansea City: Steven Benda; Ben Cabango, Ryan Bennett, Joel Latibeaudiere; Kyle Naughton, Korey Smith (Yan Dhanda 56), Jamie Paterson, Matt Grimes (captain), Jake Bidwell; Jamal Lowe, Liam Cullen (Morgan Whittaker 87).
Unused Substitutes: Nico Defreitas-Hansen, Lincoln Mcfayden, Brandon Cooper, Ollie Cooper, Kyle Joseph.
Attendance: 10,620 (908 away)