Report: Derby U23s 1 Swans U23s 5
Swansea City Under-23s launched 2019 with a five-star performance as they put second-placed Derby County to the sword 5-1 at Loughborough University Stadium.
Botti Biabi scored twice with his first goals since November either side of Jordan Brown’s own goal, while Liam Cullen also added a brace to complete a thumping win for the young Swans.
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson had equalised in the first half, but it proved to be no more than a mere consolation for the hosts.
The visitors made five changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Liverpool three weeks ago – two of which saw Keston Davies wear the captain’s armband upon his return from Notts County, as well as a first appearance of the campaign for Matthew Blake.
The Swans enjoyed a bright start to the contest and looked dangerous on the counter-attack through the likes of Jordon Garrick and Keiran Evans.
They turned their positive spell into the opening goal after a quarter of an hour as Biabi climbed to head home Blake’s corner.
However, the visitors were pegged back 13 minutes later as Mitchell-Lawson pounced on a stray pass from Simon Paulet, before firing past Steven Benda.
Nevertheless, they continued to push and regained the lead 10 minutes before the break as Garrick’s powerful cross was turned into his own net by Brown.
The Swans then established breathing space 12 minutes into the second half with Biabi latching onto Cullen’s quick throw-in, before cleverly leaving his marker before slotting past Jonathan Mitchell.
Cullen got in on the act for the second game running in the 67th minute as he slid home after Garrick’s initial shot was parried directly into his path.
And he completed the scoring 11 minutes from time when he drilled past Mitchell at the second attempt after latching onto Oli Cooper’s neat through ball.
The victory moves the Swans onto 11 points in Premier League 2 and sees them close the gap on 11th-placed Blackburn Rovers.
Derby U23s: Jonathan Mitchell, Jordan Brown (Josh Shonibare, 64), Sven Karic, Jason Knight (Morgan Whittaker, 80), Callum Minkley, Max Hunt (capt), Jayden Mitchell-Lawson, Louie Sibley, Cameron Cresswell, Kyle McAllister (Connor Dixon, ht), Tyree Wilson.
Subs not used: Josh Barnes, Kornell McDonald.
Swans U23s: Steven Benda, Tyler Reid, Matthew Blake, Simon Paulet, Keston Davies (capt), Joe Lewis, Jordon Garrick (Tom Price, 86), Adam King, Botti Biabi, Keiran Evans (Oli Cooper, 63), Liam Cullen.
Subs not used: Gregor Zabret, Kees de Boer, Jack Withers.