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Preston North End 2 v 1 Swansea City
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 26th August 2023 Kick-off 15:00
Swansea City’s search for a win continues after defeat at Preston
Saturday, 26th Aug 2023 17:23 by Liam Walters

Swansea City have now just two points from four games this season after another away defeat at Deepdale in Lancashire this afternoon.

The Swans started positively enough with a decent shot from Liam Cullen sailing just wide. The story of the first half an hour was the noticeable lack of pace from the Swans and poor selections when moving the ball forwards. It definitely wasn’t pleasing head coach Michael Duff as the pace was slowed down to walking pace on a warm day. Preston were set up decently with a good press on the ball which left the Swans with few choices to cause any angst in the Preston defence. When they did get forwards misplaced passes spoilt any creative opportunities.

The Swans slowly worked themselves in to the game. The more rapid pace of the away side gave way to a more languid style but it did pay off after a few shocks in Carl Rushworth’s goal. Charlie Patino and Liam Cullen were roughed up by Ryan Ledson earning him a yellow card, and the game went from a slow burner to an almost warm fire.

On thirty one minutes and against the flow of play Harrison Ashby met a lovely weighted looping pass from Charlie Patino on the Swans left drilling the ball in to the PNE net. Freddie Woodman had little chance of saving the shot. For the first time this season the Swans were leading in a league game. The goal signalled an up turn in tempo from the home side with their passes stretching the Swansea defence.

It has to be said had Preston taken advantage of the three good chances they had before the Swans scored it would most certainly have been a different game. Straight from the restart Will Keane had a snap shot which Swans keeper Carl Rushworth dealt with comfortably. The goal definitely stunned Preston who continued to exert themselves on the Swans midfield. Again Keane was making a nuisance of himself giving Ben Cabango a few headaches, the defenders blushes saved by Rushworth.

More lack of awareness by Jay Fulton when in on goal, and very much as per last week his final pass was poorly executed with Ashby on his own in the home sides penalty area. The game became a scrap with both sides fully committed as the last five minutes plus any extra time approached. What Fulton lacks in awareness going forwards he does make up for at times in a dogged midfield performance. Patino too was happy to mix it.

Duane Holmes looked a live wire in midfield for Preston, his trickery along with Alan Browne ensuring a corner in the last seconds of the one minute extra time. Harry Darling cleared the corner bravely. The second corner from Kian Best was cleared and the referee drew the half to a close. As he did so the whole Swansea side sprinted in to the changing rooms, clearly an instruction from Duff, and good to see.

More misplaced passing followed the break from the Swans with Nathan Wood passing directly in to the path of Mads Frøkjær-Jensen. He failed to take advantage as the ball went out for a tame corner. Alan Browne was next in the book after a drag back on Patino as the Swans pressed. Wood who remained in dream land was booked for failing to take the free kick quickly. When he did the Swans earned themselves a corner. A smartly drilled in cross from Patino was cleared. The Swans were clearly instructed to get the ball forwards far quicker looking for Jerry Yates as the only outlet. All of a sudden the away side were ticking with Matt Grimes, Fulton and Patino working well on the edge of the Preston area. A shot from Grimes whistling just wide.

That started an end to end battle with first Preston then Swansea pressing for the next goal.

Poor passing, the offside flag and a lack of execution with the final ball affecting both sides. However, that didn’t take away anything from the game. A wonderful shot deflected off a Preston defender for another Swansea corner on fifty seven minutes. It has to be said Charlie Patino was really coming in to this game for the Swans making up for the more reserved passing choices of his captain Grimes. It wasn’t Grimes best of games for sure.

The hard tackles from both sides continued and were allowed to go by the referee. As the challenges increased Yates went down clutching his head and the players had a chance to draw breath. Kian Best came off for Preston as Ali McCann replaced him from the bench. This saw Brad Potts move out to a a more conventional right back position. That overload would test Swansea. From the change made by Preston Mads Frøkjær-Jensen had an opportunity, and again the home side took ahold of the game. On sixty five a corner for Preston was cleared and the game became high tempo - and as the possession suggested Alan Hughes managed to flick on a cross which levelled the score.

