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Luke Williams seals first home league win as Swansea boss

02 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Background image Christopher Elkins (CC BY 2.0).

Luke Williams finally earned his first league home victory as Swansea head coach at the fifth attempt with a 2-1 win against Blackburn.

Williams’ previous four Sky Bet Championship matches in front of Swansea fans had all ended in defeat, but first-half goals from Joe Allen and Jamie Paterson enabled him to break that sequence.

The Championship’s top scorer Sammie Szmodics pulled a goal back for Blackburn just past the hour mark, but Rovers were unable to make their second-half dominance pay.

It meant back-to-back league wins for the Swans for the first time since October.

But Blackburn are now without a win in their last six matches in all competitions and although they are 17th in the table, they are only a point above the drop zone.

Swansea started positively and were rewarded when they went ahead in the seventh minute through Allen’s second goal of the season.

Winger Przemyslaw Placheta did the hard yards on the left and when his cross was not cleared properly, former Wales international Allen was able to drill his shot downwards and bounce it into the far corner.

Blackburn found the pace of Placheta and fellow wide man Ronald difficult to handle, with Kyle McFadzean picking up an early yellow card for a foul on Ronald.

But Rovers also added to their own troubles by giving the ball away and it was from such an error that they fell 2-0 behind after 19 minutes.

Andrew Moran lost possession under pressure from Swans skipper Matt Grimes with the ball falling into the path of Paterson.

He swept past McFadzean before firing low past Blackburn keeper Aynsley Pears from the edge of the box.

Rovers’ own attacking threat was minimal in the opening half hour with a shot from Callum Brittain that flashed past the far post, and another from the wing-back that was held by keeper Carl Rushworth.

But their efforts intensified just before the break and Tyrhys Dolan saw one effort saved and another go just wide of the post.

Blackburn made two substitutions at half-time – bringing on Arnor Sigurdsson and Yasin Ayari – and looked more threatening.

It needed two timely interventions from Swansea centre-back Ben Cabango to keep out Rovers striker Sam Gallagher as the visitors looked for a way back into the contest.

Cabango stepped up for a third time to block an effort from Szmodics, but moments later Rovers’ top scorer had pulled a goal back with his 25th of the season in all competitions.

A free-kick on the right from John Buckley reached Szmodics and the striker reacted sharply to sweep the ball home in the 67th minute.

Blackburn were now in the ascendancy and Swansea were clinging on to their narrow advantage.

But from a rare home breakout, substitute Jerry Yates should have given Swansea breathing space, only for the striker to dither over his shot which enabled Pears to save.

Despite defending for most of the nine minutes of added time, Williams’ side kept Rovers at bay.

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