Swansea 1-0 Aston Villa: Federico Fernández condemns visitors to defeat
By Lewis Jones
Last Updated: 19/03/16 8:18pm
Aston Villa plunged closer to relegation from the Premier League as they lost 1-0 to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.
After competing well for 53 minutes, Villa switched off defensively and allowed Federico Fernandez to bundle home from close range.
The goal drained all confidence out of the visitors, who have lost their last six games and are 12 points from safety with seven games remaining.
Meanwhile, Swansea have now won five of their 10 games since Francesco Guidolin's appointment and pull 11 points clear of the relegation zone.
Guidolin was back in the dugout after missing the last three games with a chest infection, but his presence on touchline didn't have an impact on his players as Joleon Lescott and Jordan Ayew both fired off target from presentable openings for Villa in the early stages.
Remi Garde's men, who are without an away win since their opening day victory over Bournemouth, looked sharp with and without the ball as Swansea struggled to get their passing game going.
Good chances were few and far between though. Ayew found space in box on 40 minutes but was denied by a fantastic saving tackle from Ashley Williams.
The Swansea skipper was at it again minutes later to head a Rudy Gestede bicycle kick over the crossbar.
Villa fans would have been hoping their team could kick-on after the break but despite having looked comfortable defensively, one mistake cost them dear.
Gylfi Sigurdsson sent over a free-kick from deep which found Fernandez in acres of space in the penalty box. Brad Guzan came flying out of goal to deal with the cross but didn't commit his body to the challenge and ended up flapping the ball against the Swans centre-half. The ball tricked into the net - it was Swansea's only shot on target in the game.
Villa's response was limited as the confidence gained from a spirited first-half display evaporated.
However, Lescott should have done better on 64 minutes when meeting a Carlos Gil corner but turned the ball straight down the throat of Lukasz Fabianski.
That was as good as it got for Villa, who struggled to create any openings in the final 25 minutes as Williams stood strong at the heart of the Swans backline.
The victory all-but guarantees Swansea's Premier League survival while Villa need a footballing miracle.
Swansea: Fabianski (7), Rangel (7), Fernandez (7), Williams (8), Kingsley (7), Cork (7), Ki (7), Fer (6), Barrow (7), Sigurdsson (7), Gomis (6)
Subs: Naughton (6), Britton (7), Routledge (6)
Aston Villa: Guzan (4), Hutton (6), Lescott (6), Clark (6), Cissokho (6), Westwood (6), Gana (6), Ayew (6), Gil (6), Veretout (6), Gestede (6)
Subs: Agbonlahor (6), Green (5)
Man of the match: Ashley Williams