Swansea 2 – 0 Bristol C
Swansea beat Bristol City 2-0 to eliminate any lingering fears of being dragged into the Championship relegation battle on Sunday.
Liam Cullen and Olivier Ntcham were on target as Swansea secured a first win in seven games and are 10 points clear of 22nd-placed Huddersfield with eight games to play.
Bristol City are two points clear of Swans after a third defeat in five games.
The Robins did little to upset Andy Fisher, a keeper under pressure after recent errors, although Andreas Weimann saw a stoppage-time effort disallowed for offside as Swansea claimed a first white sheet of 2023.
The hosts were fourth in the table after beating Welsh rivals Cardiff in October and were hoping to mount a promotion challenge. But a miserable run of three wins in 21 games since had seen them edge ever closer to relegation.
Bristol City had won an FA Cup replay here in January, but Swansea’s need for a quick start was greater and Joel Piroe fired wide from a bowed position after just 11 seconds.
Cullen wasted a sixth-minute chance as he failed to control Liam Walsh’s clever pass in front of goal and Ryan Manning had his drilled effort blocked by Zak Vyner.
Robins keeper Max O’Leary was first tested just before the half-hour mark when Harry Darling met the ball diagonally from Matt Grimes at the far post. O’Leary poked Darling’s head and Cameron Pring blocked Walsh’s follow-up effort.
The visitors’ reprieve didn’t last long as Walsh found Ntcham and the Cameroonian midfielder released Cullen who stretched to score his seventh goal of the season.
Mark Sykes fired a straight shot at Fisher from 25 yards before Bristol City’s best opener came in the dying embers of the first half. Alex Scott reached the guideline with great skill and set Andy King up for a shooting opportunity that Piroe stifled.
The pattern of the contest remained the same after the interval with Cullen just clearing the crossbar and Piroe heading for the post.
Bristol City sent in Weimann and Anis Mehmeti to provide an attacking threat, and Fisher was forced to collect Omar Taylor-Clarke’s drive from distance.
Swansea ended the competition 13 minutes from when Ntcham ran through a tiring Robins midfield.
Jamie Paterson’s cross was headed in by fellow substitute Morgan Whittaker, and Ntcham carefully put the ball on his right foot to beat O’Leary from 14 yards.