McBurnie strike gives U23s opening PL2 win
Swansea City Under-23s kicked off their Premier League 2, Division 2 season with a 1-0 win over West Brom at Landore on Monday. Both sides lined up with youth and experience playing out a competitive but goalless first-half that saw Gerhard Tremmel keep out numerous chances with Daniel James' shot going closest for Swansea. A Ki Sung-Yueng free-kick sparked the Swans attack in the second half with the U23s creating a number of chances in front of goal. Striker Oliver McBurnie proved the difference, though, as he capitalised on a mistake in the Baggies defence to hand Swansea their first PL2 win 15 minutes before the final whistle.
SWANS U23s: Gerhard Tremmel, Connor Roberts, Neil Taylor (Tyler Reid, 82), KI Sung-Yueng (Ryan Blair, 80), Keston Davies (capt), Joe Rodon, Daniel James, Tom Holland, Oliver McBurnie, George Byers, Owain Jones (Alex Bray, 90+1).
SUBS NOT USED: Gregor Zabret (GK), Botti Bia Bi.
WBA U23s: Boaz Myhill, Cristian Gamboa, Sebastien Pocognoli (Callum Pritchard, 77), Brad Sweeney, Jack Fitzwater, Dara O'Shea, Callum McManaman, Joe Ward (capt), Andre Wright, James Smith (Rahis Nabi, HT), Robbie McCourt ( Zack Elbouzedi, 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Jack Rose, Daniel Barbir.
A fast-paced start to the game saw West Brom on the attack in the opening minutes at Landore, but Gerhard Tremmel kept out two chances from the Baggies attack. Minutes later it was Swansea's turn to go on the attack as Wales international Neil Taylor floated a cross into the box to Oliver McBurnie, but the striker's header looped over the bar. The Baggies could have taken the lead soon after as Andre Wright's header looped onto the crossbar, before Smith's close-range effort forced a superb reflex save from Tremmel. Good link-up play between Ki and George Byers then found McBurnie, but his effort was off target before Byers' header was saved by Baggies stopper Boaz Myhill. Swans winger Daniel James rifled a shot at goal five minutes before the break, a slight deflection forced Myhill to palm over the bar leaving the scores level at the break.
HALF-TIME: Swans U23s 0 - 0 West Brom U23s
West Brom put early pressure on the Swans back line but could not produce any end result. At the other end, Ki's powerful free-kick was saved by Myhill and that effort sparked the U23s into life as the young Swans carved out a host of chances in front of goal during a ten-minute spell. McBurnie rattled the woodwork after turning his man inside the area and moments later Byers' cross almost found McBurnie two yards out only for Myhill to gather. McBurnie went close again two minutes later when the striker latched onto Ki's shot outside the area before James' 30-yard run at goal ended with his shot being turned round the post. The Swans' pressure paid off as pressure from Byers forced the Baggies into an error at the back, which allowed McBurnie to pounce on the loose ball before holding off the defender and slotting home to give the U23s the lead. Connor Roberts then saw his shot from the edge of the area blocked by West Brom's defence before Owain Jones' deflected effort went close to beating Myhill in the last few minutes. The hosts defended well in the closing stages to claim victory and all three points in PL2.