Point is a step in right direction for Preston in relegation fight, says supporter John Roper

A share of the spoils for Preston at Stoke with a 0-0 draw and probably a step in the right direction after the result last Saturday.

Sunday, 18th April 2021, 9:10 am
Updated Sunday, 18th April 2021, 9:12 am

Frankie McAvoy would probably have taken a point before the game but the way things panned out later on in the second half he will probably be regretting not taking all three. It was a gritty affair with plenty of stoppages and not really a good flow to the game.

North End were mediocre in the first half not keeping possession well and not really having any sort of impact against a solid Stoke City defence. It was a different story in the second half as once North End got settled down they started to open up the game and find those spaces in the Potters rearguard.

We just didn't have the finishing power to put one of our chances away and this is highlighted by the fact that we have only scored twice in the last four games.

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Ched Evans competes for the ball against Stoke

Interim head coach Frankie McAvoy made two changes to the side from the horrendous defeat at home to Brentford last week with Alan Browne and Greg Cunningham coming in to replace Liam Lindsay and Brad Potts. It was a scrappy opening 10 minutes or so with neither team being able to get their foot on the ball.

As the game settled down it was the home side who got into their stride first but still only had a couple of shots over the bar in the first twenty minutes . Alan Browne had a shot which went high and wide while at the other end Iversen made a great save when faced with a one on one.

The keeper saved well, again, from a twisting shot from Powell, who looked the most dangerous man on the pitch for the Potters. Ledson shot wide from just outside the box but in all honesty North End offered little up front in the first half and it was the home side who had looked the more likely to break the deadlock.

No changes for North End at half-time and the boss looking for a much better effort in the second half than in the first. The first real chance of the second period came seven minutes in when an Alan Browne free kick went straight into the wall. North End were playing much better now and Evans had a header that went wide after a good move down the right.

The game was littered with fouls and it was Ryan Ledson who saw yellow first. Soutter headed wide for Stoke but North End continued to pose a threat and a Hughes shot from a free kick hit the post. Fletcher had the ball in the net for Stoke but it was ruled offside.

Potts and Maguire replaced Riis and Evans and straight after Barkhuizen had a shot well saved. Alan Browne was then put through only to be felled, just outside the box, by Soutter who was shown a red but the resulting free kick came to nothing.

Ledson and Browne both shot wide late on but we could'`t find a way through and had to settle for a point.So North End edge their way away from the drop zone but with the way the results are going we probably do still need one win to be absolutely certain of not getting involved in the scramble right at the end of the season.

This certainly wasn't a game for the purists and if you were to have a bet on the outcome you would have probably backed 0-0 as the most likely score.

The shape of 3-4-1-2 seemed to work ok again but I thought we missed Liam Lindsay in the centre of the three with his calming influence of the defence. Once again we played our best football in the last quarter of the game with the home side tiring and Potts and Maguire running and chasing to hassle them along.

We are not quite home and dry yet, however we could put all those worries to bed by collecting the three points we need when Wayne Rooney’s relegation-threatened Derby County are the visitors to Deepdale on Tuesday evening.

The Rams are just four points above the drop zone and that could be cut even further this afternoon when Rotherham face Birmingham City.

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