Report | Rotherham United 1 Swansea City 1
Harry Darling marked his Swansea City debut with a stunning goal as Russell Martin’s side kicked off the Championship campaign with a draw at Rotherham.
The Swans trailed to Chiedozie Ogbene’s header from a long throw in the 16th minute, but they were level seven minutes before the break thanks to Darling, who sent a superb 25-yeard strike flying into the net.
The visitors had chances to win it, the best of them falling to Michael Obafemi, who was unable to turn in Joel Piroe’s cross from close range, while Andy Fisher made a couple of important saves at the other end.
Martin had handed debuts to new signings Darling, Nathan Wood and Matty Sorinola, while Ben Cabango was fit enough for a place on the bench as Joe Allen missed out through injury.
The Swans slipped into their passing rhythm from the off, with one lovely move from their own area picking off the Rotherham press and ending with Sorinola having a shot deflected wide.
Obafemi then just failed to bring in a Joel Latibeaudiere pass after the win-back had driving infield, while Piroe sent a low strike into the arms of Millers’ keeper Viktor Johansson.
Piroe then lofted over after a sharp counter-attack had seen Matt Grimes put the Dutchman one-on-one with a covering defender.
But it was the home side who took the lead from a hopeful long throw. A Swansea head flicked Wes Harding’s throw back towards goal, and Ogbene was there to capitalise and flick the ball over Andy Fisher.
The Swans looked to respond, patiently working space for Sorinola on the left-hand side of the box, but the final delivery was a poor one.
Another move from a throw ended with another deflection falling to Ogbene, but Fisher made an excellent stop to keep out the forward’s hooked effort to his left.
But the Swans started to build again, with a Sorinola cross forcing Johansson to rather clumsily push the ball over his own bar.
And they levelled through a simply stunning goal from Darling.
The Swans had patiently worked the ball around outside the Rotherham area, and the defender opted to take aim from 25 yards and left Johansson with no chance thanks to an unerring strike that was going in from the moment he struck it.
Jamie Paterson so nearly found Latibeaudiere with a clever pass with the outside of his right foot, before Paterson himself hit a strike straight down the throat of the keeper.
There was one final big chance before the interval, Wood arriving unmarked at the far post but heading a Grimes’ free-kick onto the roof of the net as the half ended all-square.
The Swans started the second period still on the front foot, Piroe and Paterson nearly dovetailing to put the Dutchman free in the area.
Latibeaudiere was then flagged offside after a superb spell of possession had looked set to stretch the hosts to breaking point.
But Fisher had to deny Ogbene again a few moments later after the Swans had been slack in possession on the edge of their own box.
Latibeaudiere headed wide from Paterson’s cross at the far post just before the hour mark before Obafemi missed a sitter as Piroe broke clear and laid the ball on for the striker at the far post, but he mishit the finish and the ball went back to the keeper.
Johansson then made a magnificent stop to tip a Paterson strike over after fine work by Piroe and Obafemi as the Swans ramped up the pressure.
Fisher saved from substitute Georgie Kelly on a rare Rotherham forward foray before the Swans sent on Olivier Ntcham and Ryan Manning for Paterson and Sorinola.
The Frenchman nearly teed up Obafemi, and Piroe then steered wide from Jay Fulton’s lay-off, while Fisher showed sharp reflexes to keep Cohen Bramall from a Rotherham counter.
The Swans continued to search for a winner, but it ended a point apiece.
Rotherham United: Viktor Johansson, Wes Harding, Dan Barlaser, Richard Wood (captain), Ben Wiles, Chiedozie Ogbene, Conor Washington (Cohen Bramall 67), Jamie Lindsay, Shane Ferguson (Georgie Kelly 67), Grant Hall (Peter Kioso 67), Cam Humphreys.
Unused Substitutes: Josh Vickers, Jamie McCart, Scott High, Hakeem Odoffin.
Swansea City: Andy Fisher; Nathan Wood, Kyle Naughton, Harry Darling; Joel Latibeaudiere, Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Matty Sorinola (Ryan Manning 72); Joel Piroe, Jamie Paterson (Olivier Ntcham 71), Michael Obafemi.
Unused Substitutes: Steven Benda, Ben Cabango, Ollie Cooper, Liam Cullen, Cameron Congreve.
Referee: Matthew Donohue
Attendance: 10,454 (1,492 Swansea)