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Swansea City 3-1 Middlesbrough: Swans increase pressure on Pulis

Wayne Routledge celebrates his goal
Wayne Routledge has scored three goals this season

Swansea City comprehensively outplayed Middlesbrough to consign them to a sixth successive defeat and increase the scrutiny on manager Tony Pulis.

The Swans played joyful attacking football in the first half, overwhelming their opponents with their pace and movement to lead 2-0 thanks to Matt Grimes' penalty and Wayne Routledge's neat low finish.

The second half was a stroll for the hosts, who added a third as Bersant Celina's artfully disguised cross to the back post was volleyed in by Connor Roberts, rendering George Saville's late volley for Boro academic.

Swansea's fourth consecutive home win keeps intact their slim hopes of making the play-offs, lifting them up to 13th in the Championship table and nine points behind the top six but with a game in hand on most of their rivals.

For Boro, however, losing a sixth straight game for the first time since 2000 is another blow to their play-off prospects, leaving them eighth in the table and four points adrift of sixth place.

Boro fans had called for Pulis to be sacked during Tuesday's 1-0 loss at home to Bristol City but chairman Steve Gibson was reportedly willing to stick by the Welsh boss until the end of the season.

With a gap of then only two points between Boro and the top six, they still had hopes of challenging for promotion.

But those prospects looked increasingly vulnerable in south Wales as the visitors were undone by a Swansea side who bossed possession and created a hatful of good chances to take the lead.

Celina was the first to threaten, brilliantly controlling a Nathan Dyer cross but lifting his shot over the bar.

The electric Daniel James then cut inside and sent a powerful effort whistling just wide, before Celina threaded a beautiful pass through to Routledge, who had the whole goal to aim for but wastefully blasted the ball at the bar.

James played a prominent role in the opening goal, darting into the penalty area and drawing a foul from Ryan Shotton, who had only just come on to the field as a substitute for the injured George Friend.

Grimes confidently converted his penalty and the floodgates opened.

Five minutes later, Celina produced another fine through ball for Routledge but this time the Swansea winger composed himself and steered his shot into the bottom corner.

The home side could have had a third before the break, James picking up possession in his own half and speeding past Boro's hapless defenders before curling another effort wide.

Swansea eased up a little in the second half but still controlled the tie, with Celina's beautifully weighted cross well met by a sliding Roberts, who had endured an unhappy loan spell with Middlesbrough last season.

The visitors at least had something to cheer late on when, from a half-cleared corner, Saville thumped his volley into the roof of the net.

Boro's players barely celebrated and, although they enjoyed more possession in the closing stages, this latest defeat was another setback to their play-off hopes and another blemish for the increasingly under-fire Pulis.

Swansea manager Graham Potter told BBC Sport Wales:

"I am very pleased, it is not easy to create chances or score against Middlesbrough with how they defend.

"We were excellent first half with our attacking play. We had a good understanding of what we were trying to do, we scored two good goals and probably could have added to that.

"Getting the third was important, you know you need it as they can put balls in the box and it is dangerous as it proved with their goal.

"It was more nervy than needed to be at the end, but overall we completely controlled the game, we were the better team and deserved the win."

Middlesbrough boss Tony Pulis said:

"I am really disappointed. In the first half our tempo and decision-making were awful.

"We should have had a penalty in the second half for a clear handball.

"Swansea were a Premier League side last season and this was the game I was more worried about than all the others.

"Five games to go and it is all to play for."

