Swansea City under-23s Middlesbrough
19th December 2016
Swansea City Under-23s ended 2016 in Premier League 2 with a dramatic 3-2 victory over Middlesbrough at Landore on Monday night.
George Byers' first-half goal gave the young Swans the lead before an equaliser after the break from Junior Mondal.
Two superb deliveries from first-team player Nathan Dyer ensured Swansea led through Oli McBurnie and Daniel James.
A late consolation from Callum Cooke could not prevent the under-23s making it seven straight wins to sit ten points clear at the top of the table.
Gary Richards and Cameron Toshack made four changes to the side that beat West Ham in Dagenham last week.
Gregor Zabret, who had kept five clean sheets in eight games this season, returned in goal.
Scottish defender Stephen Kingsley started at left-back with striker Oli McBurnie leading the line up front.
Winger Nathan Dyer was the under-23s' only overage player as he made his second start in PL2 this season.
SWANS U23s: Gregor Zabret, Tyler Reid, Stephen Kingsley, Ryan Blair, Keston Davies (Capt), Joe Rodon, Daniel James, Tom Holland (Adnan Maric, 74), Oli McBurnie, George Byers, Nathan Dyer (Jordan Garrick, 83).
UNUSED SUBS: Jordan Garrick, Lewis Thomas, Botti Biabi, Aaron Lewis.
MIDDLESBROUGH U23s: Joe Fryer, Callum Johnson, Jordan McGhee, Bryn Morris, Mark Kitching, Lewis Maloney, Josef Wheatley (Alex Pattison, 65), Rob Tinkler, Arnel Jakupovic, Callum Cooke (Capt), Junior Mondal.
UNUSED SUBS: Tom McAloon, Aynsley Pears, Hayden Coulson.
Middlesbrough attacked from the first kick of the game with Gregor Zabret saving a shot from the halfway line from Arnel Jakupovic.
The young Swans responded Daniel James, who raced down the left flank before letting rip with a shot that flew just wide.
After Tyler Reid's darting run and cross was snuffed out by the Boro defence, the early pressure paid off as the Swans took the lead after 23 minutes. James used his pace to break into the box and although Boro's defence dispossessed the winger, striker Oli McBurnie's latched onto the loose and he teed up George Byers, who fired home his fifth of the season from ten yards.
A minute later the U23s were on the attack again as Reid's cross from the right found James in the box, but the winger's header fell inches wide of Joe Fryer's post.
Swansea continued to look dangerous in the final third as Stephen Kingsley's cross found McBurnie in the area, only for the striker's header to drop just wide.
Middlesbrough could have hit back in the 38th minute as Callum Cooke's pass found Rob Tinkler in the box, but the midfielder's effort flew into the side netting.
However, the home side controlled the remainder of the half to hold the lead at the break.
HALF TIME: Swans U23s 1 - 0 Middlesbrough U23s
Swansea started the second half brightly as a superb cross from Dyer found McBurnie in the box, but the striker failed to direct his header on target.
Zabret kept the Swans' lead in tact with a good save at the near post from Mark Kitchings, but Boro equalised a minute later as winger Junior Mondal found space on the edge of the area to fire home.
But Swansea produced an instant reply as Dyer's pinpoint cross from the right flank was headed home by Oli McBurnie for his seventh of the campaign.
Four minutes later the young Swans doubled their lead as another cross from Dyer found James in the box, and he stabbed home with ease.
The hosts continued to push and James' cross was deflected to Byers on the edge of the area, but the midfielder's 25-yard strike crashed against the post.
But Middlesbrough set up a close finish after reducing the deficit in the 86th minute as Cooke took advantage of a rebound from Zabret's save.
The visitors almost grabbed a stoppage-time equaliser only for Callum Johnson's header to fly inches over the bar.