Swansea City 0 Preston North End 1 match report: Stoppage-time winner for PNE at the Liberty Stadium

A stoppage-time own goal gave Preston North End a dramatic but deserved victory over Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 10:53 am

Swans skipper Matt Grimes put through his net in the 91st minute, the ball hitting him after goalkeeper Freddie Woodman had blocked a shot from PNE substitute Scott Sinclair.

Although the goal had a touch of good fortunate about it, don't think for one moment it was a lucky three points.

North End controlled long spells of the Easter Monday game, with them prepared to play high up the pitch and take the game to their promotion-chasing hosts.

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They had the better chances, Brad Potts, Sinclair and Jayson Molumby all going close before Grimes' own goal.

At the other end, PNE's three-man defence was rock solid and goalkeeper Daniel Iversen had little to deal with in the way of making saves.

It was a fourth point gained from Frankie McAvoy's two games as interim head coach, adding weight to the Scot's chances of landing the job full-time.

McAvoy became the first Preston manager/head coach to lead them to victory on Swansea soil for nearly 60 years.

Preston North End players celebrate their winner at Swansea City

Their last win in this corner of South Wales was in 1961 at the Vetch Field - the Swans' former home.

Five previous visits to the Liberty Stadium had all ended in defeat, so this was an overdue and very welcome three points.

It moved them up to 16th place, 13 points clear of Rotherham who are third from bottom of the Championship.

McAvoy had made two changes to the North End starting XI, Ben Whiteman and Potts coming in for Sinclair and the injured Daniel Johnson.

PNE striker Emil Riis in action against Swansea at the Liberty Stadium

On the bench was a first inclusion in the squad for Louis Moult for 19 months.

The striker had been out since suffering a serious knee injury in the corresponding fixture in August 2019, ironic it should be at the Liberty Stadium that he returned,.

After using a 4-4-2 with a diamond-shaped midfield in Good Friday's 1-1 draw with Norwich, McAvoy switched to 3-4-1-2 in South Wales.

Jordan Storey, Liam Lindsay and Andrew Hughes formed the three-man backline, with Sepp van den Berg and Tom Barkhuizen operating as wing-backs.

North End midfielder Ben Whiteman slide tackles Andre Ayew

Potts played just behind front pair Emil Riis and Ched Evans, with McAvoy looking for a good presence higher up the pitch.

North End had by far the better of the first half, both territorially and in terms of sights on goal.

They pressed high, not giving the Swansea defence time to play from the back.

Whiteman saw an early shot blocked after Ledson had played a corner low into his path on the edge of the box, with Storey seeing a looping header from Ledson's cross plucked out of the air by Woodman.

Good work from Riis in winning possession down PNE's right-wing resulted in Ledson passing inside to Potts, the midfielder's first-time shot just clearing the bar.

Their best chance of the first period came in the 33rd minute, Evans' pressing winning the ball with Ledson slipping a pass into the box.

PNE skipper Ryan Ledson battles in midfield against Swansea

Potts darted forward to meet it and flicked a shot goalwards, Woodman reaching up to fingertip it over the bar.

Just before half-time Marc Guehi's trip on Evans earned the Swansea defender a yellow card and North End a free-kick a couple of yards outside the box, to the left of goal.

Ledson rolled it into the path of Poots who drove a shot over the bar.

Three minutes into the second half, Woodman had to come out of his box to kick clear from Riis as he chased a well struck ball forward from Whiteman.

It needed a good sliding tackle from Guehi to take the ball away from Riis in the box in the 54th minute, before another chance came North End's way a couple of minutes later.

After a corner had been knocked back into his path, Potts let fly with a powerful shot which caught Jay Fulton flush in the face, knocking him the floor.

Potts got another sight of goal in the 68th minute courtesy of some good play from van den Berg.

The Liverpool loanee intercepted a cross field ball, moved up the pitch before lifting a fine pass down the left channel to find Potts' run.

Potts moved into the box but Connor Roberts got enough of a block in to take the midfielder's shot over the bar and behind for a corner.

A great chance fell the way of Sinclair, on as a substitute for Riis, with five minutes remaining.

Good approach play from van den Berg down the right saw the teenager put over a low cross which looped up off a Swansea boot and towards Sinclair who sent a header over the bar from six yards.

In the 88th minute, Jayson Molumby - also on as a sub - saw a shot blocked at the near post by Ben Cabango's sliding challenge.

But finally the breakthrough came in the first minute of stoppage-time.

Barkhuizen's long throw from the left was half cleared to the edge of the box.

Whiteman's low drive was deflected into the path of Sinclair whose shot from close quarters was blocked by Woodman - the ball bouncing against Grimes who could only watch as it rolled over the line.

Swansea: Woodman, Roberts, Guehi, Cabango, Manning, Fulton, Grimes, Whittaker (Rpoutledge 80), Hourihane (Dhanda 80), Lowe, Ayew. Subs (not used): Bennett, Smith, Laribeaudiere, Bidwell, Naughton, Cooper, Hamer.

PNE: Iversen, van den Berg, Storey, Lindsay, Hughes, Ledson, Whiteman, Barkhuizen, Potts (Molumby 80), Evans, Riis (Sinclair 75). Subs (not used): Bayliss, Moult, Gallagher, Huntington, Coulton, Bodin, Hudson.

Referee: Peter Bankes (Merseyside)

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