Rushworth had no chance.

Swansea didn’t look able to match up to their hosts when it came to strength on the ball and it became anyone’s game. It was clear PNE felt the Swansea left was the weaker side to attack as they overloaded players to take advantage. Potts was a spare man and Holmes hugged the touchline and was going unnoticed. Duff really did need to get a grip with this tactical change. On seventy minutes, Oli Cooper and Jamie Paterson came on for Liam Cullen and Charlie Patino. Paterson and Cooper would firm up the midfield. Paterson immediately made an impact with a lovely shot which went inches over the bar.

As the game entered the final quarter the home side looked the favourites to take all the points with Jerry Yates for Swansea not getting in to the game at all. He looked lost at times. If he has a combative side to his game we haven’t seen it today. The pace was hectic as the Swans tried to slow the game down. Cooper and Paterson could do nothing when Duane Holmes put the home side in front. The Swans were hanging on and just didn’t fancy the battle with Preston allowed to play inside the away sides area. With Yates clumsy and weak up front the ball wasn’t being retained as Ashby and Fulton went off for Azeem Abdulai and Joe Allen.

It seemed more desperate than tactical. The Swans just didn’t have the fight.

When Swansea did have a chance to make something of the game they just couldn’t take advantage of balls in to the area. A player who did show effort was Josh Key who via Grimes set up Allen but his shot went wide. Jerry Yates was replaced by Mykola Kukharevych who made his Swans debut. Yates had a very poor game and was outwitted and out fought on the ball. Another raid down the Preston right by Key gave Mykola an opportunity but his shot fizzed wide of the home goal for a corner.

For all the effort the ball went out for a home goal kick.

Preston seemed content to put their whole team behind the ball for the final minutes. Swansea probed and Preston waited for their chances on the break. Mykola continued to put himself about, an attribute the Swans hasn’t seen for most of the game. He had a nice chance to equalise for the Swans with a ball forwards from Allen but fired his shot wide. That signalled the end for this game with the points remaining in Lancashire and to be quite honest it was deserved. The Swans just didn’t have the nouse or hunger to win the game.

The Indy view
Swansea just didn’t have the hunger to win this game, they were out fought for most of it and lacked the character to take the points. That was highlighted by Darling being out muscled from a Josh Key cross late on. That was the story of the game. This side still looks lost at times and are finding out quickly just how ruthless this league can be, especially this season. Swansea met a side today that has already got in to a winning habit this campaign.

Preston North End : Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, Browne (c), Ledson, Best (McCann 61); Holmes (Whatmough 85), Frøkjær-Jensen (Woodburn 90); Keane

Subs: Cornell, Cunnningham, Bauer, Rodriguez- Gentile, Mawene, Seary

Swansea City: Rushworth; Darling, Wood, Cabango; Ashby (Abdulai 79), Fulton (Allen 80 ) Grimes, Patino (O. Cooper 71), Key; Cullen (Paterson 71), Yates (Kuharevich 84)

Subs: Fisher, B. Cooper, Naughton, Congreve

Artwork by Swansea Independent

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Freelander added 18:02 - Aug 26
Well I know it is only four games played but is Duff the right manager for the Swans got it wrong again today according to today's report we were second best and did not have enough pase down the flanks so did the club get the right players in and at
this present time we have not won a game and our position in the league does not look that healthy we will be lucky to make mid table in the way we are playing.

Freelander added 18:16 - Aug 26
Another poor display again today after taken the lead the squad is not good enough so is our manager good enough for the Championship two points from four games Duff has had enough time by now to sort the team out our defence has always poor and as usuall the club will not spend big to get decent players in so it is going to be another struggle in the championship again this season.

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