Report | Blackpool 1 Swansea City 0
Swansea City suffered a frustrating defeat at Blackpool as Gary Madine’s early header settled matters at Bloomfield Road.
The striker headed home unmarked from a corner with fewer than four minutes on the clock, and it proved the difference between the two teams.
Swansea absolutely dominated possession for the remainder of the afternoon – having more than three quarters of the ball – but they struggled to break down a deep and stubborn Blackpool defence.
The closest they came to an equaliser was from Cyrus Christie’s late header, but the ball bounced agonisingly onto the roof of the net.
Head coach Russell Martin had made just the one change from defeat to Fulham, with Christie returning in place of the suspended Ryan Manning.
With the massed ranks of the travelling support in good voice ahead of kick-off, the Swans would have been looking to start on the front foot.
However, they were dealt an early blow as Blackpool hit the front in just the fourth minute.
A deep corner found Madine unmarked at the back post, and he needed no second invitation to plant a header back across goal and into the far corner of the net.
There were complaints from some of the Swans players, presumably regarding potential obstruction, but referee Stephen Martin was happy for the goal to stand.
From there the Swans slowly built up a head of steam in response. Taking control of possession and territory without being quite able to find the key to unlock the home defence.
Michael Obafemi twice forced keeper Dan Grimshaw into hurried and unconvincing clearances as he ran onto passes from Korey Smith and Matt Grimes respectively.
Smith then came similarly close to picking out Olivier Ntcham at the back post, while Obafemi missed his kick after getting clear of his marker to reach a low Jamie Paterson free-kick.
But the growing Swansea momentum – they had enjoyed a 74 per cent share of possession – was punctured by two big Blackpool chances on the stroke of half-time.
First Andy Fisher did superbly to tip over Madine’s header from another excellent Charlie Kirk corner, before Kevin Stewart sent Josh Bowler clean through on goal.
The winger looked sure to double the home side’s advantage, but instead he dragged wastefully wide and the Swans’ deficit remained just the one goal at the interval.
Bowler had another chance seconds into the second half, driving at Kyle Naughton and getting into the area, only to again fail to hit the target.
We were soon back to how things unfolded during much of the first half, with Swansea dominant in possession but unable to find any clear openings.
Joel Piroe saw a strike charged down after a surge from Ntcham before Christie, who was becoming more prominent bustled into the area but could not pick out Smith in support at the far stick as orange shirts converged on him.
Piroe had another effort blocked, as did Paterson after a neat turn and run as Swans probed and tried to pick their way through a packed defence.
Naughton could not quite stretch to reach Piroe’s flick, while Grimes came so close to finding the bottom corner with an effort from range.
An equaliser then looked a certainty with 10 minutes to go.
Ntcham's cross found Obafemi and Christie unmarked at the far post. Christie headed the ball down powerfully only for the bounce to take it over the bar and onto the roof of the net.
That was one of the Frenchman's last actions as 18-year-old Cameron Congreve was handed his Swans debut.
The visitors kept pressing, but they could not find a leveller.
Blackpool: Daniel Grimshaw, Callum Connolly, Reece James, Kevin Stewart, Josh Bowler (Owen Dale 89), Kenny Dougall, Gary Madine (Shayne Lavery 74), Marvin Ekpiteta (captain), Charlie Kirk (CJ Hamilton 74), Dujon Sterling, James Husband.
Unused Substitutes: Stuart Moore, Jerry Yates, Ethan Robson, Oliver Casey.
Swansea City: Andy Fisher; Korey Smith (Nathanael Ogbeta 64), Ben Cabango, Kyle Naughton, Cyrus Christie; Flynn Downes, Matt Grimes (captain); Olivier Ntcham (Cameron Congreve 87), Joel Piroe, Jamie Paterson; Michael Obafemi.
Unused Substitutes: Ben Hamer, Jay Fulton, Kyle Joseph, Joel Latibeaudiere, Finley Burns.
Referee: Stephen Martin