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Swansea City 1-1 Brentford: Conor Hourihane goal denies Bees victory

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Jake Bidwell rises with David Raya but both players failed to make contact as Conor Hourihane's free-kick sailed into the net
Jake Bidwell rises with David Raya but both players failed to make contact as Conor Hourihane’s free-kick sailed into the net

Ten-man Swansea City moved back into the Championship’s top two after new signing Conor Hourihane’s goal secured a 1-1 draw with promotion rivals Brentford.

Brentford controlled the contest and looked to be heading for a deserved victory after Tariqe Fosu-Henry’s close-range header.

But Swansea, who had Kyle Naughton sent off for a second yellow card on 69 minutes, claimed an unlikely equaliser just four minutes later when league debutant Hourihane’s free-kick missed everyone and sailed into the net.

Hourihane was crossing rather than shooting, but the home side did not care as the point moved them back to second in the table.

Brentford are now unbeaten in 17 league matches, but missed a chance to leapfrog Swansea and climb into the automatic promotion places themselves.

Thomas Frank’s team have lost fewer games than any other English Football League team this season and never looked like getting beaten here.

The visitors had the greater share of possession and as a result took control of the game.

To their credit, Swansea’s formidable rearguard – they boast the best defensive record in the EFL – limited Brentford to only a couple of chances before the break.

The first came thanks to a precise long-range ball from Ethan Pinnock which sent Rico Henry racing in behind only for the left-back to pull his shot just wide of Freddie Woodman’s far post.

Swansea creaked again just before the half hour, Henry this time supplying an inviting cross which Bryan Mbeumo headed over.

The hosts’ first-half threat was minimal, though Hourihane was denied by a fine Vitaly Janelt block after one sharp passing move.

It was a similar pattern after the break, with Henrik Dalsgaard drilling over from 20 yards before Mathias Jensen’s neat ball presented a golden chance to Josh Dasilva only for the midfielder to shoot too close to Woodman.

Swansea’s task got harder when Naughton, already booked for cynically pulling down Toney, saw yellow again for catching Sergi Canos.

Swansea's players celebrate their late equaliser
Swansea’s players celebrate their late equaliser

The pressure mounted on Steve Cooper’s side, with Toney heading over and Jensen seeing a half-volley saved before the breakthrough finally came.

When Dalsgaard crossed from the right, substitute Fosu-Henry found space in the six-yard box to head home just his second goal of the season.

Remarkably Swansea, having created almost nothing, found a response. After Mads Sorensen’s somewhat needless foul on Jamal Lowe, Hourihane whipped in a free-kick from the right.

David Raya failed to claim Hourihane’s delivery – the Brentford goalkeeper’s appeals for a foul were ignored – and the ball bounced inside the far post.

Swansea head coach Steve Cooper:

“It was an okay game I thought, until the red card. They did have a good chance that Freddie saved, but there wasn’t any real clear-cut chances, apart from that.

“The red card, whether it is or not, I’m not sure, I’m certainly not complaining about it at the moment, we go 1-0 down and showed great character to get back into the game.

“[The goal] was a great delivery from Conor – an area that we talked about in the gameplan. The goalkeeper’s starting positions we felt were an area we could hit, and Conor’s put it where we planned to, and it’s brilliant to get ourselves back in the game.

“They had all of the ball to be fair and that will increase the possession stats and things like that, but we showed good resilience to get a point. We’ll take it and move on.”

Brentford head coach Thomas Frank:

“All I did the whole week to the players and the press was praise Swansea, because I mean it. They have done a top job and there’s a reason they’re second in the league.

“They are a well-coached and well-drilled team and when we come here and absolutely dominate from minute one until the last minute, it is very impressive.

“Of course, when it is 11 versus 10 you have to go on and win but that is why football is such a beautiful game. There is such small margins and then suddenly it is two points dropped.

“I think it (the equaliser) is a foul. I think there’s an elbow in the face and with VAR it would be disallowed, but the ball is put into a brilliant area.”

Line-ups

Swansea

Formation 3-1-4-2

  • 1Woodman
  • 26NaughtonBooked at 69mins
  • 44Cabango
  • 5Guehi
  • 8Grimes
  • 23RobertsBooked at 90mins
  • 6FultonBooked at 51mins
  • 14HourihaneBooked at 39mins
  • 24Bidwell
  • 9LoweSubstituted forManningat 90+1′minutes
  • 10A Ayew

Substitutes

  • 2Bennett
  • 3Manning
  • 11Morris
  • 18Hamer
  • 21Dhanda
  • 22Latibeaudiere
  • 31Cooper
  • 37Williams
  • 41Garrick

Brentford

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Raya
  • 22Dalsgaard
  • 5Pinnock
  • 29Bech Sørensen
  • 3Henry
  • 14Dasilva
  • 27JaneltSubstituted forGhoddosat 86′minutes
  • 8Jensen
  • 19MbeumoSubstituted forFosu-Henryat 56′minutes
  • 17Toney
  • 7CanósSubstituted forForssat 77′minutes

Substitutes

  • 15Forss
  • 20Ghoddos
  • 24Fosu-Henry
  • 28Daniels
  • 30Rasmussen
  • 31Zamburek
  • 36Stevens
  • 37Gilbert
  • 38Haygarth

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