Swansea City avoided a first-round Carabao Cup upset as they fought back to beat League Two Northampton Town.
Despite being 60 league places below the Swans, the visitors took a deserved lead with Matt Warburton’s low finish.
That sparked Swansea into life as Andre Ayew headed them level in the 80th minute with his first goal for the club since May 2016.
George Byers’ strike from the edge of the area put them ahead three minutes later before Ayew nodded in his second.
Swansea’s reward is a home tie against another League Two side Cambridge United in the second round.
The late surge from Steve Cooper’s team brought relief to the Liberty Stadium crowd, who had been getting twitchy after watching their side – showing 11 changes from Saturday’s Championship draw at Derby – struggle against a Northampton team with seven changes from their draw with Port Vale.
The final 10 minutes offered encouragement for Swans head coach Steve Cooper, with a lively debut from substitute forward Jordon Garrick and a promising cameo from Ayew.
As one of the club’s highest earners, the former West Ham United and Marseille player had been expected to leave this summer.
But, with no clubs showing an interest at the moment, the 29-year-old Ghana forward has been welcomed back into the Swansea fold and he could yet prove to be a valuable asset in the Championship.
Swansea manager Steve Cooper said:
“There were lots of positives. Obviously, first and foremost, winning the game and still being in the competition. There were four debuts and two full debuts, and I thought Ben Cabango was outstanding on the night.
“Andre Ayew had 30 minutes, two goals, highly motivated and a good work ethic, it was good. That’s exactly what we know he can do.
“He’s come back into the club after the international break in very good condition, he looks extremely motivated in training and tonight was about giving him the right amount of minutes to help him get right back up to the fitness levels to play in the league campaign.”
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