Report | Middlesbrough U23s 3 Swansea City U23s 2
Swansea City produced a spirited fightback before eventually going down 3-2 against Middlesbrough in Premier League 2 Division 2.
The young Swans found themselves 3-0 down after 47 minutes at Rockliffe Park as Sam Folarin’s brace was followed by a Ben Liddle penalty.
Goals in the final 24 minutes from Liam Cullen and Josh Thomas reduced the deficit, but the development side were unable to find an equaliser as they slipped to their first defeat of the season.
Sixteen-year-old Thomas made his first start for the under-23s in one of three changes from Monday’s 1-1 draw with Aston Villa at Landore, while there were also recalls to the starting line-up for Cameron Evans and Daniel Williams.
Both sides had chances early on with Brandon Cooper shooting over the bar from close range for the Swans while, at the other end, Stephen Wearne volleyed wide.
However, the hosts edged their noses in front in the 23rd minute as Folarin headed home Paddy Reading’s cross.
The Nigerian midfielder doubled the lead nine minutes later; tucking away after he was played in by Stephen Walker.
Liddle made it 3-0 just after the restart as he made no mistake from the penalty spot following a foul on substitute Isaiah Jones.
The Swans responded well and pulled a goal back as the game approached its final quarter, with Cullen poking past Zach Hemming from close range.
Thomas, fresh from making his debut as a substitute against Villa, then reduced the arrears further when he steered home at the far post.
Oli Cooper twice went close to securing a share of the spoils; drawing a smart save out of Hemming, before rolling a shot inches wide of the post, but an equaliser was not to be.
The young Swans will be looking to bounce back next Saturday, when they welcome Stoke City to the Liberty Stadium.
Swansea City U23s: Josh Gould; Tivonge Rushesha, Cameron Evans, Brandon Cooper, Matthew Blake; Jack Evans (capt; Tom Price, 75), Daniel Williams; Liam Cullen, Oli Cooper, Keiran Evans; Josh Thomas.
Subs not used: Alex Rutter, Jake Thomas.