Michael Obafemi header guides Swansea to victory over Blackburn

Swansea City v Blackburn Rovers – Sky Bet Championship – Swansea.com Stadium
(Image credit: Bradley Collyer)

Ten-man Swansea held on to claim a surprise 1-0 win over automatic-promotion hopefuls Blackburn thanks to Michael Obafemi’s first-half header.

Obafemi’s 16th-minute header was enough to claim all three points for the hosts at the Swansea.com Stadium, despite defender Ryan Manning’s dismissal eight minutes into the second half.

The victory, only their second in 10 games, saw Swansea climb to 16th in the Championship table, while Rovers remain second but they missed the chance to gain ground on leaders Fulham.

Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray handed debuts to Wales international Ryan Hedges, signed from Aberdeen last week, and Ryan Giles, who joined on loan from Wolves having spent the first half of the season at Swansea’s arch rivals Cardiff.

Joe Rothwell also returned to the starting XI while top scorer Ben Brereton-Diaz was only a substitute after returning from international duty with Chile.

Mowbray’s men forced Swansea onto the back foot early on with a series of lightning quick attacks down the flanks.

John Buckley could have given them a dream start in only the second minute but he scuffed his shot into the grateful arms of Andy Fisher from Ryan Nyambe’s cross.

But the hosts weathered the early storm and took the lead in the 16th minute with their first attack of note.

And it was Jamie Paterson who made the difference on his return to the side with a superb cross for Obafemi to head home at the far post.

Paterson curled a shot just over the top from the edge of the area soon afterwards but Blackburn responded well.

Darragh Lenihan headed against the post from Giles’s free-kick before Buckley poked the rebound over the bar.

Giles then saw a shot palmed to safety by Fisher before Hedges flashed a shot across goal and wide from the left in first-half stoppage time.

Lenihan produced a vital last-ditch tackle to deny Piroe a one-on-one with Thomas Kaminski in the Rovers goal five minutes into the second half.

But the momentum shifted when Manning was shown a second yellow for a high boot on Lenihan on 54 minutes.

Mowbray sent on Brereton-Diaz and Reda Khadra for Hedges and Deyovaisio Zeefuik in an attempt to get back into the game, while Martin prepared for a defensive battle with Ryan Bennett and Korey Smith replacing Olivier Ntcham and goalscorer Obafemi.

The Blackburn boss then played his final card, sacrificing another wing-back as Nyambe was replaced by Joe Rankin-Costello to crank up the pressure on the home defence.

And Swansea responded with Joel Latibeaudiere, another defender, replacing their top scorer Piroe.

It was backs-to-the-wall stuff at times from the Welsh side but they held firm to frustrate their promotion-chasing opponents, with Lenhian wasting two chances in the final five minutes.

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