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Swansea City 0-1 QPR: Andre Gray nets late winner as Russell Martin’s men sign off season with defeat

Andre Gray struck a late winner as Swansea City signed off their debut season under Russell Martin with a 1-0 defeat against Queens Park Rangers.

After a slow start, the Swans gained full control of the contest and created numerous chances, with Joel Piroe, Michael Obafemi, Cyrus Christie and Cameron Congreve all having efforts on goal. But they were made to pay for failing to convert those opportunities as substitute Gray tapped home 10 minutes from time as Swansea’s five-game unbeaten run on home soil was ended.

Swansea went with the same side that started against Nottingham Forest a week earlier, and while they dominated possession early on, it was Mark Warburton’s men who carried the greater threat on what was the manager’s final game in charge of the club.

Read more: Swansea City’s painful position clearer than ever as owners speak out

George Thomas could only fire wide shortly after Andy Fisher was charged down by Lyndon Dykes. The visitors pressed well and forced Swansea into numerous mistakes.

However, when the Swans injected pace into proceedings, they looked a different prospect. And they should have gone ahead midway through the first-half as Christie’s driven shot was palmed away by Seny Dieng, with Hannes Wolf tapping home the rebound having started the attack himself.

The offside flag had been raised though, much to the dismay of Russell Martin and his coaching staff. But it was at least encouraging from a Swansea perspective following an uneventful opening 20 minutes or so.

On what could well be his final appearance for the club, top scorer Piroe could only drill over from an acute angle as QPR’s goal started to come under pressure. And the Swans went closer to bulging the net following a fine piece of skill from academy product Congreve – on his first home start – who sold his marker a dummy before drilling goalwards, although Dieng was well placed to make the save.

The atmosphere almost resembled that of a pre-season fixture, with both sides looking firmly ahead to the 2022/23 campaign. But the Jack Army did their best to lift the noise levels after the restart as Swansea probed.

Christie showed wonderful composure to get a shot away early on in the second-half, with Dieng producing another decent save to ensure the game remained goalless. He then had to be alert to pounce on Piroe’s strike after the Dutchman was expertly picked out by Obafemi.

With an hour gone, Martin sent on Olivier Ntcham and Jamie Paterson, with Congreve and Piroe making way. It meant Piroe signed off the campaign having scored 24 times in 47 appearances, and Martin gave the forward a huge embrace as he left the pitch.

Joel Latibeaudiere was then forced off with an injury which gave the departing Korey Smith the chance to make his 77th and final appearance for the club. Swansea continued to carry the greater threat as they looked to sign off their debut season under Martin on a high, with Ntcham, Obafemi, Paterson and Ryan Manning all having efforts.

But having been outplayed for the majority of the second-half, QPR caught Swansea cold from a quickly taken free-kick. Ilias Chair found himself in space in the box, and he squared to Gray who had the simple task of tapping home from close range to win it for the away side.

Swansea City: Fisher; Latibeaudiere (Smith 65), Naughton, Manning; Christie, Downes, Grimes (C), Wolf; Piroe (Ntcham 60), Congreve (Paterson 60); Obafemi.

Subs not used: Hamer, Fulton, Cotterill, Abdulai.

Queens Park Rangers: Dieng; Sanderson (Kakay 46), Ball, Barbet (C); Adomah, Amos, Field, Thomas (Gray 64), McCallum; Dykes (Dozzell 64), Chair.

Subs not used: Walsh, Mahoney.

Goal: Gray 80

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 18,608

Who was Swansea’s star man against Queens Park Rangers? Have your say in our comments section below.

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