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Andre Ayew leads by example to help Swansea climb to second in Championship

Swansea City v Huddersfield Town – Sky Bet Championship – Liberty Stadium
(Image credit: Nick Potts)

Captain Andre Ayew led by example for Swansea, scoring the goal which sealed a 2-0 win over Blackburn which cut Reading’s lead at the top of the Sky Bet Championship to four points.

Ayew – made skipper after club captain Matt Grimes was left among the substitutes – scored just past the hour mark after Ben Cabango’s header had given the home side a 1-0 interval lead.

The routine victory made it four games unbeaten for Swansea, who climb to second in the table.

It also extended Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray’s barren return in league matches against Swansea to seven games as a boss without a win.

Swansea were not at their free-flowing best, but with goalkeeper Freddie Woodman in solid form and Blackburn’s threatening moments rarely sustained, it was a comfortable home win.

The visitors’ early passing was crisp and incisive and they created an opportunity for Adam Armstrong from which he should have tested Woodman. Instead, the Blackburn marksman could only clip his shot wide.

Swansea’s response was a defence-splitting pass from midfielder Yan Dhanda, but striker Jamal Lowe was not sharp enough to benefit.

Regular captain Grimes had surprisingly been left on the bench by Swans head coach Steve Cooper and in the midfielder’s absence, the home side lacked their customary fluency.

But it did not stop them from taking the lead from a set-piece in the 25th minute when Cabango outmuscled Darragh Lenihan to power home a header from Connor Roberts’ corner.

It was 20-year-old Wales central defender Cabango’s second goal of the season, following his breakthrough in the previous campaign.

Ayew almost increased Swansea’s lead when his downward header from Roberts’ cross was tipped away by Blackburn goalkeeper Aynsley Pears.

But it was Rovers who ended the first half by mounting pressure and the combination of Armstrong and Ben Brereton caused moments of danger.

An awful header by Kyle Naughton left Armstrong in but Woodman was alert enough to smother the effort.

The Blackburn strike pair continued to cause problems after the break and it was a surprise when manager Mowbray chose to replace Brereton as part of a double substitution.

The impact was instant, but not in the way Mowbray had planned as his team fell 2-0 behind seconds later in the 61st minute.

Roberts did well to release Dhanda down the right and the former Liverpool man’s perfect cross was met with a firm downward header by Ayew for his sixth goal of the season.

Swansea sent on Viktor Gyokeres late on but the striker, on loan from Brighton, was unable to profit from a couple of openings.

Blackburn faded in the final quarter and rarely looked likely to launch a comeback.