Report | Bristol City 0 Swansea City 1
Joel Piroe’s superb finish saw Swansea City pick up their first Championship win under head coach Russell Martin, and secured just a second victory at Ashton Gate in 28 years.
The Dutch striker netted his third goal in four Swansea appearances since his summer move from PSV Eindhoven, emphatically finding the net after his original strike had come back off the post.
He went close to adding to the Swans tally, as did Jamie Paterson, while Steven Benda made a handful of fine saves at the other end in what was an entertaining encounter.
For Swansea this was a fine win given they were without six first-team players through a mixture of injury and illness as Ryan Bennett, Kyle Naughton, Ben Cabango, Flynn Downes, Korey Smith and Liam Walsh were all absent.
There were four changes for the Swans as Ethan Laird, Piroe, Paterson and Liam Cullen came into the side.
Downes and Cabango were ruled out after positive Covid-19 tests, while Jamal Lowe and Yan Dhanda dropped to the bench.
The hosts had gone 11 games without a win on home turf - last tasting victory here on January 26 - and they knew failing to win this game would set an unwanted club record of a dozen.
They started intent on avoiding that particular piece of history as Benda made the first save inside three minutes, denying Andreas Weimann after the visitors were dispossessed, before Chris Martin inexplicably turned the ball wide from inside the six-yard box.
Swansea began to settle, Cullen just failing to get onto a lovely clipped ball from Brandon Cooper, before Jake Bidwell’s pass was just behind the onrushing Paterson.
Matty James headed straight at Benda, before the German keeper saved a shot from distance from the same player.
But it was the Swans who took the lead through Piroe.
The Dutchman drove forward and beat Dan Bentley with his low shot, only to see his effort strike the post.
However, the ball came back to the forward and he finished with real aplomb to smash home the rebound for his third goal of the season.
The hosts looked to respond, Alex Scott seeing a low angled drive parried by Benda and tidied up by Fulton – making his 150th Swansea appearance - and Paterson.
The Swans had a chance to double the lead six minutes before the break, but Piroe’s shot from a slide-rule Matt Grimes pass was deflected wide, and Bentley then denied the striker from close range after a header had fallen at his feet.
Nevertheless, the Swans led at the interval and they pressed forward in search of that second goal early in the second half.
The outstanding Ryan Manning sent Bidwell in behind down the left, with his final pass cut out with Piroe waiting eagerly.
Weimann curled over at the other end from a quickly taken free-kick before Laird embarked on a thrilling run that took him away from three defenders to find Piroe.
He laid the ball off towards Cullen but it did not have enough weight on it and Tomas Kalas nipped in to snuff out the danger.
Bristol City enjoyed a spell of pressure as the temperature ratcheted up inside the final half-hour, and Benda did well to grasp a deflected strike he would only have seen late as it came through a number of bodies.
Weimann then had the ball in the net but he was correctly adjudged to be offside from Antoine Semenyo’s shot.
Grimes' fierce strike was juggled but held by Bentley, while the excellent Manning and Brandon Cooper helped ensure the Swans emerged with the three points.
Bristol City: Dan Bentley (captain), Danny Simpson (Andy King 86), Jay Dasilva, Rob Atkinson, Matty James, Chris Martin, Andreas Weimann, Cameron Pring (Nahki Wellhs 71), Tomas Kalas, Alex Scott (Antoine Semenyo 60), Han-Noah Massengo.
Unused Substitutes: Max O’Leary, Tyreeq Bakinson, Nathan Baker, Kasey Palmer.
Swansea City: Steven Benda; Joel Latibeaudiere, Ryan Manning, Brandon Cooper; Ethan Laird, Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Jake Bidwell; Jamie Paterson, Liam Cullen (Morgan Whittaker 71), Joel Piroe (Jamal Lowe 81).
Unused Substitutes: Ben Hamer, Kyle Joseph, Yan Dhanda, Lincoln Mcfayden, Dan Williams.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham
Attendance: 20,139 (2,300 away)