Report | Swansea City 1 Queens Park Rangers 0
Joel Piroe’s third goal in a week helped Swansea City see off Queens Park Rangers and record a first home win of the season at the Swansea.com Stadium.
The Dutchman shook off the disappointment of seeing a penalty saved to find the bottom corner after fine work by Ollie Cooper, who impressed again on his full home debut.
The Swans spurned opportunities to extend their lead, but also showed real grit and determination to see out spells of pressure from the visitors after the break and claim the three points.
There was also the sight of new signings Luke Cundle, Armstrong Oko-Flex and Fin Stevens making their debuts from the bench with the trio all helping Swansea see the game out.
Head coach Russell Martin had made three changes from the midweek draw with Stoke as Jamie Paterson, Steven Benda and Ben Cabango came in for Jay Fulton, Andy Fisher and Harry Darling respectively.
Michael Obafemi and Olivier Ntcham were not included in the matchday squad.
Swansea survived a scare within 40 seconds, Cabango’s backward header lacking power with Chris Willock nearly getting in on goal as the defender just about recovered.
It was an open start and the visitors showed the confidence from their recent good run of form, but the next chance went the way of the Swans.
A smart pass from Matt Grimes fed Joel Piroe in the box, and his lovely turn worked room for a shot which was blocked.
Matty Sorinola wasted another chance when he was played in down the right but passed the ball to Piroe far too early and sapped the momentum of an attack that should have ended with the Dutchman having a clear sight of goal.
The Swans were then given a penalty after Ryan Manning superbly kept in Nathan Wood’s raking pass and his awkward cross forced Rob Dickie to use his arm to block it.
Piroe stepped up, but Seny Dieng went the correct way and got down well to his left to palm the way ball away.
However, it looked as though there should have been another penalty for the hosts seconds later as Ollie Cooper was upended as he surged on to a Piroe pass.
Joe Allen then steered wide as he arrived to meet Paterson’s intelligent cross but the Swans led in the 21st minute and Piroe made no mistake.
A poor touch by Ilias Chair allowed Cooper to nip in and he unselfishly fed the ball through for Piroe to steer into the bottom corner with his right foot.
Cooper’s intensity in pressing from the front was setting the tone as, and Swansea’s willingness to chase lost causes was troubling QPR.
Sorinola ran down Dieng as he came out of his box to retrieve a long ball, and took possession to float a ball into the box that would not quite fall for another white shirt.
Benda was forced into his first meaningful save just past the half-hour mark, pushing Chair’s shot over the bar after a fortunate ricochet had fallen in the midfielder’s path.
Swansea should have extended their lead eight minutes before the break, Cabango arriving onto a Manning corner at the back post but skewing his shot, before Grimes saw his rebound saved by Dieng’s feet.
Cooper then sliced a volley after Sorinola had again found space in behind the Rs rearguard, before Benda got down low to hold a Lyndon Dykes effort at his near post as the half ended with the hosts ahead.
QPR enjoyed some early pressure after the restart, but the clearer chance came to the Swans as Cabango planted a header wide from another corner.
Piroe then sent Cooper in on goal, but Kenneth Paal produced a magnificent covering tackle as the academy product prepared to shoot.
The Swans turned to their bench on the hour mark approaching, Liam Cullen and Armstrong Oko-Flex coming on for Paterson and Sorinola.
Sadly for Cullen he injured his shoulder in almost his first involvement as he worked to win the ball back, with Fin Stevens coming on for his debut to replace him.
The changes disrupted the flow of the game and it became scrappy, but QPR began to pick up a head of steam, and Benda saved well from substitute Tyler Roberts’ firm strike.
Piroe headed over from a fine Manning free-kick inside the final 15 minutes, while another pin-point set-piece from the Republic of Ireland international was sent wide by Cabango.
Given some of the late heartache the Swans have suffered recently the hosts could have been forgiven for a few nervous moments and it required a superb sliding intervention from Stevens to cut out a pass that looked destined to play Tyler Roberts in on goal to make sure the three points went the way of the hosts.
Swansea City: Steven Benda; Kyle Naughton, Nathan Wood, Ben Cabango, Ryan Manning; Joe Allen (Luke Cundle 74), Matt Grimes (captain); Matty Sorinola (Liam Cullen 60) (Fin Stevens 64), Ollie Cooper (Jay Fulton 73), Jamie Paterson (Armsrong Oko-Flex 60); Joel Piroe.
Unused Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Harry Darling.
Queens Park Rangers: Seny Dieng, Jimmy Dunne, Rob Dickie (Leon Balogun 82), Stefan Johansen (captain), Chris Willock (Sinclair Armstrong 82), Lyndon Dykes (Tyler Roberts 60), Ilias Chair, Sam Field (Tim Iroegbunam 70), Andre Dozzell (Albert Adomah 70), Kenneth Paal, Ethan Laird.
Unused Substitutes: Jordan Archer, Osman Kakay.
Referee: Oliver Langford