In a nervy first half lacking quality, the Swans would lead at the break from Jamal Lowe’s penalty after Josh Ginnelly had been brought down innocuously in the box by visiting wing-back Pol Valentin.
The second-half would be more polished and would see the home side run out clear winners with substitute Jerry Yates scoring a crucial second from a swift counter attack midway through the second period.
Charlie Patino would then seal the result for the home side with a smart chipped finish minutes later to provide under-fire manager Micheal Duff with his first taste of victory in the league campaign.
Having come into the match without a win in their opening seven league fixtures, the Swans would be in desperate need of a confidence-boosting victory.
Tuesday’s night’s 1-1 draw with Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road had shown promise with Ginnelly’s early strike seemingly providing Duff with his first league win at the club. It was not to be on that night with a late stoppage-time equaliser from Lyndon Dykes denying the Swans taking the three points back to South Wales.
It would be a different story today as the Northern Irishman gained a crucial victory to stop his side falling below the visitors at the foot of the table.
Duff had come into the game without several personnel. Ollie Cooper’s late red card for a second booking against QPR meant he would have to sit out the fixture with the Owls. The former Barnsley head-coach would also have injury problems with doubts over Liam Cullen and Josh Key, whilst Joe Allen, Liam Walsh and Kyle Naughton are all longer-term concerns.
Having been ‘taken out the firing line’ from the starting lineup on Tuesday night, Yates was again left on the substitutes bench as Cullen was passed fit to start up front in the Swans attack with Jamie Paterson.
Duff would make two changes bringing in Kristian Pederson into defense, whilst Patino would be recalled to midfield.
The visitors, also winless under ex-Watford manager Xisco Munoz would pick a team showing two changes from their 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough at Hillsborough, as they looked to for a victory in South Wales for the first time since the 1983/84 season.
Anthony Musaba would come in for a start having scored two in his previous three appearances for the Owls, whilst Lee Gregory replaced on-loan Watford forward Ashley Fletcher.
Unbeaten in the last six meetings in all competitions against the Yorkshire side, it would be the Swans who would start the brighter of the two sides and produce the game’s first sight at goal. Ginnelly finding space on the left-hand side to feed Lowe to prod an effort towards goal. The Jamaican’s shot, however, would lack the power to trouble Owl’s keeper Devis Vasquez.
In a stop-started physical opening period, the home side’s injury problems would continue as they would be dealt an early blow losing influential centre-half Nathan Wood to an ankle injury from a heavy challenge.
Sheffield would be robust in the challenge and would start to find their way into the game, winning the early midfield battle. Lethargic in play the Swans midfield at times would surrender possession too easily with Gregory a beneficiary finding room just inside the right-hand side of the penalty area to fire a powerful effort at goal. Home keeper Carl Rushworth on his near post though would be alert to the effort to tip over the crossbar as warning signs would be cast to Duff’s side.
It would be the Swans though who would get the game’s first opportunity to take the lead in the 28th minute. Ginnelly the one shining light in an otherwise slow first period showing neat skill on the left to beat Valentin before the Owl’s wing-back would clumsily bring down the former Hearts man with an innocuous challenge to earn his side a penalty.
Up stepped Lowe to score his first goal of his second spell at the Swansea.com Stadium, sending Vasquez the wrong way before smashing the ball into the top right-hand corner.
Joy would be short-lived in one respect for the Swans as Ginnelly became the second casualty of the game, adding to a growing list of casualties for the home side, falling victim to a late challenge from Jeff Hendrick.
In a half void of quality, the Swans thought they had doubled their lead deep into first-half stoppage time. Substitute Yates showing neat touch and awareness to feed Lowe with his back to goal. The on-loan Bournemouth forward turning before firing a snapshot to draw a save from Vasquez, before strike partner Cullen fired into the net from close range. Celebrations would be minimal, however, with the goal ruled out for offside.
The Swans would show more impetus in the second period and would produce the half’s first moment of quality. Full back Pederson sending a searching cross into the penalty area finding the head of Cullen, but the Wales forward would be unable to control the finish with the ball sailing over the crossbar.
The visitors would be dangerous from set pieces and would come close to an equaliser on the hour mark as a spate of substitutions would impact the game. Barry Bannan’s pinpoint cross finding substitute Callum Paterson to drive an effort towards the Swansea goal.
With the ball pinballing around the Swans penalty area, it would fall to defender Bambo Diaby to smash the crossbar with power from close range after the home side hadn’t cleared their defensive lines from a corner.
It would be the Swans though who would soak up the pressure and form a break to score a crucial second goal just as the visitors threatened. A neat piece of play between Paterson, Lowe and Cullen saw the former backheel into the path of Yates to slot calmly into the right-hand corner of the net. The former Blackpool forward scoring his third goal of the season to double the home side’s lead.
With the away side switching off it would soon be three as the Swans would catch the Owls pushing forward. A neat counter attack seeing Lowe play through Patino to dink a chipped effort over the advancing Vasquez into an empty net for the on-loan Arsenal midfielder’s first goal in South Wales.
The Swans would start to find space on the left-hand side regularly with the delivery of Pederson on point. Yates close to scoring a fourth meeting the Dane’s cross with a header that ended inches over the crossbar.
As the visiting crowd chanted to their manager ‘you’re being sacked in the morning’ the galvanised home side looked comfortable against their crestfallen opponents and would see out the remainder of the match to be comfortable winners.
Swansea City X1
Carl Rushworth, Josh Key, Josh Ginnelly (Jerry Yates 41), Kristian Pederson, Ben Cabango, Nathan Wood (Harry Darling 10), Matt Grimes (captain), Charlie Patino (Jay Fulton 73), Jamal Lowe (Josh Tymon 73), Liam Cullen, Jamie Paterson.
Sheffield Wednesday X1
Devis Vasquez, Di’Shon Bernard, Bambo Diaby, Akin Famewo, Pol Valentin (Ashley Fletcher 69), Jeff Hendrick (George Byers 77), Barry Bannan (captain), Juan Delgado (Callum Paterson 54), John Buckley (Josh Windass 54), Lee Gregory (Micheal Smith 69), Anthony Musaba.
(Lead image: Swansea City FC)
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