Preston 3-1 Swansea City: Russell Martin’s men put to the sword by Lilywhites

Swansea City were punished for a lacklustre display as they were beaten 3-1 by Preston North End at Deepdale.

The Swans started well and took the lead in Lancashire through what was Joel Piroe’s fourth goal of the campaign.

But Preston hit-back in spectacular fashion as Sepp van den Berg equalised before Emil Riis and Ben Whiteman struck either side of half time to earn the hosts a deserved victory.

Defeat fully exposed the scale of the task that lies ahead for Russell Martin who has already overseen seven matches in all competitions – despite being in the post for just four weeks.

Following his outing against Plymouth Argyle on Tuesday night, Ryan Bennett returned to the starting lineup in what was the only change from the side that started at Bristol City eight days earlier – with Brandon Cooper dropping to the bench.

Swansea dominated the ball in the opening stages, although after Piroe headed over inside two minutes, the Preston faithful were calling for a penalty when Joel Latibeaudiere tangled with Riis who hit the deck in the box, although referee Thomas Bramall refused to point to the spot.

Latibeaudiere had clearly done some damage in that incident and was duly replaced by Cooper after just 11 minutes.

But Swansea’s confidence wasn’t dented, and after slick midfield play between Jay Fulton and Jamie Paterson, Liam Cullen threaded the ball through to Piroe who rifled beyond Daniel Iversen.

It was another cool finish from the Dutchman who is fully justifying the faith being shown in him by Martin.

However, Swansea’s lead lasted just two minutes as Josh Earl picked out Liverpool loanee van den Berg who drilled across Steven Benda to level proceedings midway through the first half.

Martin’s men lost their control of the game after that setback, and their sloppiness gave Frankie McAvoy’s side plenty of encouragement.

Riis stung the palms of Benda before Sean Maguire drilled wide from the edge of the box as Preston ended the opening 45 strongly.

And shortly after Benda did brilliantly to deny Riis following a slip from Cooper, the Preston man lashed into the net in front of the Jack Army to put Preston ahead on the stroke of half time.

The home fans were left enraged six minutes after the restart as Riis went around Benda who raced out of his box to make a clearance, only to bring down the Preston man in calamitous fashion.

The German was only shown a yellow card, although the mood was swiftly lifted in the home stands as Whiteman curled the resulting free-kick beyond Benda to make it 3-1.

Patience has been a real buzz word of late following what has been a drastic turnaround at Swansea both on and off the pitch in recent weeks. But this showing will no doubt have tested even the most forgiving of supporters.

Kyle Naughton and Jamal Lowe replaced Bennett and Fulton respectively with just shy of half an hour to go as Swansea tweaked their shape in a bid to get back into the contest.

The Lilywhites continued to look the better of the two sides though as the Swans desperately struggled to play their way up the pitch – with Ryan Manning and Ethan Laird both making vital headers to ensure Benda wasn’t tested further in what was a miserable second half showing from the visitors.

Goal scorer Riis then drilled high and wide as the home fans lapped up every ounce of their side’s positive display.

And after a flat end to proceedings, Swansea now switch their focus to the training ground where they will have two vital weeks to gel further following what has been a mixed debut month for head coach Martin.

Emil Riis Jakobsen of Preston North End celebrates scoring

Preston North End: Iversen; Storey, Bauer, Hughes; van den Berg, Whiteman, Ledson (Rodwell-Grant 90+3), Johnson (C), Earl; Riis (Sinclair 81), Maguire (Potts 86).

Subs not used: Rudd, Rafferty, Cunningham, Harrop.

Goals: van den Berg 21, Riis 45+2, Whiteman 52

Yellow cards: Ledson 59, Johnson 61, Whiteman 70, Sinclair 85

Swansea City: Benda; Latibeaudiere (B Cooper 11), Bennett (Lowe 61), Manning; Laird, Fulton (Naughton 61), Grimes (C), Bidwell; Paterson; Cullen, Piroe.

Subs not used: Hamer, Williams, Dhanda, Whittaker.

Goal: Piroe 19

Yellow card: Benda 51

Referee: Thomas Bramall

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