Report | Bristol City 1 Swansea City 1

8th January 2023
First team
Ollie Cooper battles for the ball against Bristol City

Swansea City and Bristol City will contest a replay at the Swansea.com Stadium after playing out a draw in their Emirates FA Cup third-round tie at Ashton Gate.

The Swans opened the scoring early, capitalising on an error by the Robins goalkeeper which left Joel Piroe able to slot into an empty net. The visitors went on to dominate the remainder of the first half but weren’t able to extend their lead.

The second half was a very different prospect and the Robins committed men forward in greater numbers before Antoine Semenyo drew things level in the 75th minute. Both sides had a couple of half-chances to win it late on, but neither was able to find the final touch.

Head coach Russell Martin named a strong side with just one change to the team which lined up against Championship table toppers Burnley earlier in the week. Nathan Wood replaced Harry Darling at the back.

Seventeen year old Joel Cotterill was named among the nine substitutes, as were Cameron Congreve and Nathanael Ogbeta.

It was the Robins who had the early chances both from set-pieces. Ben Cabango’s heavy challenge on Semenyo gifted Kal Naismith a shooting opportunity from a free kick inside 45 seconds.

But Naismith was only able to smash the ball over the crossbar and into the gleeful Swans fans behind the goal.

His second attempt – just five minutes later from a free kick which was much further to Steven Benda’s left - was on target, but the Swans keeper held it and set the Swans away for their first attack of the afternoon, which ended with Ryan Manning forcing Max O’Leary into a save.

For the rest of the opening half, the Swans dictated the play cutting through the hosts with ease as Joe Allen and Matt Grimes found the runs of Piroe, Liam Cullen and Ollie Cooper at almost every opportunity.

Despite all the good play, the Swans goal on the 15th minute was a gift. O’Leary was far too casual and his right-footed clearance was picked off by Cullen in the box. The striker was unselfish and slid the ball across the box, allowing strike partner Piroe to finish into an unguarded net for his ninth of the season.

The Swans continued to dominate the ball, passing with pace and purpose and reacting quickly when they lost possession. Naismith picked up the first booking of the game midway through the half when frustration just seemed to boil over for the Robins as he brought Joel Latibeaudiere down after the Swans had boasted a minute of possession.

Naismith made up for his faux pas with a key challenge to take the ball off Piroe after the striker got on the end of Cooper’s cross-field pass and went around one defender. The ball was pinched off his toes as he shaped to shoot.

Joel Piroe and Liam Cullen celebrate taking the lead against Bristol

If there could be any complaints, it was that the Swans didn’t work O'Leary more such was their comfort.

At the other end, a Jay Fulton challenge on Alex Scott and one by Ben Cabango on Semenyo had the Robins asking for penalties, but both appeals were waved away by referee Craig Pawson and the visitors retained their lead at the break.

Martin opted for a change at half-time with Cabango replaced by Darling at the back.

Fulton tested the keeper almost straight from kick-off as the Swans were immediately on the front foot. A series of corners followed for Swansea, but while Darling did eventually head on target, it was a simple enough stop for O’Leary.

That sparked a busy period for the substitute. He looped an inch-perfect forward ball into the path of Piroe, who did well to bring it down as it came over his shoulder into the Bristol box, but Cam Pring was across to toe it away before he took the shot. Darling was then on hand to clear a cross from the left-hand side moments later.

That moment lifted the home side though and they began to commit more bodies forward. Andreas Weimann skied an effort from inside the box under very little pressure, while Allen did well to block Scott’s effort from inside the box, and Grimes was on hand to prevent George Tanner’s cross into the box from reaching other red shirts.

The Swans were struggling to replicate their display from the first half, and things were a lot more even.

A bit of individual skill from Fulton saw him dance around the challenges of two men in red before striking the ball goalward in a way that had O'Leary concerned, but the ball landed on the roof of the net.

At the other end Weimann headed narrowly wide, and Tanner flashed a ball across the face of goal, before Rob Atkinson’s fierce effort from distance was blocked by Darling.

But the home side made their pressure tell with 15 minutes remaining.

Semenyo found the back of the net, rising above the Swans players at the back post. He headed Weimann’s cross into the ground and the bounce of the ball got the better of Benda.

The home side went straight back on the attack, but this time Benda made a brilliant, full-length stop to his left to deny Nahki Wells.

Fulton had another effort from distance saved, and a brilliant challenge prevented Piroe from getting a late shot away after Darling made a bursting run forward and picked him out.

In the end, neither side was able to find a winner and they will face off in the replay in SA1.

Swansea City: Steven Benda; Joel Latibeaudiere, Nathan Wood, Ben Cabango Harry Darling 45), Ryan Manning; Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Joe Allen (Luke Cundle 76’), Ollie Cooper (Cameron Congreve 86’); Liam Cullen (Olivier Ntcham 76’), Joel Piroe.

Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Nathanael Ogbeta, Kyle Naughton, Matty Sorinola, Joel Cotterill.

 Bristol City: Max O’Leary, Kal Naismith (Joe Williams 73’), Rob Atkinson, Matty James, Alex Scott (Sam Bell 84’), Antoine Semenyo, Andreas Weimann (captain), Tommy Conway (Nahki Wells 25’), Cameron Pring, George Tanner (Mark Sykes 73’), Zak Vyner.

Substitutes: Dan Bentley, Jay Dasilva, Andy King, Dylan Kadji, Omar Taylor-Clarke.

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