by Ethan Harris
Date: 19th April 2019
Venue: Liberty Stadium, Swansea
AN OLI McBurnie brace and finishes from George Byers and Barrie McKay were just enough to see Swansea past relegation-threatened Rotherham at the Liberty Stadium.
The Millers found the net on three occasions, Michael Ihiekwe’s opening header along with Matt Crooks volley not enough on the day, with Will Vaulks rounding out the scorers.
The home side grabbed their sixth league win in a row at the Liberty, but they would rue a sluggish start.
Swansea’s inability to deal with high balls came back to haunt them yet again, as it has all season.
Vaulks’ curled cross into the area found the head of Ihiekwe, whose touch was enough to offset Kristoffer Nordfeldt and creep into the net, gifting Rotherham an early lead.
However, the Swans struck back in the most ironic way.
Despite having one of the worst records for dealing with set-pieces in the Championship, a corner was well met in the middle by Oli McBurnie, who cushioned the ball into the back of the net to level the scores.
Set-pieces were the tale of the day, with Rotheram fighting for survival, they found themselves back in front almost straight after the restart.
A long throw from Vaulks found Matt Crooks in the middle, whose impressive half-volley hit the target, despite having his back to goal.
Swansea, though, found their urgency in the second half.
Dan James had started the second period well, making his usual runs down the left that had been absent in the first thanks to tight marking.
The winger found enough space to dink a cross into the middle, and Barrie McKay was there to guide the ball into the back of the net and bring Swansea level.
The Swans had their tails up, winning the ball back in the middle of the park; a quick counter attack was on.
McKay was involved once again squaring the ball to James at the back post, the man in form looked to pass the ball into the net but it clattered back off the post, despite what seemed a certain goal.
Moments later, the Swans had their first lead of the game.
Some neat play down the right from Connor Roberts saw the fullback fizz a cross into the area only to be half-cleared by stopper Marek Rodak.
The ball only went as far as George Byers inside the area, and the midfield man slammed a volley into the net to fire the Swans ahead twenty minutes from time.
McBurnie produced a clever run and he calmly slotted the ball into the far corner for Swansea’s fourth of the day.
But Rotherham would not give up without a fight.
Michael Smith latched onto a ball not long after the restart, and Vaulks arrived late to slam his headed pass into the net with help from the crossbar.
It was not enough however, with the Swans holding on after some last ditch defending to keep the three points in south Wales.
Swans XI: Kristoffer Nordfeldt, Mike Van Der Hoorn, Oli McBurnie, Wayne Routledge (Courtney Baker-Richardson, 88’), Cameron Carter-Vickers, Barrie McKay (Joe Rodon 74’), Daniel James, Matt Grimes, Connor Roberts, Kyle Naughton, Jay Fulton (George Byers 45’).
Subs: Steven Benda, Nathan Dyer, Joel Asoro, Joe Rodon, Declan John, George Byers, Courtney Baker-Richardson.
Rotherham XI: Marek Rodak, Zak Vyner, Joe Mattock, Will Vaulks, Semi Ajayi (Richie Towell, 56’), Anthony Forde, Jon Taylor (Ryan Williams, 78’), Clark Robertson, Matt Crooks (Ben Wiles, 81’), Michael Ihiekwe, Michael Smith.
Subs: Lewis Price, Richard Wood, Richie Towell, Kyle Vassell, Joe Newell, Ryan Williams, Ben Wiles.