MIDDLESBROUGH manager Chris Wilder was pleased with the way his side overcame the challenges Swansea City presented them at the Riverside Stadium as they managed to get their first victory of the Championship season.

Goals from Riley McGree and Matt Crooks in the first half set them on their way to what was looking like a comfortable first win. However, Swansea managed to claw their back into the game through a controversial penalty. Darragh Lenihan was penalised for a handball and Joel Piroe converted the resulting spotkick.

The Swans continued to put pressure on the home side before a red card to Ben Cabango left the ten men with too much to do as Boro saw out eight minutes of stoppage time to earn the win.

“It was a right difficult game” said Wilder. “Swansea is probably the hardest game in a lot of ways. The way they play is obviously how Russel (Martin) wants his team to play. That’s really difficult to play against.

“We had to show a really disciplined side to us because when we get beat at Reading, everyone in the ground wants to go ‘come on, lets press and get after them’. That is part of the game.

“I think we are quite good at pressing but Swansea is possibly the hardest game to play. When you’re looking at who you want to play after you have not got a result after five games, it certainly isn’t Swansea.

“Saying that, we kept our shape when we had a chance to break it up and counter attack, play how we did and score two goals. A bit disappointed that we’ve not extended our lead as well from their first half.

“I’ve said to the players it was always going to be one of those games. Whoever it was we were playing against, it was always going to be a comfortable afternoon or something happens with a penalty which I still don’t understand.”

Like most people in the stadium, Wilder was left scratching his head as to why the penalty was award to Swansea and felt there was a foul on his Irish defender Lenihan.

The Northern Echo: Riley McGree celebrates scoring the opening goal of the gameRiley McGree celebrates scoring the opening goal of the game

He continued: “I couldn’t (work it out). I just can’t understand. He gets smashed across at 100mph. I don’t know what he is expected to do. If he has got his arm by his side, if it hits his arm and by the side, is that handball? He’s looking to defend.

“You put yourself in a position to balance. He’s not tried to make himself big. These people have got to realise you don’t think to make yourself big when you are defending a cross. You look and put yourself in a position where you are going to be side on, fill the goal and do what I need to do. I think Darragh did that.”

As Russel Martin’s side piled on the pressure, Wilder threw a defensive trio of Marc Bola, Tommy Smith and Dael Fry in the action. It was a successful set of substitutions as Boro held onto the three points. But what he was more impressed with was the way they handled how Swansea play and that his players were assisted with the help of the supporters.

He added: “They are always going to have more passes in them because that is the way they play. But as I said, that’s what happens. They give up chances and they dominate possession. It’s a really difficult system and players to handle.

“I think that is the reason I was delighted with the punters because I thought they stayed with us right the way through. They understood the game. It was incredibly intelligent of them and it showed what a good knowledgeable crowd they are because I think off the back of the five games we’ve not won and Swansea are dominating possession like they do, they could have got really edgy but they didn’t.

“The goal has settled them down and we had three or four unbelievable chances to put them to bed so that was a little disappointing.

“At the end, they are going to do what they do with the system that they play. They are going to risk. We could be a little bit better but I decided myself to see the game out in terms of the substitutions that we made. That was my decision.

“It was one made on experience and how the game was going. Whatever we needed to do to get that first win, we needed to do it so it wasn’t pretty towards the end. It wasn’t maybe how we want to go about it and see games out but when we put ourselves in that position in terms of what we have done over the previous five games, I make no excuses for that.”

Boro return to action looking for back-to-back victories when they make the trip to recently relegated Swansea City.