Swansea City move to within a single point of the play-offs, as Steve Cooper's welsh side condemn Birmingham City to another defeat since the resumption of the Championship. An early goal from Lukas Jutkiewicz was the perfect start for the Blues, but the travelling Swans replied in kind, with finishes from Rhian Brewster and Ben Cabango being topped off by Jay Fulton early in the second half. The result leaves Pep Clotet's Birmingham just five points above the drop.
Story of the match
Lighting start from both outfits
The fixture began at an electric pace, with Jutkiewicz putting the Blues a goal up within five minutes. The forward has struggled to hit the net in recent games, but he put that behind him early on, heading the ball past Freddy Woodman with force. Just seven minutes later Rhian Brewster levelled the match. A knock-down from Conor Gallagher landed at the feet on the on-loan Liverpool striker, who struck the ball sweetly past the diving Lee Camp who could do nothing to stop Brewster claiming his 8th goal for the Swans.
Following the goals, both sides attempted to take the lead once more. However, neither managed to claw out a clear-cut chance until the 32nd minute - where Swansea midfielder Matt Grimes struck a fierce shot which would of drawn ooo's from the crowd should fans have lined the stands. Grimes was teed up by Gallagher, and from 20 yards his effort went only a few yards wide of the goal.
Birmingham should have learned their lesson, however, just moments after Swansea levelled, they nearly punished the Blues again. A delightful chip by Rhian Brewster left Camp feeling embarrassed, only for his blushes to be spared as the linesman had his flag up for offside.
On the stroke of half time, scoring his first ever goal, Ben Cabango earned his side the lead. A scuffed effort from Connor Roberts took a wicked deflection, seeing it land in-front of Cabango just outside of the six yard area. The 20-year-old put smiles on the face of his manager Steve Cooper, as the Welshman's effort deflected past Camp, to the dread of Birmingham fans.
Woes continue into the second half for Blues
Swansea seemed to put the nail in the Birmingham coffin just seven minutes into the second half. Jay Fulton's strike wasn't clean, but it was enough for the ball to nestle into the top of the net, following some questionable defending from the sinking Blues. It was the midfielder's second goal of the season.
Pep Clotet attempted to revive his side's fortunes at half-time by bringing on the apparently Dortmund bound, Jude Bellingham. The highly-rated young midfielder simply couldn't make an impact as his side struggled to latch onto the elusive ball.
The Blues turned towards set-pieces and long throws to try and carve a way back into the fixture, however at every attempt they found their chances stifled by the travelling Welsh outfit.
Jérémie Bela looked lively, but not even his determination could help Pep Clotet's men pull themselves back into the game, and the winger ran himself into the ground, and was replaced with just over ten minutes remaining.
The Swans could have made the result all-but confirmed, as Brewster nearly doubled his tally. The forward finished a chip earlier in the game but saw that goal given offside, and on the second attempt the ball was stopped by Lee Camp, who wasn't falling for it again.
The win for Swansea sets up an interesting and tight battle for the play-offs, as Cardiff City now look over their shoulders and see their Welsh counterparts breathing down their necks.
Birmingham City would have thought they were probably safe given the poor form of teams around them. However, they now find themselves just five points above the drop, and Pep Clotet will now be thinking his side may be drawn into the war for safety.
Rhian Brewster once again showed he is a lethal striker, with the Liverpool loanee notching another at the Swans, taking his tally to 8 since joining the Welsh side. His eye for goal was to marvel at times, with the England under-21 international missing out on a brace due to an offside call.