Stoke City 0 Preston North End 2 - match report as Lilywhites win on the road for the second week running

PNE boss Alex Neil celebrates Alan Browne's goal against StokePNE boss Alex Neil celebrates Alan Browne's goal against Stoke
PNE boss Alex Neil celebrates Alan Browne's goal against Stoke
Goals from Alan Browne and Brad Potts gave Preston North End their first victory at Stoke City for more than 20 years.

North End's last win on Potters territory had come on Boxing Day 1998 when the bet365 Stadium was known as the Britannia Stadium.

While visits since had not been many because of the home side being in the Premier League, it was still a good bogey to end.

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It was a deserved three points for North End were were strong throughout the contest, one played in rain and a swirling wind.

Preston striker Jayden Stockley tracks Stoke defender Moritz BauerPreston striker Jayden Stockley tracks Stoke defender Moritz Bauer
Preston striker Jayden Stockley tracks Stoke defender Moritz Bauer

They moved the ball well going forward and defended solidly, the clean sheet a welcome one.

Browne showed fine composure to fire Preston in front of the 20th minute, shifting the ball from one foot to another to shoot home from just inside the box after Darnell Fisher's effort had been been blocked.

January arrival Potts wrapped-up victory 10 minutes from time, racing clear on to a Sean Maguire through ball to score.

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There was a heart in the month moment for Potts late on though, when his trip on Peter Etebo gave away a penalty.

But North End were saved an anxious finish when Declan Rudd pushed Sam Clucas's penalty against the bar.

This was their second away victory on the bounce and extended their unbeaten run to a third match.

North End's starting XI was not surprisingly unchanged from the 4-1 win at Queens Park Rangers the week before.

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Josh Earl returned to the bench after suspension and Louis Moult was initially named among the substitutes only to pull-up with an injury in the warm-up, that seeing Paul Huntington take his place.

In front of 2,041 of their supporters who had travelled down the M6 to the Potteries, the Lilywhites took the game to their hosts early on.

They pressed high, Browne leading the pressure on Stoke's back three whenever they had possession.

It was the Irishman who gave Preston a 20th minute lead.

Fisher got the ball on the right and cut into the box, his left foot shot blocked by a Stoke defender.

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The ball broke Browne's way just inside the box, he shifted it on to his left foot to sell a dummy to his marker and fired low into the bottom corner.

Five minutes later skipper Paul Gallagher making his 250th PNE appearance, slid a free-kick down the right hand side of the box.

Sean Maguire spun off to meet it but from a narrow angle, fired straight into Jack Butland's gloves.

North End had to soak up some pressure after that to get safely through to half-time but there no real threat to Rudd's goal.

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Eight minutes into the second half, Sam Clucas looked certain to score when a low ball across the Preston box found him at the far post.

But his close-range shot was superbly blocked on the line by Ben Davies.

In the 58th minute North End made their first substitution, Tom Barkhuizen replacing Jayden Stockley - a move which pushed Maguire into the middle after starting on the left.

Just after that change, Browne had a shot from the edge of the box which caught a deflection and looped over the bar for a corner.

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Good play by Maguire saw him roll his man down the inside right channel and send over a low cross which a defender just managed to nick away from Browne in front of goal.

Daniel Johnson replaced the limping Gallagher in the 74th minute, the skipper having taken a bang on the knee a few minutes before.

As Stoke piled on the pressure, Andrew Hughes made a fine block to divert Etebo's shot behind for a corner.

Rudd back-pedalled to tip James McClean's hooked shot over the bar, before an almighty scramble in the goalmouth eventually saw a Preston defender clear off the line.

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North End counter-attacked from that piece of defending to score their second goal in the 80th minute.

Ben Pearson carried the ball up field and found Maguire with a pass, Maguire's through ball then playing Potts in.

The recent arrival from Barnsley showed good strength to hold off his man and get clear before finishing with a low shot past Butland.

However in the 90th minute, Potts conceded a penalty at the other end, Etebo getting the wrong side of him on the left hand side of the box.

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Clucas took the penalty but Rudd got enough on in to tip it up against the bar and away.

Stoke: Butland, Martins Indi, Shawcross, Williams, Bauer, Etebo, Allen, Clucas, Tymon (Sorensen 42), Afobe (Crouch 78), Campbell (McClean 61). Subs (not used): Ince, Bojan, Edwards, Federici.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Storey, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Johnson 74), Potts, Browne, Maguire, Stockley (Barkhuizen 58). Subs (not used): Earl, Huntington, Ledson, Nmecha, Ripley.

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)

Attendance: 25,053 (2,041 PNE)

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