Swansea City vs Derby County. Sky Bet Championship.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Swansea and Derby County at the Swansea.com Stadium as Joel Piroe's double pushed Wayne Rooney's Rams closer to relegation.
Saturday 9 April 2022 19:32, UK
Two goals from Joel Piroe saw Swansea claim a 2-1 win over relegation-threatened Derby in south Wales.
Piroe took his tally to 20 goals this season, scoring twice early in the first half at the Swansea.com stadium as the hosts claimed a third victory in the space of eight days.
Derby captain Tom Lawrence kept the game in the balance with a penalty but it was not enough to save his team who are running out of matches to protect their Championship status.
The Rams were up against it from the start as Swansea dominated the early exchanges and enjoyed success down the visitors' right flank through Jamie Paterson and Hannes Wolf.
Paterson's early shot was deflected into the grateful hands of Ryan Allsop before Wolf created the game's opening goal in the eighth minute.
His cross was passed over by Michael Obafemi for the better-positioned Piroe, who guided his left-foot effort past Allsop from close to the penalty spot.
Such was Swansea's supremacy they doubled their lead eight minutes later as Piroe claimed his second.
His first intention was to release Obafemi after Jay Fulton won back possession in Derby territory.
The initial pass was cut out by Curtis Davies but only back to the feet of Piroe, who curled his shot into the same corner as his first goal.
Derby had been limited to a speculative effort from Lawrence but the captain held his nerve to half the deficit just six minutes later.
When Luke Plange was needlessly brought down in the box by Swansea goalkeeper Andy Fisher, the Wales international stepped up to squeeze his penalty into the net.
It was the first goal Swansea had conceded in more than five hours of football, since Peterborough in mid-March, and breathed some life into Derby's play.
However, their goalkeeper narrowly escaped a similar mistake to his Swansea opposite number just moments later.
Allsop momentarily lost possession midway in his own half having rushed out to meet a long pass with Paterson breathing down his neck.
Paterson went down in the ensuing collision but referee Tim Robinson waved away Swansea protests.
The second half was timid reflection of the first with neither side willing to overcommit for fear of conceding the crucial next goal.
Wolf came closest when he struck the angle of the goal in the 68th minute.
Again his pace caused problems on the right of Derby's defence. He appeared to have set up Obafemi but the striker cut back, laid the ball off to Wolf who poked his shot against the woodwork.
Derby threw bodies up in search of an equaliser, including Bartosz Cybulski who felt he was fouled in the box, sparking furious protests from Derby's players and manager Wayne Rooney at the final whistle.
Swansea's Russell Martin: "We're absolutely delighted. It can't be understated what it's taken this week for the players, physically and emotionally. To ask them to go again with the same intensity and energy after two away games and the importance of last weekend's derby was tough. We started the game brilliantly well and then a bit of tiredness crept in. There was some brilliant football at times, there was some tired and sloppy football at other times.
"But I can't give them enough credit for what they've done this week. They deserve it for the amount of pain they've been through already this season and how together they've stayed. So I'm incredibly proud of them. It's been a long time coming that third win in a week."
Derby's Wayne Rooney: "I think everyone in the stadium agrees (it was a penalty), the Swansea manager, fans, players, Derby players and fans knows it was a clear penalty apart from the four officials. I've said it time and again. I understand it's difficult to give a decision when it's a tight call but that was a clear and obvious foul and penalty.
"It leaves a lot of questions which I have to ask of the officials. I hope the referee gets banned and fined because that is not good enough. We've got a good young group of players who are working hard to try and help this club get through the difficulties it's going through. He gets wrestled to the ground and the officials don't see it. It's crazy. mYou can ask what do we do? Do we get VAR in but officials are looking at VAR on a screen and still getting decisions wrong so I don't know where we go but it feels easy to give decisions against us."