David Cotterill scored one goal and created another as Swansea defeated Preston 2-0 at the Liberty Stadium to keep their bid for a Coca-Cola Championship play-off place on track.

The Swans' club record signing curled home a fine first-half free-kick and crossed for Ashley Williams to head home a second goal after the break in a one-side encounter.

Paulo Sousa's side dominated from start to finish and Cotterill also hit a post late on but the two goals proved to be enough and Swansea remain fifth in the table, level on points with rivals Cardiff.

The Welsh side are now unbeaten in seven and have kept 10 clean sheets in their 15 home games in the Championship this season.

Swansea soon got into their stride with their attractive brand of passing football and Gorka Pintado had an opportunity to put them in front after 13 minutes.

Darren Pratley, a target for Nottingham Forest in the January transfer window, picked out the Spanish striker with an inviting cross but Pintado headed over the crossbar from close range.

It was all one-way traffic and Cotterill tried his luck with a free-kick from 25 yards out but his strike flashed narrowly wide of Andy Lonergan's goal.

Swansea felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty 28 minutes in when lively winger Nathan Dyer burst into the box and went down under a challenge from Eddie Nolan, but referee Phil Gibbs saw nothing untoward.

But the Swans were deservedly in front 10 minutes before the break courtesy of a fine free-kick from Cotterill.

Youl Mawene upended the former Sheffield United man on the edge of the area and Cotterill picked himself up to curl a precise free-kick into the top-left corner.

The Swans carried on where they left off at the start of the second half and Dyer latched onto Pintado's neat flick but failed to hit the target with a wasteful finish.

But Sousa's side doubled their lead three minutes into the second half when centre-half Williams rose highest to head home Cotterill's cross from the left from six yards out.

The home side never look like surrendering their advantage and Pratley tried his luck from the edge of the area but Lonergan made a comfortable save.

Preston substitute Jon Parkin had the ball in the back of the net with just over 20 minutes remaining but the linesman's flag had already been raised.

Lonergan was called into action once again to keep out a fine long-range strike from Wales Under-21 midfielder Joe Allen.

Cotterill was unfortunate not to score his second goal of the afternoon when his right-foot drive rebounded off the post 13 minutes from time.

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Topics:
#Ashley Williams
#Darren Pratley
#Andy Lonergan
#Jon Parkin
#Football
#Joe Allen
#Championship
#Ashley Williams
#Cardiff City
#Preston North End
#Gorka Pintado
#Nottingham Forest
#Eddie Nolan
#Sheffield United
#Nathan Dyer
#David Cotterill
#Swansea City
#Youl Mawene