Defeat to Stoke sends Swansea down
Stoke won for only the second time since Paul Lambert’s January appointment.
Swansea’s relegation from the Premier League was confirmed as Stoke won 2-1 at the Liberty Stadium.
Andy King gave Swansea an early lead, but Badou Ndiaye and Peter Crouch scored before half-time to give Stoke only their second victory since Paul Lambert took charge in January.
Stoke could even afford the luxury of Xherdan Shaqiri failing to convert a second-half penalty, and the two clubs will next meet in the Sky Bet Championship.
Swansea’s survival hopes had rested on the longest of long shots, victory coupled by a Southampton defeat to Manchester City and a 10-goal swing in the process.
Carlos Carvalhal – almost certainly in charge of Swansea for the final time – said a football miracle was needed, but there seemed a chance when King slotted home after 14 minutes and the Stoke defence seemed likely to concede at every opportunity.
But, by the final whistle, Swansea’s seven-season stay in the top flight was over and Stoke had drawn level with them on 33 points.
Swansea paid tribute to long-serving custodians Angel Rangel and Leon Britton before kick-off.
Spanish defender Rangel led the side in his last game after 11 years at Swansea, while midfielder Britton came on as a 57th-minute substitute in his 537th and final appearance for a club he made his debut for in 2002.
But there was little else to celebrate at the Liberty Stadium.
There was a noticeable police presence after talk had spread on social media during the week of a planned supporters’ presence.
Under-fire chairman Huw Jenkins was conspicuous by his absence from his customary seat in the directors’ box.
But that did not prevent Swansea supporters from urging Jenkins to “get out of our club” from the first minute.
Encouraged by the early departure of their former player Joe Allen to injury, Swansea actually started well with Jack Butland denying Andre Ayew and Stoke surviving a frantic scramble in their penalty area.
Yet Swansea were ahead within seconds when Butland was left unprotected and King slipped Ayew’s pass beyond him.
Wayne Routledge might have doubled the lead had he trusted his left foot rather than his right, and Stoke appeared to be obliging opponents with their own supporters cheekily calling for them to concede 10 and relegate former Potters manager Mark Hughes at Southampton.
But the contest tilted Stoke’s way when Shaqiri lofted the ball over the Swansea defence and Ndiaye did the same to beat Lukasz Fabianski in the Swansea goal.
Stoke then took the lead after 40 minutes from teenage debutant Lasse Sorenson’s free-kick, Crouch stooping to head home the 1,000th goal in the Premier League this season.
Swansea should have been further behind when Martin Olsson handled in the area after 54 minutes.
But Shaqiri’s spot-kick was tame and Fabianski, going to his right, duly produced his third penalty save of the season.
Swansea dominated the closing stages but England goalkeeper Butland, probably playing his last game for Stoke, was immense.
Butland denied Jordan Ayew, Sam Clucas and Tammy Abraham as Swansea failed to find the equaliser they deserved.