Swansea City v Barnsley | Media round-up
Swansea City are preparing for a trip to Wembley after a 1-1 draw with Barnsley secured a 2-1 aggregate win in the semi-finals of the Championship play-offs.
Here, we look at some of the local and national media reaction after Steve Cooper’s side set up a meeting with Brentford.
BBC Wales Sport
Steve Cooper will celebrate Swansea City's Championship play-off semi-final triumph over Barnsley by watching Brentford on his laptop.
Swansea will battle the Bees for a place in the Premier League after a tense 1-1 draw with Barnsley secured a 2-1 aggregate win.
Despite his pride at reaching Wembley, Cooper will get straight back to work.
"As soon as I get home the laptop will be on and I'll be looking at the opposition," said the Swansea boss.
"Of course I'm proud. You've seen the journey of this football club, not just the two years I've been here. It's a unique one and this is another chapter.
"But it's not finished, we've got another one next week. It was a privilege to be in the stadium tonight, with fans being here and getting to Wembley.
"It'll be a night to remember but I also know my biggest emotion is getting ready for next Saturday."
After a 1-0 first leg triumph, Matt Grimes' sparkling goal put Swansea 2-0 up in the tie, but Barnsley replied through Cauley Woodrow's sharp finish.
Valerien Ismael's team then piled pressure on as they looked to force the contest to extra time.
But Swansea came through a nervy finale to set up a meeting with Brentford on Saturday, 29 May.
Swansea set up a Wembley date with Brentford as they saw off Barnsley 2-1 on aggregate in their Championship play-off semi-final.
Leading by a goal from the first leg, Matt Grimes set the Swans on their way at the Liberty Stadium with a wonderful strike late in the first half, while Cauley Woodrow's late goal led to a nervy finish and an eventual 1-1 draw in the second leg.
Steve Cooper's side are one step closer to a return to the Premier League after three years away. They face Brentford - the side that knocked them out of the play-off semi-finals last season - on Saturday, May 29.
Never has a draw felt so divine for Swansea City. It was not pretty but in the end it was enough to cement their spot in the Championship play-off final. Matt Grimes’s classy first-half strike was a beauty but they also had to show a beastly side to tame a brave Barnsley.
Cauley Woodrow’s equaliser gave the visitors hope but Swansea held on to triumph and reach Wembley. There was a deafening eruption of elation and relief from every crevice at the final whistle but for their manager, Steve Cooper, it is straight back to work.
"As soon as I get home later the laptop will be on and I’ll be looking at the opposition,” said Cooper, whose side will play Brentford, who they lost to in the play-off semi-finals last season, in the final next Saturday. “We’ve had two tough games against them. We know them well, they know us well and we’ll get ready for it. It will be a very different game. Of course I’m proud. This club has been on a unique journey and this is another chapter. But it’s not finished because we’ve got the last bit to do.”
There was a hint of symmetry about Grimes’s goal. Not only was it almost identical to the one that paved the way to Wembley and ultimately promotion for Swansea 10 years ago – when Leon Britton’s bewitching strike opened the scoring, also in front of the North Stand, against Nottingham Forest – but it also arrived in the 39th minute, as André Ayew’s left-foot strike did in the first leg. This time Grimes easily negotiated Callum Brittain on the edge of the box, chopping inside before sending a wonderful finish into the far pocket of the net.
The Swansea substitute Korey Smith spurned a golden chance to seal victory on the night – and on aggregate – but lost his footing as he raced through on goal one-on-one with the Barnsley goalkeeper, Brad Collins. As the clock ticked down into the first of five added minutes of second-half stoppage time, a Swansea free-kick on halfway was greeted with rapturous applause.
Swansea City booked their place in the Championship play-off final after edging out Barnsley by a 2-1 scoreline in the semi-finals.
The Swans led 1-0 after the first leg and put themselves in a commanding position as Matt Grimes curled a stunning strike beyond Brad Collins 39 minutes into the second leg at the Liberty Stadium.
However, Barnsley pushed in the second half and slashed Swansea's overall lead as Cauley Woodrow slotted beyond Freddie Woodman.
But the Swans held on for a draw that ensured they won the tie and sealed their place in next weekend's final against Brentford at Wembley.
Having won 1-0 at Oakwell, Steve Cooper made just one change to his starting XI from the first leg as Wayne Routledge - 17 years on from his first ever play-off appearance - came in for Liam Cullen who dropped to the bench.
After 441 days away from the Liberty, some 3,000 members of the Jack Army made their voices heard in what was a pulsating atmosphere throughout.
Swansea City manager Steve Cooper insisted, “3,000 felt like 35,000” as he praised the impact of the supporters who returned to the Liberty Stadium to see the hosts reach the Championship play-off final.
Leading 1-0 from the first leg, Matt Grimes spectacularly doubled that advantage before the break but then Cauley Woodrow’s second half strike set up the inevitable, tense finale.
At the final whistle, joy and relief was evident in equal measures among Swansea players, coaches, and most notably, fans.
After 39 minutes where the surrealistic notion of the returning crowd outweighed on-field quality, it was Swansea captain Grimes who turned tension into ecstasy.
Connor Hourihane’s free kick was palmed away by Brad Collins to Jay Fulton – who teed up the midfielder to jink past Callum Brittain on the edge of the area and curl a sublime left shot into the top corner.
But as the second half wore on, the action delved increasingly towards the Swansea area and with 20 minutes left, Barnsley substitute Jordan Williams burst forward and pulled the ball back to Woodrow, whose excellent first time shot beat Freddie Woodman.
The expected late barrage of balls into the box duly arrived, but with Marc Guehi and Ben Cabango seismic at the back, the Swans held on to set up a play-off final with Brentford at Wembley next Saturday.
Indeed, the night was only tempered by an injury to Wayne Routledge, with the veteran winger almost certain to be ruled out of next weekend.
Swansea City saw off Barnsley to seal their place in the Championship play-off final.
Steve Cooper's side drew 1-1 on the night to seal a 2-1 aggregate victory. The Swans will now attempt to return to the Premier League after being relegated in 2018.
They will face Brentford in next week's final after the Bees overcame Bournemouth earlier in the day.
The first half in South Wales was something of a non-event with genuine moments of quality few and far between.
That was until Matt Grimes stepped up, shortly before the interval.
He controlled the ball well, produced a fine shimmy to beat his man and bent an effort into the corner of the goal.
Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collins was helpless to prevent it flying past him.
The Swans held on for a winner-takes-all shot at Premier League football on May 29 by drawing 1-1 at the Liberty Stadium for a 2-1 aggregate victory.
Matt Grimes had doubled their first-leg lead with a superb strike before half-time, but Barnsley were given hope of turning the tie around when Cauley Woodrow fired home 19 minutes from the end of a full-blooded affair.
Barnsley piled on the pressure in the closing stages but were unable to find the equaliser that would have taken this play-off semi-final into extra time.
Mail on Sunday
Swansea’s captain fantastic Matt Grimes will have the honour of leading his side out at Wembley after his sublime strike kept their Premier League dream alive.
Steve Cooper watched his skipper curl an unstoppable effort into the top corner to give Barnsley a mountain to climb in this playoff semi-final second leg.
Just as the Swans were cruising towards a date with Brentford, Cauley Woodrow brought them back down to earth with a second-half strike to narrow the aggregate lead to a single goal, but Swansea showed their defensive mettle to hold firm.
The Welsh side will shed the favourites tag to become playoff final underdogs at the home of football, but they are now just 90 minutes from the promised land after rolling up their sleeves and winning ugly against the Tykes.