Andre Ayew’s solitary first-half strike at Oakwell has given Swansea a slender 1-0 lead of their Sky Wager Championship play-off semi-final in opposition to Barnsley.
Ayew produced the sport’s solely second of sophistication six minutes earlier than half-time within the first leg when he curled house an important aim for Steve Cooper’s facet.
Swansea, who will defend their slender benefit on Saturday within the return leg on the Liberty Stadium, owed a lot to goalkeeper Freddie Woodman’s sensible second-half save, whereas the Yorkshire membership additionally struck the crossbar late on.
An uplifting sense of expectation crammed the stadium earlier than kick-off, with round 4,500 Reds followers allowed again in to look at their facet for the primary time since March 2020.
The match-day announcer had completely captured the temper. “It provides me nice pleasure to have the ability to say this for the primary time in 436 days,” he stated. “Welcome to Oakwell!”
It was the primary time Barnsley head coach Valerien Ismael, appointed in October final yr, had walked to his dugout in entrance of a crowd and he obtained a rapturous reception.
The 45-year-old has remodeled Barnsley from relegation candidates to Premier League hopefuls in seven months, whereas Swansea have reached the play-offs for the second-consecutive season.
The house facet have been first to threaten when fit-again skipper Alex Mowatt’s effort curled astray.
It was quick and livid, however low on finesse and the primary second of high quality offered Swansea with the breakthrough within the thirty ninth minute.
Ayew obtained Kyle Naughton’s go down the suitable channel and his sharp flip inside gave him house to twist a candy left-footed end contained in the far submit for his 18th aim of the season.
Barnsley responded, however defender Michal Helik’s header lacked energy and was simply gathered by Swansea goalkeeper Woodman.
Reds ahead Carlton Morris changed Dominik Frieser at half-time and had an immediate affect as his shot was saved by Woodman, who then beautifully denied Callum Brittain on the rebound.
Mowatt’s free-kick was saved by Woodman as Swansea have been swept on to the again foot, however the guests weathered the storm.
Swansea‘s on-loan midfielder and former Barnsley captain Conor Hourihane’s free-kick was tipped away by Brad Collins and Jamal Lowe curled an effort simply astray.
The guests did all they might to sluggish the sport down and their time-wasting ways turned extra pronounced. With 10 minutes left it was all going to the Welsh facet’s plan.
That was virtually undone within the closing moments when Carlton Morris turned the ball goalwards from Mowatt’s nook, solely to see his curling effort hit the crossbar.
Swansea survived and prolonged their unbeaten run in opposition to Barnsley to 17 matches.
The Reds beat the Welsh membership on penalties within the League One play-off ultimate in 2006, however their final victory in opposition to them over 90 minutes was again in 1983.