Penalty homework finally pays off for Preston North End ‘keeper Declan Rudd

Preston North End's Declan Rudd saves the penalty from Swansea City's Oli McBurnie
Preston North End's Declan Rudd saves the penalty from Swansea City's Oli McBurnie

Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd said homework – for once – paid off when he saved a penalty early in the defeat to Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Rudd plunged to his left to push Oli McBurnie’s effort round the post, the spot kick given for a challenge by Alan Browne on Barrie McKay.

Rudd warms up ahead of the game against Swansea

Rudd warms up ahead of the game against Swansea

Unfortunately, Rudd stood little chance with Jay Fulton’s header later in the first half which gave the hosts their 1-0 victory.

“My penalty-saving record is okay but I would like to have saved more,” said Rudd.

“The advantage is always with the penalty taker and they should score but it is our job to keep them out.

“We do our homework and research on penalties but I have to admit that I’m not a great lover of that.

“The last six penalties I had faced before Saturday, I had gone the way which the stats had showed but the takers had all changed their mind.

“For this one, their lad stuck with his usual side and I went that way – I believed the stats and it went my way.”

The penalty save came in the 11th minute of a first half in which North End for some reason did not have too much belief in themselves.

That all changed after the interval with Preston bossing the play but being unable to find an equaliser.

Rudd said: “We didn’t get going in the first half, it was Swansea on the front foot.

“We were glad to get in at half-time so we could re-group and sort ourselves out.

“The gaffer got it right at half-time when he said we had to believe in ourselves, believe in our own ability to have a go.

“While we have experience in the team, age wise we are still quite young.

“Maybe that had a bit to do with it, some of the lads in the back of their mind might have been thinking we were playing a side who had just come down from the Premier League.

“We put that one right at half-time and I thought we went out and dominated the second half.

“As a group of players we have go to believe that there is no reason why Preston North End can’t go to Swansea and dominate from minute one.

“The sooner everyone believes that, the sooner we can crack on. We showed during the second half what we were capable of doing.”