The Emirates FA Cup – fifth round

Swansea City 4 – Brentford 1

A dramatic turnaround and brilliant second half display saw Swansea City blow ten-man Brentford away with a clinical display of finishing to march into the last eight of the FA Cup for the second season in a row.

This certainly was a gripping cup tie served up by the Championship Clubs, Brentford controlled matters in the opening 45, but after the break the Swans played some breath-taking football to run out comfortable victors.

Ollie Watkins scored the opener to give the Brentford a thoroughly deserved 1-0 cushion at the interval.

After the break the Swans came out in a more determined mood and incredibly blew Brentford away with a sublime second half showing, grabbing four goals in the process.

Potter’s men were rewarded with goals from a Luke Daniels own goal and Daniel James wonder goal which put the Swans in control of the tie after a poor first period. Bersant Celina bagged the third and George Byers added a late fourth to effectively end the Bees’ FA Cup dreams.

The last time these two sides met was back in December 2018 where the Swans came away with a 3-2 win in their Championship clash.

Swansea made two changes from the team that lost at Leeds United in midweek. Top scorer Oli McBurnie starts and goalkeeper Kristoffer Nordfeldt also makes his return.

The Bees have also made one change as Luke Daniels is given the number one jersey.

Before kick-off everyone at the ground observed a minute’s applause in honour for England’s 1966 World Cup winning goalkeeper Gordon Banks, who died earlier in the week.

The game got off to a frenetic pace and Bees defender Yoann Barbet clattered Dan James to earn the first yellow. From the resulting free kick, Matt Grimes passed to Fulton who struck a low hard shot just past the far post.

The visitors put a good passage of play to together, but it ended poorly as Kamo Mokotjo dragged his low shot wide from the edge of the Swans’ 18 yard box.

Minutes later Neal Maupay ran at the heart of the Swans defence, intelligently played the ball wide to Sergi Canos who drilled hard low ball dangerously across the box. Any sort of connection and you felt it would have been the opening goal.

Celina nutmegged Canos and arrived at the edge of the box but struck his shot straight into the safe arms of Bees’ keeper Daniels.

The visitors continued to press, Swans centre back Mike van der Hoorn gave the ball away cheaply, and Watkins fired another shot wide from the edge of the box as the Bees were knocking on the door.

Finally the visitors deservedly took the lead in the 27th minute when a swift counter attack led by Maupay who played in Watkins on the overlap, the latter firing clinically past Nordfeldt into the far corner.

Graham Potter’s Swans needed to start the second period positively and they certainly did that, awarded a free kick on the edge of the box after the lively James was again brought down. Celina curled the resulting free kick hit the post and went in off unlucky keeper Daniels' back for an own goal, putting the Swans right back in the tie.  

Five minutes later and the Swans dramatically took the lead with a cracking goal. The shear pace of James saw the winger outstrip the Bees defence from halfway, the Welsh international kept his composure as he coolly slotted past Daniels to leave the Bees feeling totally shell shocked.

The misery got worse for the Bees when they were reduced to ten-men as defender Ezri Konsa was issued a straight red card for taking out the man of the match James.

The Swans added a third in the 66th minute, Celina showed great control and strength and determination to stay on his feet and fire into the far corner. Connor Roberts tapped in, but it was ruled out for offside.

A couple of minutes later and Potter’s team added a fourth, James at the heart of the attack squared to Celina who teed-up George Byers who struck from 22 yards out, his late goal putting the cherry on top of the Swans' cup cake.

Swansea City: Kristoffer Nordfeldt; Connor Roberts (89’ Cian Harries), Mike van der Hoorn (captain), Cameron Carter-Vickers, Kyle Naughton; Jay Fulton, Matt Grimes; Daniel James (90’ Joel Asoro), George Byers, Bersant Celina; Oli McBurnie (75’ Courtney Baker-Richardson).

Subs not used: Erwin Mulder, Luciano Narsingh, Barrie McKay, Yan Dhanda.

Brentford: Luke Daniels, Moses Odubajo, Sergi Canos (68’ Josh Dasilva), Neal Maupay (68’ Nikolaj Kirk), Ollie Watkins, Kamo Mokotjo (78’ Josh McEachran), Romaine Sawyers, Said Benrahma, Julien Jeanvier, Ezri Konsa, Yoann Barbet.

Subs not used: Dan Bentley, Chiedozie Ogbene, Mads Sorensen, Kolbeinn Finnsson.

Referee: Stuart Attwell.

Assistant Referees: Constantine Hatzidakis & Derek Eaton.

Fourth Official: Simon Hooper.

Attendance: 11,261