Swansea City 0-1 Brighton: Swansea Woes Continue As Seagulls Win
Paul Clement may be coming to the end of his tenure as Swansea boss, after suffering defeat against Brighton at the Liberty Stadium, in a lacklustre display to remain in the relegation zone.
The only goal of the game came from striker Glenn Murray, after a fantastic cross into the box from Anthony Knockaert gave the visitors a routine victory, in a game with limited chances.
With both sides lingering towards the bottom of the table, a bright start was important for hosts Swansea and the travelling Brighton, who have impressed recently against the likes of Southampton and Everton.
For the Swans, trying to dominate possession from the get-go, re-introduced winger Nathan Dyer proved the brightest spark in the first half, running at the Brighton defence with purpose, nearly forcing an opening goal from a teasing cross, which was cleared by Shane Duffy.
As Swansea pushed for the opening goal, it was the visitors who were inches away from taking the lead. Surprise signing Pascal Gross, who has made a great start to life as a Seagull, caused panic in the box when his deflected shot was harried away by Łukasz Fabianski.
In a fast start to the game, the first half was a clutter of corner kicks that never amounted to anything, as the tackles went flying in through a compact midfield.
Eventually just inside the half-hour mark, the first real chance brought a goal, as a delightful cross from star midfielder Knockaert opened the account for Brighton. Not knowing too much about it, striker Murray bagged his third Premier League goal of the season with a unmarked bundled effort off his thigh.
With their tails up, the visitors came close to a second of the game in front of a hostile crowd, as Brighton defender Lewis Dunk rose highest to aim a powerful header at Fabianski, that needed a brilliant reaction save to keep Swansea in the first half.
Not creating too much in a drab 45 minutes of action, the Swans ended the first half on a high, with Tammy Abraham showing for the ball after making a couple of excellent runs to cause problems for the back line.
Beginning the second half in a more positive fashion, Abraham should have put Swansea back in the game with a glorious chance to equalise. Fed in by the busy Dyer, Chelsea loanee Abraham set his feet well before fluffing his lines, firing a tame shot at the on-rushing Matthew Ryan, who smothered the ball expertly to keep out the recently called-up England forward.
From the resulting corner, Swansea again had a chance to level the score, after mayhem ensued in the box. Like a wrestling pile-up, bodies were flying everywhere in the six-yard area, trying to get the ball across the line, as the Brighton defence heroically stood strong to block the goalmouth.
As both sides lazily gave the ball away and slowed down the fluidity of the second half with needless fouls, Brighton wasted a perfect opportunity to double the lead with twenty minutes left on the clock. Breaking with a swift counter-attack after Swansea lost the ball, Gross had Knockaert and Murray available in a 3-on-2 situation, but gifted the ball back to the opposition with a poor pass, summing up the majority of the second half.
In a desperate attempt to change the outcome of the game, manager Paul Clement brought on Wayne Routledge and Luciano Narsingh to give the Swans a chance of getting back in the match, introducing greater pace on the wings alongside Dyer.
With a couple of minutes left in normal time, an excellent piece of skill following some nifty footwork created one of the 'better' chances in the second half, teeing up a cross for substitute Oliver McBurnie to header at the Brighton goal keeper.
A golden chance to give the home fans something to cheer is prevented by the woodwork after a fine through ball from Abraham. As the supporters headed for the exit, former PSV winger Narsingh came so close to grabbing an equaliser, firing an over-powered effort at the crossbar.
Following intense pressure, it looked like Swansea might snatch a last-gasp point but a number of set-pieces were wasted, with six corners apiece and a number of free-kicks resulting in nothing as Swansea lumbered to another disappointing defeat in front of a disgruntled crowd.
With boos ringing around Liberty Stadium at the final whistle, Clement will wonder whether his time as Swansea boss is coming to an abrupt end, after failing to take their chances in a poor performance.