Fans’ Panel’s John Roper says: I like what I’ve seen so far from Ryan Lowe’s Preston North End

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Ryan Lowe’s first win on the road for North End made it two out of two for the new manager after having to wait 23 days for this second fixture following the win against Barnsley on December 11.

Preston were made to work hard for their victory against Michael O’Neill’s side and had to come from being one down to a wonder goal early in the second half.

Brad Potts and Andrew Hughes were the men on target for the boys in green, facilitating a win that sent the 1,603 travelling fans home with some renewed hope that all may not be lost this season.

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It was a dogged first half with both sides having elements of play but I thought the hosts just shaded a close first 45 minutes having the better chances.

Andrew Hughes heads the winner at StokeAndrew Hughes heads the winner at Stoke
Andrew Hughes heads the winner at Stoke

After the break it was a different story and even though Wilmot scored a thunderbolt just after the break, North End shaped the game away from the Potters and came away with an excellent victory

The manager made two changes from the Barnsley game with Ched Evans and Potts replacing Sean Maguire and Ali McCann.

Both teams took a while to settle and North End took a few minutes to get their shape and rhythm going, with Lowe adopting his 3-4-1-2 formation has he had done three weeks ago.

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North End then had a couple of half-chances through Whiteman and Evans and had a decent shout for a penalty turned down after 20 minutes for a foul on Alan Browne.

Stoke came back into the game and had a couple of chances themselves with Hughes having to do some last-gasp defending to clear one of the attempts.

To be honest neither team had particularly looked liked scoring and you got the impression that both managers were glad to get their respective sides in at half time and set up for the second half.

No changes for PNE at half-time with the game being tight it looked as though one goal -might be enough.

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With only a couple of minutes on the clock in the second half Stoke took the lead with the goal of the game.

Wilmot picked the ball up in midfield, ran forward and unleashed an absolute howitzer from 35 yards to give Iversen no chance whatsoever.

It shook North End for a few minutes but we got back on track and just before the hour mark we were level.

Daniel Johnson worked a ball from the inside left position over to Potts, who hit a fabulous scissors-kick into the net for the equaliser.

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The emotion on Potts’ face as he celebrated with the Preston fans was a sight to behold as he leapt into the away end and disappeared into the 1,600 travelling fans.

Stoke were going tired now and North End were on top and looking the most likely.

With just eight minutes left a Whiteman corner from the right found Hughes unmarked and one of North End’s unsung heroes headed home to clinch the three points for Ryan Lowe’s Super White Army.

So it’s six points out of six for the new man and this was certainly a game that will be remembered for a while, if only for a worldy against us and Potts’ reaction to his equalising goal.

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To be fair it was a rather cold day in Stoke, one of those January afternoon’s that it all to easy to forget, but for North End it was a great example of carrying on after adversity and believing in what the manager wants you to do.

Some really good performances all over the pitch from the boys in green.

I thought the three centre-backs looked solid and the wing-backs, helped by Brown and Johnson got forward at every opportunity.

It was a good performance, a great result and a testament to what Lowe has done in just a few short weeks.

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There is much still to be done, of course, and it maybe that we are expecting too much too soon.

Let’s just take one game at a time and see where it takes us.

There will be setbacks, of that I have no doubt, but I like what I have seen in the first two games and long may it continue.