EFL Championship leaders Leicester travelled to South Wales as favourites on Saturday, with a perfect 100% away record – and 10 wins from 11 games – in the second tier thus far this term. In their way would be Michael Duff’s in-form Swans side, buoyant with four wins on the bounce looking to spoil another Vardy party.
SWA: Rushworth, Key, Tymon, Darling, Humphries, Grimes (captain), Patino, Cullen, Paterson, Lowe, Yates.
LEI: Hermansen, Pereira, Faes, Vestergaard, Justin, Ndidi, Winks, Dewsbury-Hall, Fatawu, Vardy, Mavididi.
It would be the away side that had the best of the opening exchanges, fashioning the first effort towards goal as Wilfred Ndidi stole the ball in midfield before an intricate move involving Jamie Vardy and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall would see Harry Winks bending an effort just over the Swansea goal.
The Swans, however, would grow into the game as they found themselves thrust into a competitive half. Comfortable on the ball, midfield creators Matt Grimes and Charlie Patino would link before almost finding the well-timed run of forward Jerry Yates. Mads Hermansen in the Leicester goal though would be alert to the danger to intercept and break the attack.
The Swans would build upon this spell of pressure and would be rewarded midway through the first period, taking a surprise lead with captain Grimes spectacularly scoring his third goal of the season.
Under pressure, the Leicester defence would fail to clear their lines sufficiently from a corner, with the ball only going as far as the edge of the penalty area. With perfect technique, Grimes would connect beautifully with a left-foot rasping volley that flew past a despairing Hermansen into the bottom right-hand corner.Embed from Getty Images
The goal would shake Leicester into a response, with their play showing more of a sense of direct urgency. Stephy Mavididi found space down the right before flashing a low cross across the face of goal, which would evade everyone – allowing the Swans to clear.
Carl Rushworth would be the busier of the two goalkeepers, having to deal with an onslaught of crosses as the visitors pressed high on the Swans defence.
Dewsbury-Hall would then come close with a cross-come-shot, which would be dragged just wide of the Swans goalkeeper’s post after Harry Winks had shown good vision to pick out his midfield partner.
The latter would be lively and would have a potshot of his own on the turn, but the effort would go straight into the hands of the on-loan Brighton man from the edge of the area, as the visitors looked the more likely without creating a clear-cut opportunity.
Then would come the decisive moment in the half, as Leicester would level the scoreline on the stroke of half-time. A corner from the left was met by the head of Belgian defender Wout Faes, but would go straight into the midriff of a Swansea defender. With Rushworth down on the ground, Jannik Vestergaard would be first to react, tapping into an empty net.Embed from Getty Images
The Swans responded well and could have regained their lead before the break in the next phase of play. Liam Cullen picked the ball up on the right before unleashing a 25-yard left-foot thunderbolt which crashed into the woodwork via a deflection – and the resulting corner also nearly proved fruitful for the home team with Harry Darling’s header exposing the Foxes’ problems on set-pieces, although his header failed to meet the target.
Leicester would dictate the play in the early stages of the second half, looking to push Swansea back deep into their own half. Mavididi came close to benefitting from neat work from Ndidi and Vardy, but would drag his shot across the goal when well placed on the left-hand side.
The visitors would control the play at times and, despite the Swans having positive moments, would take the lead for the first time. Abdul Fatawu crashed an effort into the top corner past Rushworth after Dewsbury-Hall’s pin-point cross had picked out the Ghanaian international winger at the back post.Embed from Getty Images
With the Foxes in full swing, it looked like a matter of time before they scored a critical third goal. The Swans would be in debt to Rushworth when he denied Vardy, with the Leicester striker through on goal, whilst Ndidi would miss a guilt-edged opportunity when well-placed minutes later.
The Swans though would weather the storm and almost leveled as the game entered the last fifteen minutes, with Jamie Paterson having an effort blocked last-ditch by Faes in the Leicester defence.
Jamaican forward Jamal Lowe would then pull a diving stop from Mads Hermansen, curling an effort from 25-yard towards the bottom corner as the crowd started to sense a comeback.
Hopes ended though for the home side with five minutes to go, with the visitors catching the Swans on the counter attack to score. Substitute Kelechi Iheanacho slotted past Rushworth after being played through on goal, with the Swans committing numbers in the opposition half.
Leicester City host Sunderland in midweek, with Swansea City also preparing to welcome Watford to the Swansea.com Stadium. Both clashes will be televised within the UK.