Swansea City 1-2 Bristol City: Sloppy Swans fall to defeat against rampant Robins

Having strengthened their squad with no less than four new signings, Michael Duff’s Swansea side welcomed mid-table Bristol City to the Swansea.com Stadium for the EFL Championship’s early kick-off. The Swans, unbeaten in seven matches at home, would look to continue their strong league record against the Robins – a side they have not lost to in the last five meetings.

SWA: Rushworth, Key, Ashby, Cabango, Wood, Naughton, Grimes, Patino, Cooper, Cullen, Yates

BRI: O’Leary, Pring, Naismith, Zyner, Gardner-Hickman, James, Williams, Knight, Sykes, Wells, Bell

With the home support in full voice, it would be the Swans that had the best of the opening period playing a slick passing game searching for an opening. 

The visitors, however, would be the side who would benefit from the first chance. Knight’s searching ball found Sam Bell, whose chipped pass to Mark Sykes would see an acrobatic effort find the back of the net – only to be ruled out for offside. Nonetheless, it would serve as early warning to the Swans, who had switched off at the back. 

It would be the home side though who would take an early lead following a mix-up in the Bristol City defense. Patino was alert to the indecision, winning the ball 25 yards out before taking a touch to play through the darting run of Cullen. The Wales forward timed his run to perfection before slotting past visiting goalkeeper Max O’Leary to rapturous applause from the home faithful.

The Robins would respond strongly with a spell of sustained pressure within the Swansea half looking to play directly into the channels, but would find the Swans defence organised and stubborn in resolve. 

However, Pearson’s side should have been level as the half came to the midpoint. A quick counter attack led by Knight resulted in Wells shooting straight at Swansea goalkeeper Carl Rushworth, despite being well placed on the penalty spot from the former Derby midfielder’s cutback. 

The chance seemed to galvanise the visitors with Rushworth called into action minutes later, saving smartly from Bell before Wells pick-pocketed Wood deep in the Swansea half to fire a wild effort over the crossbar. 

The Robins once again were cursing their luck with the ball finding its way into the Swansea net from an offside position. This time, Bell turned and swivelled to finish smartly from Cameron Pring’s searching ball – though the Bristol academy product was adjudged to be marginally offside. 

In an entertaining half, the Swans would be next to create a chance. Josh Key’s industrious run on the left-hand side wasn’t dealt with, allowing the former Exeter wing-back to pick out Patino – arriving late on the edge of the penalty area. The on-loan Arsenal midfielder was only able to drill his low effort wide of the Bristol goal, as the Swans took a single goal lead into the break. 

That wouldn’t last long though, as the visitors were back on level terms three minutes into the second half. The Robins midfield broke forwards quickly, with Joe Williams picking out Sykes on the right-hand side of the penalty area. The Irish midfielder, still with plenty to do, passed through the Swansea defence with ease before firing past a helpless Rushworth from close range. 

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Cullen nearly restored the Swans’ lead from the restart, with strike partner Yates’ cut-back finding the forward unmarked on the penalty spot. The Swans academy product, however, only managed to shoot straight at O’Leary. 

With their tails up, the Robins would force the Swans to defend deeper within their own half in a testing period of the game – and inevitably found a second goal. Bell fired in a left-footed effort from close range, unmarked at the back post following Sykes’ low right-wing cross was not dealt with by the Swans defence.

Duff sent on Joe Allen and Patterson to try to gain a foothold on the game, but it would be the visitors who would continue to dominate territory. 

The Swans would not be out of the contest though, and thought they had regained parity hitting the woodwork from a corner. Substitute Harry Darling headed into the path of Ben Cabango, whose flicked effort deceived O’Leary but not the base of the Bristol post – with the ball agonisingly going out of play. 

The Swans probed for an equaliser in the latter stages, but would lack a cutting edge to their play as the visitors continued to defend resolutely solidly with two rigid banks of four behind the ball.  

Much will now have to be mulled upon by head coach Duff before his side’s next league fixture against bitter rivals Cardiff City in the South Wales Derby, with the Swans lying perilously close to the Championship relegation zone. Bristol City will host West Brom when league action resumes on September 16.