Report - Swansea City 2-0 Preston NE
6th February 2010
Swansea City eased to a comfortable 2-0 victory against a poor Preston North End side yesterday in front of 14,000 fans at the Liberty Stadium.
David Cotterill did the damage for the Swans, opening the scoring in the first half with a delightful free-kick from 18 yards, and he supplied the second after the break as Ashley Williams headed home from his set piece.
Paulo Sousa's side rarely had to get out of second gear as Preston arrived in Swansea low on confidence, they struggled to create a threat from start to finish which meant goalkeeper Dorus De Vries was mainly a spectator.
As expected, Sousa made more changes to his starting line-up as he continues to rotate his side. Angel Rangel was missing from the 18-man squad, apparently he picked up an injury but that coincided with his recent criticisms of chairman Huw Jenkins - who he blamed for preventing him from joining Premiership side Fulham. Rangel's absence meant Alan Tate moved to right back as Williams and Monk started at centre back.
Leon Britton was back in midfield alongside Pratley and Allen, and his return saw a much more stronger and dominant midfield from the one that started against Coventry 12 days ago.
The Swans were quick to get into their stride and we were finding it much easier to get forward via the flanks. Nathan Dyer was causing problems down the right early on while David Cotterill was finding things a bit more difficult against Preston's right back. Dyer created two good chances for the Swans within the opening 20 minutes. Pintado headed wide of the target and then he failed to connect with an excellent low cross to the Spaniard at the near post.
Our next big chance to break the deadlock came on the half-hour mark. Darren Pratley did brilliantly to split the defence with a great ball through to the sprinting Nathan Dyer but he was brought down in the box by the visitor's captain, every Swansea fan must have thought it was a penalty but the referee ignored our strong shouts for a spot-kick. The decision, of course, angered the home faithful and anti-referee chants soon followed.
Paulo Sousa has been disappointed in the past when his Swansea City side haven't scored goals when they were on top in games. We were completely dominating and we needed and deserved to go in the dressing room at half with a 1-goal advantage at least. Thankfully we did, as David Cotterill was fouled right on the edge of the penalty area. There were doubts amongst the crowd as to whether or not it was inside the box, but it didn't matter as the winger stepped up to curl a free-kick into the top right-hand corner.
In the second half, the Swans should have doubled their advantage within the first few minutes. Nathan Dyer burst forward down the right, and had space to go one on one with the goalkeeper, but he dragged a low right-footed shot just a foot wide of the far post.
We did double our lead though and made the game even more comfortable for ourselves. David Cotterill was the dangerman again as he sent in a good free-kick from the left touch-line, and Williams had the easy task of glancing a header in at the near post.
Preston then had their best spell of the game for about 5 or 10 minutes. They had a decent spell of possession and a few chances but the Swans soon took control once again. The visitor's boss Darren Ferguson used up all of his three substitutes very early on, a dangerous and risky decision - one which didn't pay off.
Joe Allen produced one of his best performances of the season and his confidence grew during the game. He went close in the second half with some long range efforts, one of which forced the goalkeeper into a good save, palming his effort away from goal. David Cotterill went even closer from distance, as he saw a 25-yard effort hit the woodwork.
Swansea City continued to attack and they went in search of a deserved third goal. Sheifi Kuqi then came on to replace Gorka Pintado and the Finn looked lively again. He's comfortable and strong when battling for the aerial challenges and he also has good pace for a 33 year-old.
Leon Britton proved how important he is to the team as he was back in the starting line-up having missed the 0-0 draw against Coventry City. We looked a far more confident and stronger side in midfield with his presence and he teamed up well with Joe Allen and Darren Pratley - who was impressive again and enjoyed some showboating in the second half.
Paulo Sousa had every reason to be delighted with his team's performance and the 2-0 victory. On another day it could easily have been 3 or 4-0 - a scoreline which would have been a true reflection on the game.
Having drawn 5 in the last 6 League games, it was vital that we got back to winning ways to continue our push for a play-off place. We can now travel to Crystal Palace on Tuesday full of confidence - and that'll be another good opportunity for us to pick up another 3 points.
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