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Players and coaches clash during Swansea’s draw with Birmingham

Swansea City v Birmingham City – Sky Bet Championship – Liberty Stadium
(Image credit: David Davies)

Swansea and Birmingham shared a 0-0 Championship draw that was overshadowed by players and coaches clashing at the Liberty Stadium.

The two teams could not be separated over the course of 90 minutes, during which home first-team coach Alan Tate grabbed Blues midfielder Jon Toral by the throat.

Both sides clashed following the incident, but there were few clear-cut chances in either half as they had to settle for a point apiece.

Swansea started brightly and Korey Smith fired a cross along the six-yard box which none of his team-mates could reach, while Morgan Gibbs-White also escaped the Birmingham defence.

Blues captain Harlee Dean was booked for hacking down Jamal Lowe after he exchanged nice passes with left wing-back Jake Bidwell. Bidwell then had a header saved easily by Neil Etheridge.

At the other end Swansea goalkeeper Freddie Woodman got down low to deny Toral as Birmingham started to grow into the game.

Etheridge saved a Matt Grimes free-kick too, but as the first period wore on the frustration of both sets of players and coaching staff at referee Gavin Ward rose.

It culminated just before the break when Tate put his hands on Toral on the touchline and a huge melee by the tunnel broke out.

After the break Gibbs-White raced in on goal but the Wolves loanee should have done better with his shot, which was tame and easily saved.

Ward had had a word with both benches before the restart, but the edge to the game did not disappear as Bidwell clattered Toral.

Birmingham’s Jeremie Bela worked Woodman and Toral was replaced by Gary Gardner as both sides struggled to break the deadlock.

Etheridge did get a vital hand on a Grimes free-kick to stop Swansea opening the scoring and Dean had a header from a Birmingham corner saved.

Aitor Karanka’s Blues realised the direct route was bringing them success and they swung in a series of set-pieces on Woodman which Swansea defender Joe Rodon did well to head clear.

Home head coach Steve Cooper introduced striker Liam Cullen for Lowe and Swansea did finish the stronger. Their best chance came via a long Connor Roberts throw with three minutes to go.

The ball found its way to centre-half Marc Guehi after Swansea had loaded the box. His shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but Etheridge marked his first Birmingham start with a smart save.

It was a crucial moment which denied Swansea all three points.