Great Britain

Barnsley 0 Swansea 1: Andre Ayew fires visitors to victory in first leg of Championship play-off battle

ANDRE AYEW showed why he gets paid the big bucks by firing a brilliant winner for Swansea.

Steve Cooper’s men were under the cosh at Oakwell and had failed to land so much as a glove on Barnsley for much of the first half.

But in Ayew the Swans have a real heavyweight champ in the final third and he knows how to land a knockout blow.

Picking up a pass from Kyle Naughton at the edge of the box six minutes before the break, the Ghana striker stepped inside Michael Helik and Mads Andersen before thumping an unstoppable shot past Bradley Collins.

Ayew is on around £85,000-a-week at the Liberty but his 16 league goals in the regular season – plus last night’s effort – could go a long way to landing the Swans a £200MILLION jackpot if they get promoted.

But the Swans were also indebted to yet more brilliant goalkeeping from on-loan Newcastle ace Freddie Woodman, who made a top drawer double save to deny Barnsley a certain leveller after the break.

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First he did well to parry half-time Barnsley sub Carlton Morris’ piledriver and reacted superbly to somehow deny Callum Brittain’s follow-up from just six yards out.

Barnsley had the lion’s share of the game in the first half.

Dominik Frieser had appealed for an early penalty after he went down under a challenge from Marc Guehi – but ref Geoff Eltringham waved away his protests.

But, from a resulting throw-in, Romal Palmer had an early sighter on goal for the Tykes on the edge of the box but he lifted his effort over.


Barnsley were bombarding the Swansea defence with long balls with big and powerful Daryl Dike looking menacing.

On one occasion, Dike bulldozed Ben Cabango but the ball ran out for a goal-kick.

But when they eventually did, hearts were in mouths.

Liam Cullen cut back a super ball for Ayew and the big Ghana striker went down under a challenge from Callum Styles. Again, the referee waved away the protests.

But then Ayew found the net with one piece of brilliance.

The Tykes sould have levelled before the break when Romal Palmer sent in a great cross but Helik headed straight at Freddie Woodman.

After a whirlwind start to the second half – which also saw Barnsley outnumber Swansea on the break but Dike overhit his pass – the Swans almost added a second.

Conor Houriane’s whipped a free-kick into the box from the left and the ball was going directly in but somehow Collins got enough of a hand on the ball to keep it out.

Woodman then brilliantly raced out to clear 25 yards from his own goal with Morris springing the offside trap from Dike’s pass.

Jamal Lowe should have wrapped the game up but blazed over and Matt Grimes saw a thumping 30-yarder blocked by Collins.

But incredibly Morris almost levelled at the death but his flick on was superbly saved by Woodman.

Swansea legend Dai Davies looks back on his football career

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