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Match Reports

Preston North End 1 Swansea City 1

1 February 2020

Scott Sinclair got off the mark at Deepdale with a stunning strike, but he and the Lilywhites had to settle for a draw after Rhian Brewster’s close-range equaliser.

The former Celtic man curled a left-footed screamer into the left corner of Freddie Woodman’s goal just before the half hour mark, only for the Swans’ Liverpool loanee to controversially poke home from a yard out after Andre Ayew seemed offside before crossing.
It was an unchanged North End that went into the game against Steve Cooper’s side, with one place and one point the difference in the table and it was a tight and scrappy first half between two sides fighting for a place in the top six.
But it was a moment of brilliance from PNE’s No.31 that brought the game to life as he collected Darnell Fisher’s throw in on the right touchline, before driving inside past three defenders before curling the ball around Joe Rodon and past Woodman into the inside of the left-side side netting from the edge of the ‘D’, to break the deadlock again the side he won promotion from the Championship with, via the Play-Offs.
However, the Welsh side were level on 34 minutes in highly controversial circumstances. Ayew got lucky with a ricocheting ball that fell to Conor Gallagher; the Chelsea man then threaded the forward back in, but with Patrick Bauer stepping out, it looking like Ayew was offside as he clipped from the ball from the right edge of the six yard box, deflecting off Declan Rudd into the path of Brewster, who converted with his right shin.
There was little else to discuss in the first half, but it was a different story after the break, with the home side dominating the game, the possession and the chances.
The visitors were also very lucky not finish the game with nine men; Brewster only booked for a horror two-footed challenge off the floor on Ben Pearson and Jake Bidwell somehow avoiding a clear second yellow card for bringing down Darnell Fisher as he looked set to drive into the penalty area from the right.
From one free kick North End did win, when Tom Barkhuizen finally won a foul – having been man-handled throughout the first half – Josh Harrop curled the ball from 25 yards, towards the top right corner of the Alan Kelly Town End goal, but the Swnas wall managed to just get up high enough to clip off them and go behind for a corner.
With 13 minutes left, from the resulting free kick after Bidwell’s demolition job on Fisher, Daniel Johnson cleverely pulled the ball back for Browne, only for Kyle Naughton to deny the Irishman a goal.
The final few minutes saw City clinging on, with Bauer forcing Woodman to tip over after meeting Browne’s right-wing cross and then from the resulting corner substitute Maguire couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet and eventually Bidwell blocked his close-range shot.
But the best chance came in the final of three minutes added on when Declan Rudd fired a long free kick right down the middle and Maguire got up highest to flick on for fellow Irishman Browne, who met the ball sweetly on the volley, but couldn’t quite keep it down, the ball flying just over the bar and leaving the game to finish all-square.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Rafferty, Pearson, Bauer, Davies, Sinclair, Johnson, Barkhuizen (Maguire, 85), Browne, Harrop (Nugent, 65). Subs not used: Ripley, Hughes, Ledson, Stockley, Potts.
Swansea City line-up: Woodman, Guehi, Rodon, Grimes (c), Celina, Brewster (Cullen, 88), Ayew, Bidwell, Naughton, Byers (Fulton, 80), C Gallagher. Subs not used: Mulder, Routledge, Wilmot, Dhanda, Cabango.
Attendance: 12,502 (665 Swansea City fans)
Referee: Mr G Eltringham

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