Borja brace sees Swansea to hard-fought victory

Borja Baston’s brace ensured Swansea came out 3-2 winners over Preston after a thrilling back-and-forth battle at the Liberty Stadium.

The £15million Spanish striker went 1,022 days without a Swansea goal before the start of this season but now has three goals in three league games.

It was his equaliser on the stroke of half-time that gave the hosts a lifeline after Joe Rafferty’s early strike put Preston ahead.

George Byers came on at the break and put Swansea ahead before Daniel Johnson levelled from the spot three minutes later.

But Borja headed in the winner to cap off a manic six minutes and move his side onto seven points from their first three games.

Alex Neil’s men scored early in both of last week’s big wins over Wigan and Bradford and they made another fast start in south Wales with a goal after 11 minutes.

Left-back Rafferty pushed forward, took a Swansea half clearance down with his chest and curled a shot past Freddie Woodman and inside the near post from 20 yards out.

Sean Maguire flashed a header just over and then sent a shot across the face of goal in the final stages of the first half as the visitors looked to make their domination count.

But they went in level after Borja scored his second goal of the season completely against the run of play four minutes into stoppage time.

Jay Fulton found the run of Connor Roberts with an inch-perfect pass to the right wing before Borja moved into a yard of space and swept his low cross into the far corner to level it up at half-time.

But it was three goals in six second-half minutes that changed the face of this Championship clash.

Substitute Andre Ayew began to threaten the Preston defence, before  Byers turned the scoreline on its head after 63 minutes.

Borja missed the chance to net his second of the game from Bersant Celina’s driven cross, but the ball fell kindly to Byers, who side-footed it into the corner from the penalty spot.

The lead only lasted three minutes, though, after Roberts crashed into Maguire in the penalty area. Referee Dean Whitestone pointed to the spot and Johnson beat Woodman to his right to level the scores at 2-2.

But Swansea turned to the man they brought back in from the cold to fire them back in front with 69 minutes gone.

Jake Bidwell charged on an overlapping run and received possession from Celina before clipping a delicate ball across the six-yard box for Borja to power a header into the back of the net.

And Swansea held on in the final moments to keep the pace with the early league leaders.