Line-ups

Swansea

  • 1Nordfeldt
  • 23Roberts
  • 5van der HoornSubstituted forRodonat 79'minutes
  • 17Carter-Vickers
  • 26Naughton
  • 28Byers
  • 21GrimesBooked at 21mins
  • 12Dyer
  • 10Celina
  • 20JamesSubstituted forNarsinghat 69'minutes
  • 15RoutledgeSubstituted forAsoroat 68'minutes

Substitutes

  • 9McBurnie
  • 11Narsingh
  • 13Benda
  • 16Asoro
  • 19McKay
  • 22Rodon
  • 27Fulton

Middlesbrough

  • 23Randolph
  • 20Fry
  • 4Ayala
  • 24Flint
  • 3FriendSubstituted forShottonat 32'minutes
  • 22Saville
  • 19Downing
  • 8ClaytonSubstituted forFletcherat 55'minutes
  • 2Mikel
  • 16HowsonBooked at 90mins
  • 11HugillSubstituted forAssombalongaat 55'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Konstantopoulos
  • 5Shotton
  • 9Assombalonga
  • 17McNair
  • 18Fletcher
  • 28Tavernier
  • 37Besic
Referee:
Andy Woolmer
Attendance:
18,171

Match Stats

Home TeamSwanseaAway TeamMiddlesbrough
Possession
Home61%
Away39%
Shots
Home16
Away13
Shots on Target
Home7
Away1
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home11
Away13

Live Text

Match ends, Swansea City 3, Middlesbrough 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Swansea City 3, Middlesbrough 1.

Nathan Dyer (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by George Saville (Middlesbrough).

Booking

Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Bersant Celina (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough).

Attempt missed. Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough) right footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high.

Connor Roberts (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ashley Fletcher (Middlesbrough).

Attempt blocked. Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ashley Fletcher.

Foul by Matt Grimes (Swansea City).

Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt blocked. Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Foul by Kyle Naughton (Swansea City).

George Saville (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Matt Grimes (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Jonny Howson (Middlesbrough).

Corner, Swansea City. Conceded by Darren Randolph.

Attempt saved. George Byers (Swansea City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Bersant Celina.

Goal!

Goal! Swansea City 3, Middlesbrough 1. George Saville (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the high centre of the goal. Assisted by Aden Flint following a corner.

Corner, Middlesbrough. Conceded by Joe Rodon.

Substitution

Substitution, Swansea City. Joe Rodon replaces Mike van der Hoorn.

Offside, Middlesbrough. Ryan Shotton tries a through ball, but Ashley Fletcher is caught offside.

Attempt saved. Joel Asoro (Swansea City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Bersant Celina with a through ball.

Attempt missed. George Saville (Middlesbrough) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Jonny Howson.

Foul by Bersant Celina (Swansea City).

Daniel Ayala (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Aden Flint (Middlesbrough) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Stewart Downing with a cross.

Foul by Mike van der Hoorn (Swansea City).

Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Nathan Dyer (Swansea City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the left is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Bersant Celina with a through ball.

Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Britt Assombalonga (Middlesbrough).

Goal!

Goal! Swansea City 3, Middlesbrough 0. Connor Roberts (Swansea City) right footed shot from the right side of the six yard box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Bersant Celina with a through ball.

Attempt missed. Bersant Celina (Swansea City) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Matt Grimes.

Luciano Narsingh (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Dael Fry (Middlesbrough).

Substitution

Substitution, Swansea City. Luciano Narsingh replaces Daniel James.

Substitution

Substitution, Swansea City. Joel Asoro replaces Wayne Routledge.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich40259682483484
2Sheff Utd40238967373077
3Leeds402371066422476
4West Brom4020101075522370
5Aston Villa401615973561763
6Bristol City391711115142962
7Derby391612115548760
8Middlesbrough401513124136558
9Nottm Forest401415115547857
10Preston401512135953657
11Hull40169155957257
12Sheff Wed401414124954-556
13Swansea39158165249353
14Brentford401312156356751
15Stoke401118113842-451
16Blackburn401211175363-1047
17Birmingham401314135652444
18QPR40128204665-1944
19Wigan401011194359-1641
20Millwall391010194558-1340
21Reading40913184360-1740
22Rotherham40815174368-2539
23Bolton4088242966-3732
24Ipswich40415213265-3327
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