Report | Swansea City 1 Middlesbrough 1

23rd April 2022
First team
Close up of Michael Obafemi

Swansea City extended their unbeaten run to eight games as Michael Obafemi’s strike saw them earn a point after a frenetic second-half against play-off chasing Middlesbrough at the Stadium.

After having the lion’s share of possession in an opening half of few clear opportunities, the hosts fell behind when Riley McGree cracked home a strike from distance just moments into the second period.

But Obafemi was soon firing in his 11th goal of the season to tie matters up and there was no shortage of chances for a winner, with both sides striking the woodwork.

Russell Martin had made one change from the draw at Reading, bringing in Ryan Manning for the injured Jamie Paterson, with Hannes Wolf being pushed into an attacking midfield role.

The first chance fell to the visitors, Duncan Watmore finding Marcus Tavernier who took the ball away from Andy Fisher but could not pick out a red shirt in support to apply a finish.

At the other end, Manning had a free-kick deflected wide with Swansea enjoying plenty of the ball but Middlesbrough – playing with two up front – prepared to be aggressive in their press.

They nearly profited when the ball was picked off in midfield and Watmore was released on goal, only to fire high and wide.

Swansea responded, Obafemi nearly working his way past no fewer than five Middlesbrough defenders in the box before being crowded out.

Flynn Downes controls a ball under pressure from Middlesbrough player

Joel Piroe and Cyrus Christie had shots blocked after a driving run from the Dutchman, before a lovely disguised pass from Ben Cabango came so close to putting Flynn Downes in on goal.

The Swans were probing for an opening against a Boro side that had now dropped off and seemed content to wait for the chance to break.

Downes hooked wide after a lofted pass from Joel Latibeaudiere had beaten the offside trap but there was no way through for the Swans as the half finished goalless.

The hosts were enjoying over 80 per cent of possession but they fell behind and had only themselves to blame.

A lack of accuracy playing out from deep allowed McGree to pick up the ball, set himself and hammer a strike into the net off the underside of the bar from 25 yards.

Seconds later and it could have been 2-0 as Watmore took the ball away from Cabango and fed Tavernier, but Fisher blocked a low shot with his legs

And the Swans took full advantage of the let-off as they went straight up the other end to equalise. Piroe fed Obafemi, who jinked away from a cluster of defenders and drove the ball low into the bottom corner.

The game had come to life, and Christie drove wide of the target after good work by Wolf down the left.

Still openings kept coming, with Obafemi agonisingly close to finding Piroe in the Boro box and all this coming before six minutes of the second period had elapsed.

Flynn Downes and Joel Piroe celebrate

From nowhere this had become a wild end-to-end contest and Boro came within a whisker of retaking the lead as Marc Bola smacked a superb volley against the crossbar from a half-cleared corner.

Seconds later and Swansea hit the woodwork, Wolf being picked out by Christie and thundering his effort against the bar via a touch of visiting keeper Luke Daniels.

Obafemi had a strike deflected wide just after the hour mark before Daniels got down superbly to keep out Piroe’s right-footed effort.

Daniels then fumbled Matt Grimes’ cross from the resulting corner but Manning could not quite poke the loose ball beyond the keeper.

Kyle Naughton made a brilliant last-ditch challenge to deny Andraz Sporar a tap-in as the visitors committed men forward knowing a draw was not much good for their hopes of a top-six finish.

Cabango then had a superb chance to snatch the three point with eight minutes left, but planted his header wide from an excellent Grimes delivery.

Substitute Aaron Connolly then did likewise for the visitors, rolling the ball against the post after being found by a lofted pass, before Grimes saw his fizzing cross prove just too much for Christie to get a touch on in the final minute of the 90 as it ended level.

Swansea City: Andy Fisher; Ben Cabango, Kyle Naughton, Joel Latibeaudiere; Cyrus Christie, Flynn Downes, Matt Grimes (captain), Ryan Manning (Olivier Ntcham 72); Joel Piroe, Hannes Wolf; Michael Obafemi.

Unused Substitutes: Ben Hamer, Jay Fulton, Korey Smith, Kyle Joseph, Nathanael Ogbeta, Cameron Congreve.

Middlesbrough: Luke Daniels, Anfernee Dijksteel, Marcus Tavernier (Martin Payero 90), Jonny Howson (captain), Paddy McNair, Duncan Watmore (Aaron Connolly 65), Sol Bamba, Marc Bola, Isaiah Jones, Josh Coburn (Andraz Sporar 66), Riley McGree.

Unused Substitutes: Joe Lumley, Neil Taylor, Lee Peltier, Folarin Balogun.