Dave Seddon's verdict: Preston North End 1 Stoke City 1 - Point gained by PNE in the main thanks to their goalkeeper

The run of Championship draws goes on for Preston North End but this point against Stoke City was one they got away with.

By Dave Seddon
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 8:00 am

For much of Tuesday night PNE were second best to the Potters who should have taken three points back down the M6 with them.

The fact they didn’t was largely down to Daniel Iversen and to Ben Whiteman who hit a very good equaliser.

Iversen stood up well to the test Stoke posed, pulling off saves to deny Tommy Smith, Nick Powell and Josh Tymon.

Ben Whiteman turns to celebrate after equalising for Preston North End against Stoke City at Deepdale

This was the Dane in the type of form we saw from him on a regular basis last season during his first loan spell from Leicester City.

He’s not needed to be as busy this campaign but found himself in the limelight as he thwarted the visitors.

North End have drawn five league games running, the first time that has happened since October 2005.

You can put those draws into various categories. Bristol City at the start of the run and Birmingham last weekend were missed opportunities in terms of winning.

PNE's Greg Cunningham battles with Stoke striker Nick Powell

Sheffield United was a point gained considering PNE equalised in the 95th minute.

The draw against West Bromwich was hard fought and deserved.

Stoke’s visit was the one you would argue they had a good slice of fortune on their side, a game where you accept the point and quickly move on, in PNE’s case to Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.

They could end up drawing all six of the block of games between the two autumn international breaks.

North End striker Sean Maguire and Stoke's Ben Wilmot challenge

A point in the capital might well be regarded usually as a decent one. But getting all three must be the focus.

Maybe we should give the Lilywhites some credit for managing to get a draw out of the Stoke clash.

After all, the visitors had more possession, far more shots, more on target and more corners.

North End have clearly got resilience in their locker which enabled them to dig out a result and stretched their unbeaten league and cup run to a ninth match.

Iversen, clad from head to foot in florescent yellow, was a big part of that resilience.

Beaten by Powell’s sixth minute header, he made sure that was the only occasion he had to scoop the ball out of the back of his net.

Shortly after the opening goal, he dived to get both hands to Tommy Smith’s shot from just inside the box, pushing it behind.

His best save of the night came when it was still 1-0, the ball breaking to Powell in the box off Patrick Bauer.

Powell swept a low shot goalwards, Iversen getting down to glove it behind.

In the second half he stayed big to block at close quarters from Tymon who was stood on the edge of the six-yard box when he shot.

There was a player who could be very satisfied with his evening’s work.

It might not have helped PNE’s cause that for the first time in a month they had to change their back three in a league game.

A toe injury kept Andrew Hughes out, ending a 20-game run in the first-team.

His place on the left side of the back three went to Greg Cunningham.

Maybe he was caught a little bit cold for Stoke’s sixth minute opener. Tymon angled over a fine cross which Powell stepped off Cunningham to meet and head back across Iversen into the net.

It was only once the first 30 minutes had past that North End got a foothold in the game.

Stoke had been bossing the midfield, with Powell and Mario Vrancic causing issues playing off the striker.

PNE didn’t know whether to step up from the back three to take care of those two or give the job to the midfielders.

They had started to suss things out by the time their 37th minute equaliser came.

Josh Earl’s run from the left-wing into the middle was halted by a foul by Romaine Sawyers.

Whiteman whipped the free-kick over the wall and over goalkeeper Adam Davies into the roof of the net.

Cunningham came close to a goal in the second half, his 58th minute shot from distance missing the target by a matter of inches.

In the main though, it was Stoke who remained on the front foot.

Frankie McAvoy's attempt to match the visitors up saw Alan Browne replace Sean Maguire, with Browne and Daniel Johnson dropping behind Emil Riis in a 3-4-3.

That move didn't come off, the biggest impact from the bench being that of Ali McCann who again brought energy and a good use of the ball to the midfield.

Might a start come the Northern Ireland internationl's way at QPR?

The positive from the night was that North End could so easily have lost it but they got themselves a draw.

They need to find something a bit extra in their game to tip the balance of these drawn matches in their favour.

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