Ryan Manning earns in-form Swansea victory over relegation-haunted Huddersfield
Ryan Manning gave the Swansea fans a likely parting present with a 69th-minute winner against relegation-battling Huddersfield at the Swansea.Com Stadium.
The Republic of Ireland international wing-back has turned down a contract extension and is set to leave in the summer, but the 26-year-old showed he remains an important member of the Swans squad in the 1-0 victory over Town.
His fifth goal of the season earned Swansea a fourth win in five games and also got the crowd singing ‘we want you to stay’ to mark their appreciation.
Huddersfield arrived knowing that relegation rivals Cardiff had fallen 4-1 at Sheffield United in the early kick-off and that a win would carry them further away from the drop zone.
And, like Swansea, Neil Warnock’s men came into match in good form with three wins and two draws from their last five matches.
It was the first of two vital long trips to south Wales in their battle for Championship survival for Huddersfield, who visit the Cardiff City Stadium on April 30, and they set up to with a 5-4-1 formation, seemingly determined to frustrate Swansea from the off.
They succeeded in doing that throughout a first half in which all the big opportunities went Huddersfield’s way.
With 20 minutes gone, a back-post corner was headed across goal by Tom Lees to give Michal Helik a chance to head home, but he put his effort wide.
Jaheim Headley then found himself in acres of space in the home box after Danny Ward had flicked on a long throw, but his left-footed volley failed to hit the target.
At the other end, Ben Cabango, Swansea’s match-winner in the 3-2 triumph over Cardiff in the south Wales derby, headed a whipped cross from the left by Manning against the right post. The rebound just eluded the on-rushing Swansea players and Huddersfield could breath a sigh of relief.
Olivier Ntcham then smashed a golden chance from the edge of the area over the bar to leave the Swansea fans frustrated after a first half with no chances from either side on target.
Swansea boss Russell Martin replaced Ntcham with Wales international Oli Cooper at the start of the second half and he injected more pace and purpose into proceedings.
The first shot on target in the game came from home skipper Matt Grimes in the 55th minute.
A goal seemed inevitable from the Swansea side with up to 80 per cent possession at times during the game and it finally came in the 69th minute when Grimes set up Manning for a shot that looped into the goal after striking at least one Huddersfield player.
That was the cue for Swansea to pour forward as Huddersfield had to change their shape and finally try to get forward themselves.
The hosts had a few further shots in a bid to extend their lead, but then had to withstand one final effort from Huddersfield when the Terriers earned a free-kick on the edge of the home box.
Up stepped Jack Rudoni, but he could only blast his shot into the wall and so they remain within a point above the drop zone.
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