Swansea City under-23s Blackburn Premier League 2
6th January 2017
Botti Biabi's eighth goal of the season saw Swansea City Under-23s make it seven wins in a row thanks to a 1-0 triumph at Blackburn Rovers.
The result extends the young Swans' superb unbeaten run to eight games in Premier League 2 (Division 2), where they now lead the way by 13 points.
Swansea had chances to add to their tally but also battled to keep a 10th clean sheet of the campaign.
The Swans made four changes to the side that beat Chelsea in the International Cup before Christmas as they returned to Premier League 2 action.
Slovenian goalkeeper Gregor Zabret came back into the starting XI with Scottish midfielder Ryan Blair also returning to the team.
Tom Holland and Alex Samuel were the other two changes in the midfield as George Byers missed the game through suspension.
BLACKBURN U23s: Andrew Fisher, Tyler Magloire, Jack Doyle, Joe Grayson (Daniel Butterworth, 60), Matthew Platt, Scott Wharton (Capt), Connor Thompson (Tre Pemberton, 70), Stefan Mols (Dean Rittenberg, 81), Lewis Mansell, Lewis Hardcastle, Joe Rankin-Costello.
SUBS NOT USED: Tyler Magloire, Josh Powell.
SWANS U23s: Gregor Zabret, Tyler Reid, Aaron Lewis, Ryan Blair, Keston Davies (Capt), Joe Rodon, Dan James, Tom Holland, Botti Biabi, Adnan Marić, Alex Samuel (Owain Jones, 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Bray, Lewis Thomas, Jordon Garrick, Tom Plezier.
The Swans soaked up some early pressure from the home side as Blair's 30-yard drive was saved by Rovers' keeper inside the opening 10 minutes.
Minutes later Rovers winger Joe Rankin-Costello found space on the edge of the area to fire at goal. Zabret spilled the shot but the loose ball was cleared by the Swans defence.
Daniel James tested Fisher in the Blackburn net before midfielder Stefan Mols fired a rasping volley inches over the bar.
Holland came close for the Swans from an Alex Samuel cross before the Swans were forced to cope with more pressure from the home side.
But Swansea did take the lead just before the half-hour mark as James' pinpoint cross from the left found Biabi to head home from close range.
Both sides battled for the remainder of the half with few clear-cut chances other than Zabret saving Grayson's free-kick and Biabi almost netting a second on the counter-attack minutes before the break.
HALF TIME: Blackburn U23s 0 - 1 Swans U23s
The Swans' attack continued to trouble Rovers' back line after the restart as James cut in from the wing to put a dangerous low cross into the box, but the ball ran away to safety.
Adnan Maric saw his powerful shot cannon off the legs of a Rovers defender as the Swans continued to look for a breakthrough.
The game became something of a midfield battle as Swans centre-backs Joe Rodon and Keston Davies worked hard at the back to deny Blackburn a breakthrough.
Rovers almost equalised in the 71st minute as Rankin-Costello unleashed an impressive curling shot from 35 yards which forced Zabret to save.
Minutes later James impressively cut in from the left before turning his man to create space and fire at goal only for Fisher to once again deny the winger.
James and Owain Jones tested the Rovers keeper once again, while Blackburn substitute Daniel Butterworth volleyed wide minutes before the final whistle.