Swansea City show their steel with a win at Barnsley

Jamal Lowe scored for the triumphant Swans



Barnsley 0 - Swansea City 2


Fraser Watson


To the naked eye, it wasn’t pretty. 

To Steve Cooper and Swansea City, it was a game every bit as beautiful as the previous five, as a 2-0 win at Barnsley extended their unbeaten run to six league and cup games. 

For on a night where the visitors spent 45 minutes looking ragged and below par in a first half salvaged by Ben Cabango’s injury time goal, they again showcased a new-found ability to grind out results in tricky circumstances. 

Manager Steve is delighted

Until that point conditions had been poor, Barnsley hadn’t. But another strike early in the second half from the increasingly clinical Jamal Lowe gave Swansea an unlikely cushion that, thanks to resilient defending and keeper Freddie Woodman, they never relinquished. 

"A 2-0 win away from home is a brilliant result even though at times it probably wasn't pretty, but that's what it took,” said Cooper afterwards. 

"I don't know what it looked like on television, but the conditions weren't easy, we had to show a different side to us and I thought we did that.” 

Overcoming off-field problems

It’s that different side, which was also apparent in the home win over Barnsley back in December when the Liberty Stadium surface still resembled a farm field, which has propelled a side seemingly punching above their weight to genuine promotion contenders.

January has once again laid bare the shoestrings holding the club together behind the scenes with loan signings Kasey Palmer, Morgan Gibbs-White, and Viktor Gyokores all being recalled by their parent clubs. Replacements have not been forthcoming. 

And yet contrastingly, and somewhat defiantly, on the field a side now looking increasingly consistent under Cooper continues to churn out results.

Barnsley make the better start – but Swans lead at the break

At Oakwell, the evening started scrappily. Cabango’s slip gave Victor Adeboyejo a sight of goal, but he volleyed widely over with Cauley Woodrow much better placed to his right. 

Adeboyejo then forced Woodman into a smart save while Conor Chaplin and Callum Brittain both should have done better with half chances in the area. 

Indeed, as we reached the 45 minute mark the attempts on goal stats read 7-1 in favour of Barnsley, and yet undeservedly by half time the scoreboard would read 0-1 in favour of Swansea. Connor Roberts’ long throws, along with his all-round excellence, proved a feature of the evening and it was from this platform that Cabango rose highest to loop a wind assisted header into the top corner. 

Lowe on target once again

It was harsh on Barnsley, but 10 minutes after the break, they were the architects of their own downfall as Mads Anderson and Michael Helik were involved in an awful mix up from which Lowe pounced, going clean through before firing low past keeper Jack Walton. 

It was Lowe’s seventh goal in nine league games, his ninth for the season, and following a slow start at Swansea his current status borders on indispensable. 

Stunning save prevents home team’ fight back

After that Barnsley pressed. Woodrow headed wide and then it was Woodman who produced a stunning save from Brittain’s thunderous 30 yard half volley – acrobatically springing to his left to tip over what would have been a goal of the season contender. 

Ultimately, despite further pressure, the save secured an impressive 14th league clean sheet of the season for the keeper and his defence. 

Great result – but more strong tests come thick and fast

Bournemouth’s defeat at Luton earlier in the day means they now trail second placed Swansea by four points, with Brentford a point further back but with two games in hand on Cooper’s side. 

The tests continue to come thick and fast, with Blackburn Rovers and Ewood Park the next port of call on Tuesday. As the manager said, the Swans showed a different side to their play last night. 

He’ll know that to maintain this push for the Premiership, they’ll need to show it plenty more times before the season is out. 

Swansea City: Woodman; Naughton, Cabango, Guehi; Roberts, Smith, Fulton, Grimes (C), Bidwell; Lowe, Ayew. Subs not used: Hamer, Manning, Latibeaudiere, Cooper, Byers, Dhanda, Garrick, Routledge, Cullen.