Swansea City take a boost into their game at the Liberty Stadium on the weekend as they overcame a tough Barnsley side in South Yorkshire on Monday night. The home side made a swift start, but a resolute Swansea side made sure they took a goal advantage from the first leg into the second, away from South Yorkshire turf.
Barnsley made a quick start, having an early sight of goal with Romal Palmer curling over from the edge of the box. As the South Yorkshire outfit grew into the game, the Tykes fed off the energy of the crowd with Daryl Dike causing problems up top and Callum Brittain always looming to bomb down the right flank. But this was soon shattered as Andre Ayew gave the visitors the lead, taking down the ball on the right hand side, cutting in and curling the ball beyond Bradley Collins.
The Tykes tried to look for an instant response after going behind at home, Michal Helik heading straight at Freddie Woodman in goal. Cauley Woodrow also tried his luck with a free kick beating the wall, but his effort was smothered by Woodman at the second attempt.
The Swans tried to extend their lead as they were awarded a free kick on the left. Conor Hourihane stepped up to take it as the ball flashed agonisingly close across the face of goal. Jamal Lowe also came close in the 72nd minute tricking his way down the left cutting inside to shoot but his effort going narrowly wide.
The match was open but very competitive with both teams setting up very well, the Tykes up for the fight with the Swans always looking dangerous on the counter attack during the 90 minutes. Barnsley had 11 shots on goal during the game compared to Swansea's nine, with four shots on target to the away sides three. The possession count for the South Yorkshire outfit was higher with a 51% to 49% ratio at Oakwell. The total pass count for the Tykes was 298 to Swansea's 296. The South Yorkshire side also had the better passing accuracy of 42% to the visitors 47%. Of course the most important statistic on the night went in favour of the visitors, thanks to Ayew's strike.
Cooper knows the 1-0 lead in the 1st leg could prove to be very important come Saturday evening
Swansea will now host Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg, at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday evening.
Swans boss Steve Cooper was happy with the way that his side coped with the difficulty of the match away from home and was delighted with the goal that Andre Ayew scored to separate the two sides heading into the second leg, he said:
"We know what the game would be, we felt it would go a certain way and away from home you have to respect that and stand up to it and match it. I thought we did that. We got a real moment of excellence with Andre's goal and we managed to continue to be strong defensively. Andre has made the difference and we know he can do that. We've seen it plenty of times."