Report | Blackburn Rovers 2 Swansea City 2
Swansea City suffered more heartbreak on the road as they succumbed to an injury-time equaliser against fellow play-off hopefuls Blackburn at Ewood Park.
Goals from Rhian Brewster and Andre Ayew (penalty) looked to be enough to earn the Swans a hard-earned victory after coming from behind to cancel out a Sam Gallagher opener.
Swans goalkeeper Freddie Woodman had also done his bit after saving a Danny Graham penalty in the 67th minute – his second consecutive penalty save and his third of the season.
But substitute Bradley Johnson struck an equaliser five minutes into injury time to earn a share of the spoils.
Steve Cooper handed Jordon Garrick his first league start. The 21-year-old replaced Aldo Kalulu in the only change from the side that suffered a cruel 1-0 defeat at Fulham in midweek.
There was also a return to Ewood Park for Swans captain Matt Grimes who made 13 appearances on loan for Blackburn during the 2015-16 season.
The Swans, who started the game one point and one place behind Blackburn in the table, were looking for their first win at Ewood Park since 1971.
Tony Mowbray made two changes to his starting XI. Following suspension to Darragh Lenihan, Elliott Bennett came into the side at right back, with Ryan Nyambe shifting across to centre back.
Dominic Samuel started in attack, while Bradley Johnson dropped to the substitutes bench.
The first chance fell to Ayew after five minutes as he dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area, while Garrick found himself in the referee’s notebook in the ninth minute for a foul on goalkeeper Christian Walton as the home crowd appealed for a hopeful red.
Ayew looked up for the challenge from the off as good work from Brewster played him into the area, but his cross was too deep for the oncoming Garrick at the far post.
It was an even affair at the midway point of the half despite the fact that Swansea were finding it tricky at times on a difficult surface.
The home side were the first to strike though in the 25th minute. Ryan Nyambe made a good run down the flank from right-back before delivering a curling cross which fell in between Ben Cabango and goalkeeper Freddie Woodman. Sam Gallagher was onto it in a flash to tap home a simple opener.
Swansea looked to respond immediately from a Matt Grimes free-kick, but Ayew’s header flew over from the bar from six yards under pressure.
Ayew picked up a knock for his troubles, but was back on the pitch to create another good opening in the 38th minute when he combined well with Jake Bidwell on the edge of the area before drilling a ball across the face of goal which Brewster just failed to meet.
Brewster made no mistake though right on the stroke of half-time. Ayew started the move in his own half before Garrick and Kyle Naughton worked the ball back inside to the edge of the area. Ayew found Connor Gallagher in support before his pass was hammered home by Brewster from the edge of the area.
It was a superb finish from the Liverpool loan signing, who was then booked by referee Peter Bankes for his celebration!
Swansea made the perfect start to the second half when they were awarded a penalty three minutes in. Garrick latched onto a loose ball and he broke into the area before being brought down by Tosin Adarabioyo.
Unlike Fulham where they had three penalties turned down, the referee had no hesitation pointing to the spot and Ayew stepped up to put the Swans 2-1 ahead.
Blackburn made a double substitution soon after with ex-Swans striker Danny Graham and Ben Brereton replacing Dominic Samuel and Joe Rothwell.
The visitors were still creating chances though as Blackburn pushed for the equaliser as Garrick drilled a dangerous ball across the face of goal which just eluded Ayew with 61 minutes gone.
Blackburn should have been level though in the 67th minute when Joe Rodon was adjudged to have nudged Brereton in the back. The referee pointed to the spot, but Woodman made a fantastic save from Graham’s spot-kick.
It was Woodman’s second consecutive penalty save after his heroics at Fulham in the week, and his third of the season.
And while the 606 Swans fans were still celebrating behind the goal, Graham was cursing his luck again as he fired against the post.
With the home side pushing hard for an equaliser, Connor Roberts replaced Garrick in the 70th minute to strengthen Swansea’s defensive resolve.
Cooper’s men still had plenty going forward though as Gallagher twice came close before his namesake headed a glorious chance straight at Woodman deep into injury time at the other end.
Blackburn weren’t to be denied though as they threw everything at Swansea during the seven minutes of injury time with substitute Johnson firing a deflected effort beyond Woodman in the 95th minute.
Blackburn Rovers: Christian Walton, Elliott Bennett (captain), Ryan Nyambe, Tosin Adarabioyo, Amari’I Bell; Lewis Traveis (Bradley Johnson 72), Stewart Downing; Dominic Samuel (Ben Brereton 56), Adam Armstrong, Joe Rothwell (Danny Graham 56); Sam Gallagher.
Subs not used: Jayson Leutwiler, Harry Chapman, Joe Rankin-Costello, John Buckley.
Swansea City: Freddie Woodman, Kyle Naughton, Joe Rodon, Ben Cabango, Jake Bidwell, Matt Grimes (captain), Jay Fulton, Conor Gallagher (Ben Wilmot 89), Jordon Garrick (Connor Roberts 70), Andre Ayew, Rhian Brewster.
Subs not used: Erwin Mulder, Yan Dhanda, Nathan Dyer, Aldo Kalulu, Liam Cullen.
Referee: Peter Bankes
Attendance: 13,099 (606 away).