Report | Swansea City 1 Blackburn Rovers 0
Michael Obafemi netted his first goal at the Swansea.com Stadium to give 10-man Swansea City victory over promotion hopefuls Blackburn Rovers.
The striker headed home the only goal of the game, making the most of an excellent cross from the returning Jamie Paterson to find the net.
The hosts then found themselves down a man early in the second half as Ryan Manning saw red after receiving a second yellow card.
But Russell Martin’s side dug in and showed tremendous character to claim the three points and give keeper Andy Fisher a first clean sheet in his new colours against one of his former clubs.
Martin had made two changes from the defeat against Luton as Paterson and Joel Piroe came into the side in place of Ryan Bennett and injury victim Kyle Naughton.
It was a frenetic start, Blackburn pressing high and the Swans prepared to take them on and look to play through.
The first opening arrived when Ryan Nyambe got away down the right, with John Buckley scuffing the pull-back into the arms of Fisher.
Ryan Giles soon threatened for the visitors too, driving down the left with his final cross just rolling behind Nyambe.
But the Swans began to take a stranglehold on possession and had long spells camped in the Rovers half.
And they took the lead with a magnificent goal in the 16th minute.
Paterson was the architect, finding a pocket of space to float a perfect cross onto the head of Obafemi, who guided his header into the corner of the net for his first strike on home turf for the Swans.
The Swans were motoring, and wonderful play involving Fisher, Matt Grimes and Cyrus Christie sprang Obafemi free down the right.
The forward calmly picked out Paterson, but the midfielder’s final effort flew over the bar.
Paterson nearly had another opportunity seconds later, but Olivier Ntcham’s final pass was overhit and rolled through to Blackburn keeper Thomas Kaminski.
But Blackburn served a reminder of the threat they possess as Darragh Lenihan arrived perfectly to head a free-kick against the post, before Buckley fired the rebound over the bar.
Fisher denied Buckley again after the Swans had given away possession just inside their own half, and the Swans retained the lead at the interval.
The hosts threatened to extend their advantage five minutes after the resumption as Ben Cabango nudged a ball through for Obafemi to cushion into Piroe’s path, but Lenihan recovered quickly to block the Dutchman’s strike.
But the hosts were dealt a blow when Manning was dismissed just three minutes later after he received what looked to be a harsh yellow card as he caught Lenihan while attempted to hook the ball clear. The Rovers skipper went down holding his head even though the contact was with his midriff.
It forced Martin into a change, bringing on Ryan Bennett for goalscorer Obafemi, with Korey Smith soon following in place of Ntcham.
The visitors saw plenty of the ball with the man advantage, but initially struggled to create any clear-cut sights of goal, with Jan Paul van Hecke’s wild strike from distance the only meaningful effort on Fisher’s goal entering the final 20 minutes.
The Swans nearly crafted a opening of their own after good work from Christie, Smith and Hannes Wolf, but the substitute was robbed as he tried to make room for a shot.
But Blackburn continued to press, Lewis Travis lifting a rising shot narrowly over the bar and Lenihan somehow steering a superb ball from Giles wide of the posts.
Swansea City: Andy Fisher; Ben Cabango, Flynn Downes, Ryan Manning; Cyrus Christie, Olivier Ntcham (Korey Smith 58), Matt Grimes (captain), Hannes Wolf; Jamie Paterson; Joel Piroe (Joel Latibeaudiere 72), Michael Obafemi (Ryan Bennett 55).
Unused Substitutes: Ben Hamer, Jay Fulton, Kyle Joseph, Finley Burns.
Blackburn Rovers: Thomas Kaminski, Ryan Nyambe (Joe Rankin-Costello 68), Joe Rothwell, Scott Wharton, Ryan Hedges (Ben Brereton Diaz 60), John Buckley, Jan Paul van Hecke, Darragh Lenihan (captain), Lewis Travis, Ryan Giles, Deyovaisio Zeefuik (Reda Khadra 60).
Unused Substitutes: Aynsley Pears, Bradley Johnson, Daniel Ayala, Jacob Davenport.
Referee: Tim Robinson