Report | Swansea City 3 Birmingham City 0
Swansea City continued their impressive start to the season as three second-half goals sealed a comprehensive win over Birmingham at the Liberty Stadium.
Goals from Kyle Naughton, Bersant Celina and birthday boy Borja Baston made it four wins from five as the Swans turned up the heat on a hot and humid afternoon.
Substitute Naughton drove home from the edge of the area for his first Swans goal in just under a year, before Celina finished a slick counter and Borja netted from the spot, all in the space of 12 minutes.
The result also means head coach Steve Cooper has had the best start of any boss in the club’s 107-year history over the first five league games of his tenure.
It sees the Swans rise back to second in the Championship table and extend their unbeaten home league run to 14 games, their best since the move to the Liberty in 2005.
The dominant nature of the performance will only add to the growing feelgood factor and confidence in SA1, and sets up what is sure to be an eagerly-awaited clash with leaders Leeds at Elland Road next weekend.
Cooper had made just one change from the side that beat QPR in midweek, with Yan Dhanda handed just his second league start for the club in place of George Byers, who dropped to the bench after illness.
The Swans started with a real confidence and purpose in their play, with one sweeping move stretching from back to front and earning rapturous applause from the Liberty faithful.
Matt Grimes and Andre Ayew then combined beautifully to tee up Dhanda, but the midfielder – some 14 yards out – saw Wes Harding block his effort.
Borja then curled wide after sharp pressing work had allowed Jay Fulton to feed the lively Dhanda, while Ayew headed straight at Lee Camp from Jake Bidwell’s clipped cross on the 21-minute mark.
Birmingham had yet to carve out a chance although Joe Rodon had to recover quickly to block a Lukas Jutkiewicz effort, after his loose pass had gifted possession to Alvero Gimenez.
Grimes’ range of passing was causing real headaches for the visitors, and a wonderful sweeping ball around Ayew to control and fire a volley over the bar from the edge of the area,
Swansea went close again on 35 minutes. Fulton sending Borja in on goal. The striker passed up the chance to shoot himself and teed up Dhanda, who beat Camp but was denied by Kristian Pedersen’s clearance.
It remained goalless at the break, and the Swans made a change as Naughton came on for Bidwell on the left side of the defence.
Still it was the Swans who looked more likely to break the deadlock, Borja just failing to get a toe on Grimes’ drilled free-kick into the danger area.
It was another Grimes delivery that created the clearest chance yet, Borja powerfully heading goalward only to find Camp equal to it as he tipped over.
It was all Swansea and the goal finally came in the 63rd minute. The hosts had penalty appeals waved away for a shove on Borja, but Naughton picked up the loose ball and dispatched a low drive into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.
And it was 2-0 just five minutes later. Mike van der Hoorn stepped up with authority to win a loose ball, and fed Celina on the left who flashed a strike beyond Camp and high into the net.
Swansea now had a real spring in their step and it got worse for Birmingham when Marc Roberts felled Dhanda as the midfielder raced onto an astute Connor Roberts’ pass.
Borja - on his 27th birthday - stepped up and calmly sent Camp the wrong way to make it 3-0 and seal the victory.
Swansea City: Freddie Woodman; Connor Roberts, Mike van der Hoorn, Joe Rodon, Jake Bidwell (Kyle Naughton 46); Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes (captain); Andre Ayew, Yan Dhanda (George Byers 84), Bersant Celina (Jordon Garrick 84); Borja Baston.
Subs not used: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Ben Wilmot, Wayne Routledge, Sam Surridge.
Birmingham City: Lee Camp, Wes Harding, Kristian Pedersen, Mark Roberts, Steve Seddon (Dan Crowley 76), Harlee Dean (captain), Ivan Sunjic, David Davis (Jude Bellingham 76), Alvaro Gimenez (Gary Gardner 57), Lukas Jutkiewicz, Fran Villalba.
Subs not used: David Stockdale, Craig Gardner, Agustin Medina, Odin Bailey.
Referee: Andy Woolmer
Attendance: 17, 277