Let's put drop fears to bed as soon as possible - Preston supporter Tim Mercer

Preston’s visit to an empty stadium on the outskirts of Stoke marked the 100th league meeting between these two founder members and could not have been more different than those in that inaugural season.

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 10:34 am

For a start neither town had city status and so the hosts were simply known as Stoke FC and played in the heart of their community at the Victoria Ground.

The 0-0 draw was just about right over the 90 minutes in a quite dour game of two halves that edged us closer to securing our Championship status for another season.

In the first period, the Potters should have got their noses in front with some aggressive forward play down the flanks that they failed to capitalise on and that now included the almost mandatory quality save by Daniel Iverson. In my view the player of the season despite him only joining on loan in the January window.

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Ryan Ledson on the ball against Stoke

Getting to the break without conceding a goal was unconvincingly achieved. Whatever was said by Frankie McAvoy in the dressing room had a positive effect after the restart, with the visitors finally causing Stoke some concern by getting forward into far more threatening positions.

This only got better when Sean Maguire was brought as the Irish International made good use of his guile and low centre of gravity in holding-up play and turning defenders. Indeed, by the end of the match it felt like we could, and maybe should, have nicked it.

This included an Andrew Hughes free kick that struck the post and a foul on Alan Browne when through on goal that let to the late dismissal of a Stoke defender.

For me Browne is still not quite firing on all cylinders and missed another good chance after that, shooting across the goal and beyond the far post after breaking into space on the outside of the six-yard area.

Three points out of the last four games ought to be enough and so let’s just hope we can put that to bed on Tuesday night against another founder member, relegation-threatened Derby County.

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