Swansea 1-0 Preston: Jay Fulton secures Swans victory
Jay Fulton's first-half strike is enough for Graham Potter's side
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 11/08/18 7:48pm
Swansea made it back-to-back Championship wins at the start of the new season as Jay Fulton's first-half header secured a 1-0 victory over Preston.
After taking three points at Sheffield United on the opening weekend, Graham Potter's side shrugged off an early penalty miss from Oli McBurnie to come out on top.
Preston were woeful in the first half but much better after the break and had chances through Tom Barkhuizen, Lukas Nmecha and Josh Harrop.
North End saw more of the ball in the second period, but could not break through as substitute Erwin Mulder impressed in the Swansea goal.
After seeing four first-choice players leave on deadline day, Swansea had just one fit senior centre-half and handed a competitive debut to academy product Joe Rodon in defence as a result.
Preston included Manchester City loan forward Nmecha in attack, but the hosts were soon handed a perfect opportunity to take the lead.
Swansea winger Barrie McKay was brought down in the box by Alan Browne and referee James Linington rightly pointed to the spot. McBurnie stepped up, but saw his penalty expertly saved by Declan Rudd low to the goalkeeper's left.
Swansea lost Rudd's opposite number Kristoffer Nordfeldt to a groin injury, with Mulder replacing the Swede, but that failed to stop the home side from deservedly moving ahead. In the 32nd minute Joel Asoro picked the ball up on the right and his inch-perfect cross was headed home by Fulton.
McBurnie and Asoro then had efforts saved by Rudd in quick succession as Swansea went into the break in front, while Preston's only chance came when Harrop shot over.
When the game resumed in heavy rain, Preston were transformed. Barkhuizen saw an effort ruled out for offside and then drove a second attempt narrowly wide.
Harrop then twice forced the excellent Mulder into action and Potter responded by replacing Asoro with Matt Grimes in a bid to strengthen his midfield, but it was still all Preston.
The visitors then introduced striker Graham Burke in search of an equaliser as both sides had chances. Rudd blocked a Bersant Celina strike at his near post and, at the other end, Mulder did well to tip over an effort from Nmecha.
Fulton and Preston's Callum Robinson also went close as Swansea's nerves began to fray.
Leroy Fer, on his first appearance since February following Achilles surgery, was tasked with shoring up the Swansea back line and McBurnie should have made it 2-0 in the final 10 minutes, but the visitors still held on to continue their perfect start to the season.
Graham Potter: "I am very proud of the players and the supporters. They were tremendous. People keep talking about how tough the Championship is and I agree with them. You have to be resilient and if you don't do that then you're dead in any league.
"We were resilient and when we lost our goalkeeper, we could have felt sorry for ourselves. We didn't, even though I think Preston would probably have deserved a point."
Alex Neil: "We lacked belief in ourselves in the first half as much as anything. Our quality just wasn't there and we didn't move the ball well enough. I was really disappointed with us defensively for the goal. Darnell Fisher was booked for giving away a free-kick which I didn't think was a foul. We cleared the free-kick, the ball got helped back in, and Ben Davies nodded it into a dangerous area. While Ben stood there, the lad got across him.
"At half-time I told the lads we could either sit in and not believe we are good enough or we could get up against them. We did the latter, we moved the ball much better, and the quality was miles better. Overall I think we deserved more."