Dan James inspired an amazing second-half comeback as Swansea reached the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with a 4-1 victory over 10-man Brentford.
The Bees controlled the first half to deservedly lead thanks to Ollie Watkins’ 28th-minute strike but Swansea equalised through goalkeeper Luke Daniels’ own goal before James, Bersant Celina and George Byers found their way onto the scoresheet.
Brentford’s misery was completed by the dismissal of Ezri Konsa and a yellow card for manager Thomas Frank following a touchline altercation with Swansea striker Oli McBurnie.
It was an incredible turnaround and one which Wales winger James – who almost joined Leeds on transfer deadline day last month – was right at the heart of.
James won the free-kick which went in off the back of goalkeeper Daniels, while his searing pace took him 70 yards to blast Swansea 2-1 ahead and he was also involved as Konsa was sent off.
Swansea might be in turmoil off the pitch with long-time chairman Huw Jenkins having resigned earlier this month following a chaotic transfer window.
Jenkins could work with Swansea’s American owners no longer, and the off-field problems at the Liberty Stadium had led to talk of fans boycotting this tie in protest at the way the club is being run.
Whether that was actually the case was unclear with the game being broadcast live on terrestrial television in Wales, but the crowd of 11,261 was nearly 4,000 down on Gillingham’s visit in the previous round.
Those that had chosen to stay away missed Swansea make a lively start, with James’ pace causing Brentford immediate problems and Byers firing just wide of the far post.
But the Bees took control as the first half unfolded, with Said Benrahma prominent and Sergi Canos’ crosses also signalling danger for Swansea.
Watkins went close from 20 yards, but the striker made no mistake two minutes later as Brentford launched a classic counter-attack.
Romaine Sawyers intercepted the ball on the edge of his penalty area and fed Benrahma in space. The ball was instantly slipped to Neal Maupay and the French striker timed his pass perfectly for the fast-supporting Watkins to thump home.
Brentford continued to dominate, but Swansea equalised within four minutes of the re-start after James was dragged back by Konsa on the edge of the area.
Celina hit the post and the unfortunate Daniels on the way out, and Brentford heads were still confused five minutes later when the Bees made a mess of a free-kick 30 yards out.
James closed down Maupay and picked up the loose ball before embarking on a run and goal that will be long remembered in Swansea.
Konsa then received a straight red card after 61 minutes for preventing James running clear on goal again, but Celina soon provided breathing space by beating two defenders and finding the bottom corner.
Connor Roberts saw his tap-in ruled out for offside, but Byers fired home from 20 yards in the final minute as Swansea booked a quarter-final spot for only the fifth time in their history.
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