Report | Swansea City 1 Birmingham City 1

5th August
First team
Jerry Yates cele

Jerry Yates marked his Swansea City debut with a goal as Michael Duff’s side came from behind to draw with Birmingham City on the opening day of the season at the Stadium.

The Swans had followed the head coach’s request for an energetic showing during an opening half they had the better of, only to trail to Siriki Dembele’s goal on the stroke of half-time.

But the hosts kept pushing after the break and got their reward when a superb pass from captain Matt Grimes put in sequence the move for Yates’ close-range effort as the spoils were shared at the end of an entertaining contest.

There were four debutants in the Swansea team, as new signings Carl Rushworth, Harrison Ashby, Josh Key and Yates were all named in the starting line-up.

Josh Ginnelly and Mykola Kuharevich were among the substitutes.

Prior to kick-off there was a moving minute’s applause in celebration of the life of young Morgan Riddler, a young Swans fan who sadly lost his brave battle with cancer in June.

That emotion translated into a fast and furious start. Jamie Paterson was booked inside three minutes before the hosts showed the sort of high-tempo, front-foot football new boss Duff has spoken about.

Birmingham line-up

A quick through found Jay Fulton’s forward run, and Paterson was in support. The midfielder’s cross was a good one, but John Ruddy was out quickly to gratefully gater the ball.

More good stuff from the Swans followed, as Harrison Ashby advanced and the ball was swept left to Paterson.

He had to check back and when the ball was sent back right there was an offside to halt the hosts, but there was no doubting the purpose being shown in attack.

At the other end Rushworth made his first save in Swansea colours as he got down smartly to keep out Siriki Dembele’s low effort at his near post.

Swansea then nearly get the opener in the 21st minute. Harry Darling took aim from distance and his deflected strike fell for Paterson at the far post.

The midfielder drove the ball back across goal and Birmingham captain Dion Sanderson nearly turned into his own net before Ruddy gathered.

Swansea wasted no time attacking again, Yates getting in behind and squaring a ball that Lee Buchanan had to turn behind.

The visitors responded, and Rushworth made a very good stop to deny Krystian Bielik, after Ethan Laird had teed him up just inside the area.

Josh Key Birmingham

Following a brief lull in a high-energy opening half, Yates just couldn’t connect with Key’s clever lofted ball to the back post.

The hosts did have the ball in the net when Paterson ran on to a Piroe lay-off to beat Ruddy, but the offside flag quickly ended Swansea celebrations.

Instead the visitors led at the break, Keshi Anderson setting up Dembele, after Rushworth’s pass had put Ben Cabango under pressure on the edge of his own box.

The start to the second half was quiet compared to the first, with Birmingham prepared to sit in and challenge Swansea to break them down.

The first chance after the resumption went their way, Ivan Sunjic scooping harmlessly into Rushworth’s hands after a rapid counter following a clearance of a Swansea free-kick.

Time began to tick away from the Swans, but they came so close to a leveller with 25 minutes remaining as Ruddy failed to make convincing contact with a corner, and Darling’s header cleared the Birmingham keeper only to strike the bar.

Duff turned to his bench as Liam Cullen and Azeem Abdulai replaced Paterson and Ashby, and Cullen was soon involved in an excellent equaliser.

Pato and Piroe

Captain Grimes produced a brilliant pass to send the forward in behind the defence, and Cullen’s ball for Yates was measured to perfection as he steered the ball past Ruddy.

You could feel the lift in energy after the goal and Swansea asked real questions of the visitors.

Piroe had an effort saved by Ruddy and the follow up is cleared off the line by Sunjic in an almighty scramble, while the Swans needed Rushworth to make a tremendous stop to secure a point as Sunjic took aim from the edge of the box.

Swansea City: Carl Rushworth; Harry Darling, Ben Cabango, Nathan Wood; Harrison Ashby (Azeem Abdulai 69), Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Jamie Paterson (Liam Cullen 69), Josh Key; Joel Piroe, Jerry Yates.

Unused Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Joe Allen, Josh Ginnelly, Brandon Cooper, Mykola Kuharevich, Kyle Naughton, Ollie Cooper.

Birmingham City: John Ruddy, Ethan Laird (Marcel Oakley 70), Lee Buchanan, Dion Sanderson (captain), Kevin Long, Scott Hogan (Lukas Jutkiewicz 84), Krystian Bielik, Tyler Roberts (Jordan James 60), Keshi Anderson (Juninho Bacuna 84), Ivan Sunjic, Siriki Dembele (Koji Miyoshi 84).

Unused Substitutes: Neil Etheridge, Alfie Chang, Sam Cosgrove, Emmanuel Longelo.

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 18,006