Joel Piroe brace helps Swansea to victory as Derby survival hopes dented
Two goals from Joel Piroe saw Swansea claim a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Derby in the south of Wales.
Piroe took his tally to 20 goals this season, scoring twice early in the first half at the Swansea.com stadium as the hosts claimed a third victory in the space of eight days.
Derby captain Tom Lawrence kept the game in the balance with a penalty but it was not enough to save his team who are running out of matches to protect their Championship status.
The Rams were up against it from the start as Swansea dominated the early exchanges and enjoyed success down the visitors’ right flank through Jamie Paterson and Hannes Wolf.
Paterson’s early shot was deflected into the grateful hands of Ryan Allsop before Wolf created the game’s opening goal in the eighth minute.
His cross was passed over by Michael Obafemi for the better-positioned Piroe, who guided his left-foot effort past Allsop from close to the penalty spot.
Such was Swansea’s supremacy they doubled their lead eight minutes later as Piroe claimed his second.
His first intention was to release Obafemi after Jay Fulton won back possession in Derby territory.
The initial pass was cut out by Curtis Davies but only back to the feet of Piroe, who curled his shot into the same corner as his first goal.
Derby had been limited to a speculative effort from Lawrence but the captain held his nerve to half the deficit just six minutes later.
When Luke Plange was needlessly brought down in the box by Swansea goalkeeper Andy Fisher, the Wales international stepped up to squeeze his penalty into the net.
It was the first goal Swansea had conceded in more than five hours of football, since Peterborough in mid-March, and breathed some life into Derby’s play.
However, their goalkeeper narrowly escaped a similar mistake to his Swansea opposite number just moments later.
Allsop momentarily lost possession midway in his own half having rushed out to meet a long pass with Paterson breathing down his neck.
Paterson went down in the ensuing collision but referee Tim Robinson waved away Swansea protests.
The second half was timid reflection of the first with neither side willing to overcommit for fear of conceding the crucial next goal.
Wolf came closest when he struck the angle of the goal in the 68th minute.
Again his pace caused problems on the right of Derby’s defence. He appeared to have set up Obafemi but the striker cut back, laid the ball off to Wolf who poked his shot against the woodwork.
Derby threw bodies up in search of an equaliser, including Bartosz Cybulski who felt he was fouled in the box, sparking furious protests from Derby’s players and manager Wayne Rooney at the final whistle.
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