Daniel Ayala nets 89th minute winner as Blackburn beat Swansea
Daniel Ayala’s late winner gave Blackburn a 1-0 win over Swansea to move level on points with the top six in the Championship.
It looked like becoming five successive draws for Rovers but Dominic Hyam and Ayala, who both returned from injury, combined for the Spaniard to head home his first goal of the season in the 89th minute to reignite their faltering play-off push.
Swansea are seven points off the play-offs after a third game without victory on the road and will rue not turning their possession into goals.
The visitors started the game in typical fashion by dominating the ball and went agonisingly close in the 16th minute.
Ryan Manning’s cross was thundered against the underside of the crossbar by Ben Cabango and though Harry Darling met the rebound, there was no power on his header and Aynsley Pears collected.
Tyrhys Dolan was able to drive into the area in the 24th minute but flashed his shot wide when well placed, before Rovers were opened up six minutes before the break when a crossfield ball was controlled by Joel Latibeaudiere but his cross was stabbed wide by Jay Fulton.
The home fans let their team know in no uncertain terms how they felt about the first-half performance and the early signs after the interval were promising, as Ben Brereton Diaz fired a first-time shot into the side netting after meeting Sorba Thomas’ cross.
Jon Dahl Tomasson’s men continued to hassle and pressure Swansea and were denied when Manning made two vital interventions, first heading away a Harry Pickering cross under pressure and brilliantly blocking a Thomas volley off the line.
Joel Piroe struck the side netting in the 65th minute with a ferocious volley as Swansea tried to reassert their dominance.
They should have been behind two minutes later when Brereton Diaz stole in behind Latibeaudiere to meet a John Buckley cross but Andy Fisher made a smart save down to his left and Cabango produced a superb clearance a minute later to deny the Chile international a tap-in.
A marauding Darling burst forward engineered space for Piroe who had time to take aim 25 yards out but hammered his shot straight down the throat of Pears.
Rovers dramatically got the goal their second-half endeavours deserved in the 89th minute when a Ryan Hedges cross was helped to the back post by Hyam and the onrushing Ayala sent the home support wild by stooping to head home.
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