Preston North End secured back-to-back Championship victories by beating Swansea City 1-0 at Deepdale, courtesy of Brad Potts’ first-half strike.
Potts gave his side a deserved lead half an hour into the game, and his close-range effort proved enough to earn three points against Russell Martin’s in-form Swans.
The visitors were seeing plenty of the ball – as they always try to do – but PNE were pressing high and pouncing on loose passes, and it was North End with all the early chances.
Emil Riis sent a header wide on six minutes, while Steven Benda saved an Alan Browne volley three minutes later.
Riis then had the best of the opportunities 17 minutes in, with a brilliant team move reaching the Danish striker on the end of Brad Potts’ cross from the right which Riis sent wide from the edge of the six-yard box.
North End did gain a deserved advantage, though, on the half-hour mark, as Alan Browne whipped a ball into the box and, after Harry Darling failed to clear, Ched Evans saw a shot saved at close range, but the ball fell straight to Potts who found the empty net.
PNE could have doubled their lead just before the break through skipper Browne, who was picked out at the far post by Riis, but Browne couldn’t quite jump high enough to direct his header down at goal as it flew over the bar.
The opening stages of the second half saw Swansea again keep more of the ball and they would have gone level on 59 minutes were it not for their former loanee Freddie Woodman, who produced a great reflex save to deny Jay Fulton.
At the other end, Evans couldn’t call Steven Benda into action on the end of Robbie Brady’s cross, moments before Woodman was able to keep out Harry Darling’s header.
Evans and Brady then combined again on 75 minutes, with the Irish international sending an inviting ball into the box for Evans to swoop low and head goalwards, but Benda saved.
Darling then had an even better chance a minute later when Jamie Paterson’s corner went all the way through to the unmarked defender at the backpost, whose low effort – fortunately for PNE – was sent back across goal instead of on target.
In the third minute of stoppage time, Woodman pulled off a hugely-important save to deny Ryan Manning from close range and ensure PNE held on to their 11th clean sheet of the season and a second win at Deepdale in four days.
PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, McCann, Whiteman (Ledson, 23), Browne, Brady; Evans (Maguire, 78), Riis (Woodburn, 86). Subs not used: Cornell, Fernández, Cunningham, Johnson.
Swansea City line-up: Benda; Cabango, Darling, Latibeaudiere; Naughton (Okoflex, 56), Grimes, Fulton (Cooper, 73), Manning; Cundle (Obafemi, 67), Ntcham (Paterson, 56); Piroe. Subs not used: Fisher, Wood, Sorinola.
Attendance: 13,631 (428 away fans)
Referee: Mr J Busby.