Grimes stunner sends Swansea to Wembley after Barnsley comeback falls short


Matt Grimes’ sublime strike proved pivotal as Swansea set up a play-off final clash with Brentford at Barnsley’s expense.

Swansea made one change for their Sky Bet Championship play-off semi-final second leg against Barnsley at the Liberty Stadium. Veteran wideman Wayne Routledge replaced Liam Cullen from the side which had won 1-0 at Oakwell on Monday.

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Barnsley, who had not scored against Swansea in three meetings this season, shook up their forward line with Carlton Morris and Victor Adeboyejo replacing Daryl Dike and Dominik Frieser.

With a one-goal advantage and a home fixture in the second leg, an early Swans goal would give Barnsley a mountain to climb.

A throw-in caused havoc down the Tykes’ left flank, with the ball eventually breaking to Andre Ayew in behind.

Barnsley goalkeeper Brad Collins was quick to react, however, rushing off his line to smother the ball before the frontman could unleash a strike.

That proved to be a rare moment of goalmouth action as both sides toiled under the pressure, until Matt Grims produced a moment of brilliance moments before the break.

Swansea kept a partially cleared corner alive, with the ball falling to Grimes outside the area. The Swans captain danced past Callum Brittain before curling a sublime effort inside the far post to double his side’s aggregate lead.

The hosts’ tails were up and but for Collins’ vital near-post punch, could’ve added another direct from Conor Hourihane’s inswinging corner.

Valerien Ismael rung the changes in search of a spark at half time, introducing Daryl Dike and Jordan Williams for Romal Palmer and Victor Adeboyejo.

Carlton Morris came close to reducing halving the deficit, but Freddie Woodman was perfectly placed to beat his header to safety from a corner.

In desperate need of a lifeline, Barnsley pulled one back after clinically converting a lightning fast break.

Jordan Williams broke at pace down the right, leaving goalscorer Grimes in his wake after slipping at the most inopportune of times.

He in turn fed Cauley Woodrow who showed his predator’s instinct to stab home first time from the edge of the box.

The match became ever more frantic in the final stages, with Barnsley throwing numbers forward and Swansea spurning opportunities on the counter.

Despite their best efforts, Barnsley’s fightback fell short as Swansea moved within one step of securing a return to the Premier League.