North End made it four games unbeaten in the Championship with a 1-1 draw against fellow promotion hopefuls Swansea City. In what was a frustrating game, we saw Scotty Sinclair get off the mark with his first goal for the club but unfortunately, we could only hold onto the lead for 5 minutes.

A point was probably a fair result, but other teams around us won and we will need to keep up the pace with them starting with a win at Wigan Athletic next week.

Here are our player ratings from the game. Let us know if you agree or disagree with any of them:

Declan Rudd

Another solid performance between the sticks by Dec. For the goal he made the initial save from Andre Ayew at point-blank range, when the Ghanaian may possibly have been offside. The ball bounced through to Rhian Brewster to apply the simple finish but from then on in Rudd made some good saves mostly from long-range efforts. His good form is carrying on and he’s going to be crucial for us in the last third of the season.

Rating – 7

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Darnell Fisher

An assist for Darnell on Saturday to go with the one he picked up last week against Barnsley. His attacking part of his game often seems to be undervalued, but especially in a team where we have inverted wingers or a diamond formation, the right-back is needed to push up as often as possible.

Bersant Celina had a quiet game down Swansea’s left hand side and overall Fisher put in a good display on Saturday. Another player who we can’t afford to miss any games between now and the end of the campaign.

Rating – 7

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Ben Davies

A standard performance from Davies, one we’ve become accustomed to in the last couple of seasons. We expect the best from him and that’s what we get week in week out.

He was up against a highly rated youngster in Brewster on Saturday and chances for the Liverpool loanee were few and far between. Swansea looked dangerous in midfield breaking forward but struggled to create any meaningful chances in our area. That’s down to good positional play from Davies and his defensive partner.

Rating – 7

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Patrick Bauer

My thoughts on Davies are echoed for Bauer. A solid display, despite one momentary lapse in the first half, when Bauer moved out of position to cover a ball Davies could have dealt with, and then left himself exposed as Swansea broke forward.

Bauer has only been here six months but it feels like we’ve been watching him for years. He also went close at the other end late on in the game, when a downward header kept Freddie Woodman alert.

Rating – 7

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Joe Rafferty

Not the best afternoon for Mr Dependable. Rafferty has shone admirably this season playing out of position. He was up against one of the best players in the division in Andre Ayew on Saturday and in truth didn’t allow him to get the better of him too many times.

However ‘Rafu’ looked nervous at times and gave away possession too often. He wasn’t his usual self, and if we are to be our best we need Andrew Hughes back to full fitness as soon as possible. It’s also tough when Rafferty does break forward – with not being naturally footed, he has to cut in rather than go on the overlap.

Rating – 6

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Ben Pearson

What a performance from this man. What more can be said? He covered every blade of grass on Saturday, with his relentless energy restricting numerous Swansea attacks. His possession recovery is outstanding, it’s a wonderful sight seeing him charging back from the other end of the pitch to win the ball back.

On the ball, he is just as good as well. We’re used to seeing his dummy and turn on the ball which always seems to work to great effect. His passing to spread play across the pitch is exemplary as well. One of the best players in the league, no doubt.

Rating – 9

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Alan Browne

In what will have been a tiring week for the Irishman following the arrival of his newborn child this week, the midfielder put in a great captain’s performance. Browne took a while to get going this season, and although the goals haven’t been flowing for him as much, he’s getting into dangerous positions again.

The volley on the knockdown from David Nugent at the end of the game would have been a worthy winner for any game had it gone it. Much like Pearo, Browne was up and down the pitch all game and never looked like tiring.

Rating – 7

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Daniel Johnson

It’s great to have him back in the side, he’s made a big difference since his return. Swansea were a very organised team and pressed us hard. In those situations, DJ looks the most likely to penetrate the defence and create something out of nothing. He helped dictate our play on Saturday, but he probably needed a few more willing runners to help create some space.

Rating – 7

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Josh Harrop

Harrop found it tough to make an impact on the game. We know he is capable of producing something out of nothing and perhaps it may have been worthwhile leaving him on a little longer. The formation was a bit unclear on the day, with the diamond formation that worked at Barnsley not always apparent. It left Harrop a little lost, and he struggled to get involved as often as we would like.

Rating – 6

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Scott Sinclair

A wonderful, beautiful and magical strike from Scotty showed us what he is all about. It was a great goal, cutting inside, creating space for himself before curling a lovely left-footed shot beyond Woodman. That’s why he’s been brought in, to produce those moments of magic that can be the difference between winning and losing – something that we have lacked since Aiden McGeady.

Aside from the goal Sinclair got into some good positions, but it’s clear he’s not going to play as wide as we may have thought, as he likes to drop in more centrally and pick up positions just outside the box.

Rating – 8

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Tom Barkhuizen

A fairly quiet afternoon from Barky, but not through lack of effort or endeavour. He made many lung-busting runs both in attack and defence. Not much fell for him upfront and it will take a little longer before him and Sinclair work out each others games, but there is definite potential for some great success through those two.

Rating – 6

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Substitutes

David Nugent

Nuge replaced Harrop after 65 minutes and was his usual lively self. He provides great energy, and is also a good targetman. That was shown by his knock down to Browne from Rudd’s long kick at the end, which was a lovely route one move.

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Rating – 6

Sean Maguire

Seani came on for Barkhuizen on 85 minutes but didn’t have enough time to make an impact.

Rating – N/A

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