Steve Cooper has insisted his Swansea City side will come back stronger after their “gut-wrenching” loss of two precious promotion-chasing points at Blackburn Rovers.
For the second successive match, the Swans conceded a significant goal in injury time as they surrendered the lead to draw 2-2 at Ewood Park.
Three days after losing to an injury time goal at Fulham, a deflected strike gave Rovers an equaliser in the 95th minute to leave Cooper’s side four points adrift of the play-offs, instead of the two points they would have been had they held out.
Swansea are a point behind Rovers after conceding on or after the 90th minute in three of the last four Championship games – costing five points.
“Gut-wrenching? Yes,” said Swans manager Cooper. “But we’ll get over it because we have to. We’re one point closer so if there are any positives to take from today, it’s that.”
“It would be easy to feel sorry for ourselves after the other night, but I thought we showed the opposite. I didn’t see anybody hiding, I didn’t see anybody giving up. I’m seeing a group of players that are giving their best and more.
“Today’s a bit different because of the nature of the week. I don’t want to make excuses but it’s been a demanding week physically and emotionally.
“You don’t want to concede but I think if we’d made a clear and obvious mistake, that would be disappointing. With Hull for example, we felt we could have done better with the goals.
“With this one, okay it’s come out and the lad has struck it from 25 yards but it’s deflected off Ben (Wilmot) and it could have gone anywhere. We’ll always look at things we can improve on but sometimes you don’t get great luck.”
Blackburn boss Tony Mowbray praised Bradley Johnson’s “knowledge and experience” after the midfielder’s late goal rescued the draw.
Johnson fired home his third goal of the season in the fifth minute of stoppage time via a deflection to send the home support into raptures.
In a meeting of play-off contenders, Rovers hit the front in the 25th minute through Sam Gallagher’s close range finish, before on-loan Rhian Brewster’s powerful riposte restored parity before the break.
Andre Ayew coolly slotted home a penalty early in the second half – his 14th of the season – and although Danny Graham failed from the spot, Johnson’s late intervention means Blackburn are three points off the top six, despite two consecutive home draws.
Mowbray was pleased for Johnson but was unhappy at Blackburn’s sloppy opening to the second half.
He said: “It would have been nice if that was the winner. We obviously missed a penalty in the build-up to get back to 2-2. I felt as though we were going to win the game and yet I was so annoyed with them at the start of the second half.
“We take the kick-off and boot it straight into touch. Then we give a free-kick away on the edge of the box, then we give a penalty away, all within a minute of and a half. It was so unlike us.
“Delighted for Bradley Johnson to come on and whilst it was deflected, it was his second shot from the edge of the box, he’s using his knowledge, experience, getting in and around second balls.
“We’re putting long balls in the box, Danny Graham, if he doesn’t win them, it drops on the edge, and they’re empty on the edge. Bradley’s had a shot and it’s gone in. As I said, it would have been nice if that was the winner rather than the equaliser.”