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Preston North End 3 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 28th August 2021 Kick-off 15:00
A bright start ruined by a lack of desire, effort and ability at Deepdale
Saturday, 28th Aug 2021 17:30 by Keith Haynes

Swansea City were given another football lesson in Lancashire today as they were defeated at Preston North End. Russell Martin’s desire to dominate the game just didn’t pay off, in fact the swans were exposed time and time again throughout the game.

A sun drenched Deepdale saw a lively game in Lancashire this afternoon. Swansea City roared on by a very decent travelling support stated the game as we expected with clever and precise passing movements. Instead of the usual passing backwards so often seen by swans fans of late by Fulton and especially Grimes. With Ethan Laird raiding down the right the early exchanges were all about Swansea’s dominance. However, a penalty shout for Preston saw Joel Latibeaudiere injured in a very tight referee decision. Lee Trundle commented he believed it was a definite penalty.

Liam Cullen had a snap shot saved from a Paterson pass, and minutes later a lovely touch from Cullen saw Joel Piroe in on goal and he fired home to put the swans one up. A minute later Preston equalised through van den Berg . A long ball forwards any Josh Earl saw Van den Berg twist and turn on the edge of the penalty area to fire his shot past Benda. Preston went on from there gaining confidence from the goal and looked more confident in their ability to get a second goal.

The only bright point of the day, Joel Piroe opens the scoring

The Swansea defence looked all at sea at times with Daniel Johnson and Sean Maguire adding to the Preston attacking armoury. Benda saved the swans on two occasions with fine saves, Maguire missed a decent chance until a minute before the break. More hesitancy in the swans defence saw another rifled shot from Riis hit the net with pace. It was a deserved second goal from Preston, frustratingly it came after a decent passage of Swansea City possession where the midfield again refused to take on a forward pass.

It was obvious to anyone watching the game that the swans have the ability to win the game, but the negativity in midfield is hurting any build up in play, which is very frustrating. Cullen was taking up good positions, as was Piroe, but the quick ball forwards wasn’t played. Jamie Paterson was pretty absent for large parts of the half, but when he did get on the ball he looked tricky and capable of unlocking the Preston defence. Laird again looked lively but his options in front of him were difficult for him to find. Russell Martin had a lot to organise in his half time team talk. Jamal Lowe and Morgan Whittaker sat in the bench would surely become an option.

Whatever was said by Martin at half time meant nothing as the swans started slowly in the second half. Preston looked more lively, more vibrant and seemed to have the Swansea possession tactics well managed. It showed as again the bill was given away in midfield with Riis rushing forwards towards an advancing Benda. The swans keeper brought him down and received a yellow card, it was close to a red. From the resultant free kick Preston bagged their third goal from Ben Whiteman. His low drive beat Benda all ends up, but it has to said the keeper was again at fault. Two Swansea subs came on at fifty eight minutes. Fulton and Bennett were taken off for Naughton and Lowe. The latter receiving loud boo’s from his Wigan days.

Another Whiteman free kick ridiculously given away by a seemingly mesmerised swans defence again sailed close to Benda’s goal.

The swans were just second to everything, passes forwards were anticipated by the Preston defence, and Swansea’s players seemed sluggish and not at the races. The Preston crowd found their own focus in referee Thomas Bramall who seemed to be totally out of sorts. It didn’t stop the Preston team going in search of a fourth, pressing Swansea at every opportunity. The tactics were not paying off. It was pretty poor all round from the swans. Again Preston nearly got their fourth from a dangerous right wing cross which was well defended by Manning.

Swansea City couldn’t even get out of their own half.

The lessons were there for all to see. the swans passing game disintegrated with high Preston pressing, completely different to their first half tactics. The swans resorted to high balls they were never going to win, as the referee found himself staring in to bright headlights - and seemingly wanting to appease his Lancastrian dissenters. Swansea were slow and disjointed in their passing, weak in the challenge and thoughtless in their persistent offending. It just wasn’t working at any level. Joel Piroe found himself in defence from set pieces, clearing the ball on several occasions to an empty Preston half.

Preston’s Jackson, a player with five goals already this season found himself free in the swans box but blasted his shot wide. With half an hour of the game gone in the second half the swans hadn’t even got themselves in to the Preston penalty area. On seventy three minutes the swans found themselves in possession with Jamie Paterson weakly chipping a pass in to the Preston penalty area which was easily cleared. The swans became even more cautious, slow and ponderous playing in to the home sides hands.

Balls forwards to Lowe just bounced off him, Benda’s kicking went south and most swans fans on eighty minutes were hoping for the game to end. It was overall truly shocking. The lack of effort and desire will infuriate those who travelled to the game, even more so than those watching the game unfold at home. This jogging forwards when the opposition keeper has possession has to stop, it’s pointless, Preston clearly had a game plan, and they executed it well. The swans were slow, lacked no intelligence on the ball and even when a cross from Bidwell came in he was caught offside.

All of this watched by Morgan Whittaker, three goal Swansea hero on Tuesday, to spectator on Saturday. After a promising start this game was lost due to inexperience and a lack of desire, not what swans fans want to see. The comments on this performance could go on and on, but there’s little more to say. Swansea City were shocking for two thirds of today’s game, and got exactly what they deserved, absolutely nothing.

It’s the international break, and thankfully time for Martin to sort out exactly what he wants, and in turn time to actually do it.

Preston North End: Iversen; Storey, Bauer, Hughes; van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson (Rodwell-Grant 90+3), Johnson (C), Earl; Riis (Sinclair 81), Maguire (Potts 86).

Subs not used: Rudd, Rafferty, Cunningham, Harrop.

Goals: van den Berg 21, Riis 45+2, Whiteman 52

Yellow cards: Ledson 59, Johnson 61, Whiteman 70, Sinclair 85

Swansea City: Benda; Latibeaudiere (B Cooper 11), Bennett (Lowe 61), Manning; Laird, Fulton (Naughton 61), Grimes (C), Bidwell; Paterson; Cullen, Piroe.

Subs not used: Hamer, Williams, Dhanda, Whittaker.

Goal: Piroe 19

Yellow card: Benda 51

Referee: Thomas Bramall

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