Plymouth Argyle 1-2 Swansea City: Whittaker and Cullen goals earn Steve Cooper’s side victory

Swansea City continued their preparations for the 2021/22 Championship campaign with a 2-1 pre-season win over Plymouth Argyle.

First half strikes from Morgan Whittaker and Liam Cullen put Steve Cooper’s men in command at Home Park.

Plymouth had a number of chances to bulge the net and got themselves back into the contest through Ryan Hardie’s tap-in early on in the second half.

But the Swans claimed victory to ensure they continue to boast a 100% winning summer record while also edging closer to peak fitness levels ahead of their league opener at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday, August 7.

The League One outfit impressed in the opening stages and caused Swansea numerous problems.

Niall Ennis was unable to test Steven Benda with a header from close range five minutes in.

Hardie then fired over before Conor Grant had a shot blocked by Swans captain Matt Grimes as the hosts created the better opportunities.

However, the away side slowly found their rhythm and should have gone ahead after Jake Bidwell crossed to Cullen following a break from Yan Dhanda, but the Welshman could not guide his header on target.

But the deadlock was broken in spectacular fashion soon after as Whittaker drilled beyond Michael Cooper from just outside the 18-yard box – much to the delight of the 251 members of the Jack Army who celebrated behind the goal in the south west sunshine.

Ryan Bennett regularly showed his experience to ensure Benda was rarely troubled while Whittaker proved to be a real livewire at the other end.

And Swansea were two goals to the good just after the half hour mark as Cullen flicked home Kyle Naughton’s driven shot.

It was proving to be a very useful and encouraging fixture for the Swans who showed their superiority to take the sting out of proceedings when required while they were willing to throw bodies forward when possible too.

Morgan Whittaker of Swansea City in action against Plymouth

All the while, the Swansea fans showed their support for boss Steve Cooper who has been heavily touted with an exit from the club since the play-off final loss to Brentford at Wembley in May.

Summer capture Liam Walsh replaced Jay Fulton at the interval, but Swansea’s lead was halved shortly after the restart after Bennett failed to clear his lines, and Hardie was on hand to nudge home Grant’s cross.

Having impressed in the opening 45, Bennett was caught out again after his side had conceded, and he received a booking for a blatant foul on Ennis.

Korey Smith and summer signing Joel Piroe replaced Grimes and Dhanda respectively just after the hour mark as the game fizzled out after a lively first half.

The home side picked up the pace midway through the second half and came within a whisker of equalising as Ryan Law’s rasping effort struck the post before Wales youth star Luke Jephcott could only bundle the rebound wide.

They went close again as Ennis volleyed wide after a slick counter attack before Benda pulled off a fine one-handed save to keep put another strike from the Plymouth attacker.

Cooper freshened things up late on as Kyle Joseph, Dan Williams, Ryan Manning and Scott Butler were all given game time.

Plymouth carved out one final opening to nab an equaliser, but Benda palmed away Jephcott’s effort as the Swans claimed victory over the Pilgrims.

Cooper’s men return to action against Bristol Rovers on Saturday.

Get Swansea City’s 2021-22 season off to the best start with our special edition club annual

Swansea City: Benda; Naughton (Williams 71), Bennett (Butler 71), Latibeaudiere (Margetson 79), Bidwell; Fulton (Walsh 46), Grimes (C) (Smith 62), Dhanda (Piroe 62); Whittaker (Manning 71), Cullen, Lowe (Joseph 71).

Subs not used: Hamer, Webb.

Goals: Whittaker 24, Cullen 32

Yellow card: Bennett 54

Referee: Lee Swabey

Attendance: 3,391 (251 Swansea fans)

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