Neath produced a heroic defensive performance to deny the Whites a badly needed win, despite being down to 13 men for almost ten minutes in the second half.
It was the perfect start for the home side, who have traditionally struggled against neighbours Neath since the advent of the semi-pro era. Cameron Clement initially failed to deal with a high ball but rescued the situation with a pass to full back Rhys Williams who used his speed to race through the Neath defence and chip through to score an outstanding try. Clement converted.
Moments later the visitors were penalised for holding onto the ball after the tackle but Clement missed the difficult penalty chance. The Welsh All Blacks began to assert themselves in the match with David Langdon, Lee Evans and Chris Morgans linking up in midfield, before the Whites’ defence crept offside. Langdon kicked the resulting penalty goal.
Swansea hit back ten minutes later when number eight Dan Baker collected a ball from the ruck and powered 30 metres upfield, with Jake Cole on hand to score under the posts. Clement converted.
Neath cut the gap to eight points with a Langdon penalty when the Whites were caught offside in midfield. Centre Ryan Evans came inches short of scoring but the Swansea defence killed the ball to hand Langdon another three points.
Half-time:- Swansea 14 Neath 9
Swansea were temporarily reduced to 14 men shortly after the restart when Cole was sent to the sin-bin for a professional foul. It took the visitors less than a minute to take advantage of the extra man when Morgans was held up a metre short of the line, before lock Rhys Jones crashed over to score. Langdon converted to give his side the lead for the first time.
Replacement scrum half Elliot Jones strayed in front of a chip to the corner by Langdon and Clement opted to kick for territory. Both Rhodri Hughes and Baker were held up on the line, before the All Blacks were able to clear.
Neath were then hit by two successive yellow cards inside two minutes. First flanker Matthew Rees was given his marching orders for offside at the scrum and then replacement prop Nicky Downs was sent to the sidelines for taking a man out in the air at a lineout.
The cards seemed to work in favour of Neath as it meant a move to passive scrums at a time when Swansea had a significant upper hand in that area. The visitors defended heroically for the ten minutes they were two men down and managed to repel wave after wave of Whites attacks.
Neath finished the stronger side with Kevin James almost gathering an Aaron Bramwell chip through near the try line, only for replacement winger Lewis Harrhy to track back to defend. The home side never threatened again and closed out victory by keeping possession inside the Swansea half during the closing stages.
Next up for Swansea is a trip to Cross Keys while Neath travel to Carmarthen.
Full time:- Swansea 14 Neath 16
Referee:- Chris Williams
Weather:- Clear, 5C
Man of the match:- Chris Morgans
Tries:- R Williams (4), Cole (21)
Cons:- Clement (5, 22)
Y cards:- Cole (45)
Tries:- R Jones (46)
Cons:- Langdon (47)
Pens:- Langdon (12, 28, 33)
Y cards:- Rees (63), Downs (64)
15 Rhys Williams (rep: Lewis Harrhy 68)
14 Chris Shelmerdine
13 Ben Roberts
12 Nicky Harwood
11 Liam Price (rep: Ben Fox 72)
10 Cameron Clement (rep: Aled Lewis 57)
9 Jake Cole (rep: Will Batcup 68)
1 Matthew Norman (rep: Nicky Smith 61)
2 Paul John (rep: Andrew Littlehales 68)
3 Ian Williams (rep: Aled Mason 61)
4 Sam Kiley ©
5 Rhodri Hughes
6 Rob Dudley-Jones
7 James Bija (rep: David Leonard 61)
8 Dan Baker
16 Andrew Littlehales
17 Nicky Smith
18 Aled Mason
19 Ben Fox
20 David Leonard
21 Will Batcup
22 Aled Lewis
23 Lewis Harrhy
15 Aaron Bramwell
14 Kevin James
13 Ryan Evans
12 John Leyshon
11 Chris Morgans
10 David Langdon
9 Ben Jones (rep: Elliot Jones 41)
1 Owain Ford (rep: Nicky Downs 57)
2 Rhodri Clancy (rep: Alun Wyn Davies 78)
3 Tom Price
4 Rhys Jones
5 Jonny Griffiths
6 Lee Evans ©
7 Matthew Rees
8 Rhys Williams (rep: Leon Ward 72)
16 Nicky Downs
17 Alun Wyn Davies
18 Leon Ward
19 Stefan Jones
20 Elliot Jones
21 Kyle Davies
22 Luc Jones