Report | Swansea City 1 Nottingham Forest 0

17th February 2021
First team
Forest home Connor Roberts

Connor Roberts was the hero for Swansea City as his late header secured a dramatic victory over Nottingham Forest at the Liberty Stadium.

The wing-back, who also netted the winner in the reverse fixture at the City Ground, settled an otherwise scrappy contest three minutes from time when he powered home from Jake Bidwell's cross.

Roberts' third goal of the season moved Steve Cooper's side up to third place in the Championship table, while taking their clean sheet tally for the season to 16.

The result moves the Swans onto 56 points after 28 matches; one behind second-place Brentford - who were beaten by QPR this evening - with two games in hand on the top two.

Cooper made five changes from the FA Cup defeat to Manchester City; reverting to the side that began the victory over Norwich last time out in the league.

Ryan Bennett, Kyle Naughton, Jake Bidwell, Conor Hourihane and Andre Ayew all returned to the starting line-up, while Ben Cabango, Joel Latibeaudiere, Ryan Manning, Yan Dhanda and Jordan Morris dropped to the bench.

The Swans ran out comprehensive 5-1 victors when the sides met in the FA Cup fourth round last month, and they quickly settled into their rhythm at the Liberty.

Roberts tried his luck with an ambitious effort from distance, while Hourihane's attempted through ball for Jamal Lowe was marginally overhit.

Forest home Ryan Bennett

At the other end, Manchester United loanee James Garner embarked on a dangerous run into the heart of the Swans defence, before feeding Lewis Grabban.

The Forest skipper - on target in two of the Reds' last three away games - squared the ball across the area, but Joe Lolley was unable to direct it towards goal after arriving late at the far post.

Unbeaten at home in the league since the defeat by Huddersfield Town in mid-October, the Swans had the best chance of the first half in the 22nd minute. 

Poor Forest marking allowed Jay Fulton a free header from Roberts' corner, but the midfielder could not provide the vital contact from just outside the six-yard box.

Forest descended on the Liberty carrying a four-game unbeaten run since their FA Cup defeat and went close to breaking the deadlock in first-half stoppage time.

Anthony Knockaert - scorer of the Reds' consolation 25 days ago - exchanged passes with Cyrus Christie after the hosts were slow to react to a quick corner, before his curling shot clipped the top of the crossbar.

Knockaert also had the first opportunity after the restart; ghosting in at the far post and heading just wide from Yuri Ribeiro's deep cross.

Forest home Marc Guehi

Victorious in each of their last three away league games, the visitors continued to threaten.

Christie cut in from the right flank before sliding the ball through for Grabban, whose low shot from a tight angle flashed across the face of goal.

The Swans then survived a huge scare as the game approached the final quarter of an hour.

After dealing with a corner, the visitors launched a quickfire counter with Cafu leading the charge, and it took a crucial touch from Roberts to deflect Grabban's attempted square pass into the grateful arms of Freddie Woodman.

The hosts had struggled to pose too much of a threat as they looked to extend their unbeaten run in the league.

But there was to be one late twist with three minutes remaining, as Roberts arrived late to meet Bidwell's cross and send a thumping header beyond Brice Samba.

Swansea City: Freddie Woodman; Kyle Naughton (Jordan Morris, 67), Ryan Bennett, Marc Guehi; Connor Roberts, Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain), Conor Hourihane (Korey Smith, 88), Jake Bidwell; Andre Ayew, Jamal Lowe (Paul Arriola, 83).

Subs not used: Ben Hamer, Ryan Manning, Morgan Whittaker, Yan Dhanda, Joel Latibeaudiere, Ben Cabango.

Nottingham Forest: Brice Samba; Cyrus Christie, Tobias Figueiredo, Joe Worrall, Yuri Ribeiro; James Garner, Filip Krovinovic (Lyle Taylor, 88), Cafu; Anthony Knockaert (Alex Mighten, 89), Lewis Grabban (captain; Glenn Murray, 75), Joe Lolley.

Subs not used: Jordan Smith, Loic Mbe Soh, Jack Colback, Gaetan Bong, Carl Jenkinson, Tyler Blackett.