Swansea City 1-0 Rotherham United: Grimes goal enough for Swans


Swansea celebrate their opening goal
Swansea secured a third consecutive home league win for the first time since August 2019, last doing so without conceding in April 2019.

Swansea City secured a third successive home win over a blunt Rotherham United thanks to Matt Grimes’ first-half goal.

The Swans took the lead on 28 minutes through Grimes’ first goal of the season as his speculative effort went straight through goalkeeper Jamal Blackman, who endured a tough afternoon.

Jamal Lowe and Jake Bidwell were both denied by last-ditch blocks as they looked to add gloss to the scoreline.

Rotherham then saw a late penalty claim, for handball by Ryan Bennett, turned down.

Swansea rise to fifth in the Championship, two points off top spot, while Rotherham remain 20th.

The visitors, boosted by victory over Preston last time out opted to name only seven substitutes despite the rule change this week which means a bench of nine is now permitted, with injuries forcing boss Paul Warne’s hand.

The Millers were hoping to end a rotten recent record in Swansea, having won just one of their last 16 trips in the league, with their last victory coming in 2006.

However, it was arguably a good time to be facing the Swans as a mixture of injuries and illness forced boss Steve Cooper into making four changes from the side narrowly beaten by Norwich before the international break.

Key players were missing through injury at both ends of the pitch in defender Marc Guehi and talisman Andre Ayew, with the Swans suffering a further blow with forwards Viktor Gyokeres and Jordon Garrick absent having returned positive Covid-19 tests.

That meant a first league start for 21-year old Liam Cullen, the Swans academy graduate who happened to be a mascot for the club when they played Rotherham in 2006.

It was Cullen who produced the best chance of a tepid opening 15 minutes when he met Grimes’ excellent corner and headed firmly at goal, but Blackman showed fine reactions to tip the ball behind.

Blackman did not play in Rotherham’s win over Preston with Viktor Johansson starting in goal and the decision to recall the Chelsea loanee backfired when Swansea opened the scoring with a gift of a goal.

Blackman allowed Grimes’ speculative effort from 20 yards to squirm through his body after an unconvincing punch from a Connor Roberts corner.

Blackman then received a huge slice of luck after charging out of his goal and missing his kick, with Roberts’ cross presenting an open goal for Lowe, who incredibly hit the post from just 12 yards out.

The visitors were struggling to create clear-cut openings, but goalkeeper Freddie Woodman did need to be alert a couple of times to reach long balls before the onrushing Matt Crooks did.

Rotherham’s best move came moments before the interval, but Woodman was able to save as Jamie Lindsay twisted and fired in a low shot from just outside the penalty area.

The Millers made two changes at the break, including the introduction of a Miller, with Matt Olosunde and Jamie Lindsay making way for Trevor Clarke and Mickel Miller while Michael Smith and Kyle Vassell were also thrown on early in the second half as Warne rang the changes.

However, it was the hosts who enjoyed the first chance of the second period but Cullen took too long to shoot.

The visitors were only really asking questions from set-pieces, but it was Swansea who almost doubled their lead from a free-kick as Blackman tipped Yank Dhanda’s effort away.

Rotherham captain Michael Ihiekwe headed over under pressure from Kyle Naughton with 20 minutes remaining but the Swans really shout have killed off the game when Blackman was again out of position and this time Jake Bidwell had a free strike at goal, but Wes Harding made a superb block.

Bidwell then headed just wide after fine build-up and the hosts became nervous having failed to add a second, with Vassell heading at Woodman as Rotherham poured on the pressure late on.

Warne’s men were aggrieved in the final moments when Smith’s header was cleared off the line by Bennett, with the visitors convinced the former Wolves defender used his arm to control the ball, but referee Matthew Donohue waved away the protests.

Woodman then dropped a corner with just 90 seconds remaining, but Korey Smith scrambled clear when any Rotherham touch would have led to a goal, while Angus MacDonald fired over deep into stoppage time.

Line-ups

Swansea

  • 1Woodman
  • 23Roberts
  • 44Cabango
  • 2BennettBooked at 32mins
  • 26Naughton
  • 6Fulton
  • 8Grimes
  • 21DhandaSubstituted forPalmerat 77′minutes
  • 24Bidwell
  • 20CullenSubstituted forRoutledgeat 73′minutes
  • 9LoweSubstituted forSmithat 87′minutes

Substitutes

  • 3Manning
  • 7Smith
  • 13Benda
  • 15Routledge
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 30Rushesha
  • 31Cooper
  • 37Williams
  • 45Palmer

Rotherham

  • 27Blackman
  • 22OlosundeSubstituted forClarkeat 45′minutes
  • 20Ihiekwe
  • 21MacDonald
  • 19Harding
  • 16LindsaySubstituted forMillerat 45′minutes
  • 26BarlaserBooked at 45mins
  • 25Crooks
  • 28JozefzoonSubstituted forVassellat 62′minutes
  • 9HirstSubstituted forSmithat 54′minutes
  • 8Wiles

Substitutes

  • 1Johansson
  • 2Jones
  • 5Thompson
  • 7Vassell
  • 14Miller
  • 18Clarke
  • 24Smith

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