Report | Sheffield United 3 Swansea City 0
Swansea City’s poor record at Bramall Lane continued as first-half goals from Sander Berge and Jack Robinson set promotion favourites Sheffield United on their way to victory.
It was a familiar pattern for the visitors, who made a positive start but were undone by two moments of poor defending.
Berge firstly swept home from the edge of the area, while Robinson found the net when he was quickest to react to a rebound.
Joel Piroe, Ollie Cooper and Olivier Ntcham were unable to make the most of promising openings for the Swans and they could not find a way back into the contest.
Instead, the hosts had the last word as Oli McBurnie struck in the final moments against his former club to make it just three wins in 23 visits to this south Yorkshire venue for Swansea.
Kyle Naughton had come into the Swansea side in place of injury victim Joel Latibeaudiere, while Jay Fulton made his 200th appearance for the club in midfield.
Swansea made by far the brighter start, showing a real crispness and threat in their attacking play.
Cooper and Naughton were heavily involved in the early going, while one counter-attack started by Fulton’s raking pass ended with Wes Foderingham having to push away a firm angled volley from Joel Piroe.
Naughton’s range of passing was causing problems and, had Olivier Ntcham’s control been better, the full-back’s pass would have sent the Cameroon international in on goal.
Swansea came forward again, winning a battle for the ball in midfield to break out, and it took a fine covering header from John Egan to deny Liam Cullen a free header from Ryan Manning’s cross.
But the Swans were again guilty of conceding a soft goal to undo a good start. A hopeful ball down the line was not dealt with, and when the Blades picked up the ball and moved infield, Berge was on hand to classily roll the ball into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
It was nearly 2-0 seconds later, Andy Fisher making an excellent save to keep out Billy Sharp’s deflected strike after a foul on Ntcham had been allowed to go by referee Matthew Donohue.
But the Swans began to settle again, Piroe seeing a deflected shot so nearly fall into the path of Liam Cullen, before Fulton’s excellent pass round the corner found the Dutchman, but his final call to Cullen was cut out.
However, again, Swansea were their own worst enemies and conceded a second eight on half-time. A cheap free-kick was given away and Oliver Norwood smashed a fine strike against the crossbar. No white shirt reacted quickly enough and Robinson drilled the loose ball into the net.
The visitors needed a strong start to the second half, but it took a good block from Matt Grimes to deny Sharp after the veteran striker had turned to get away a shot in the area.
Martin turned to his bench and sent on Morgan Whittaker in place of Cullen, just before Fisher held a header from Robinson from another Sheffield United free-kick.
Swansea responded with Ntcham finding Manning in oceans of room down the left, but the final ball was a poor one and was cleared away by the first defender.
At the other end, Ben Cabango made a superb clearance to deny a pair of red and white shirts a tap in as he swept away a threatening ball into the six-yard box.
Swansea began to build some pressure as the game entered the final 25 minutes, penning the hosts back inside their third.
The Swans then went so close to getting one back with 14 minutes to play.
They swept forward and Piroe teed up Cooper on the inside, but his shot was too close to Foderingham who easily parried.
Whittaker then surged into the box but lost his footing at the vital moment, while Cabango sent a free header way over from a corner.
It proved Swansea's last big opportunity, and the hosts came close to adding to their tally when Robinson lashed a Norwood free-kick against the post and Fisher to make a superb full-stretch save from Egan's header.
And they did find an additional goal when McBurnie tapped in at the far post after Ndiaye had wriggled away from a handful of white shirts.
Sheffield United: Wes Foderingham, Sander Berge (Ismaila Coulibaly 90), Billy Sharp (captain) (Oli McBurnie 71), John Egan, Max Lowe (John Fleck 90), Anel Ahmedhodzic, Oliver Norwood, Jack Robinson, Jayden Bogle (Chris Basham 90), James McAtee (Ben Osborn 71), Iliman Ndiaye.
Unused Substitutes: Adam Davies, Ciaran Clark.
Swansea City: Andy Fisher; Kyle Naughton, Ben Cabango, Nathan Wood, Ryan Manning; Jay Fulton (Joe Allen 88), Matt Grimes (captain), Olivier Ntcham (Luke Cundle 64), Ollie Cooper, Liam Cullen (Morgan Whittaker 55), Joel Piroe.
Unused Substitutes: Lewis Webb, Harry Darling, Liam Walsh, Matty Sorinola.