Preston North End 1 Stoke City 1 match report: Ben Whiteman's goal earns PNE a fifth successive Championship draw
Ben Whiteman's free-kick earned Preston North End a share of the spoils with Stoke City at Deepdale.
It was a fifth draw in a row in the Championship for Frankie McAvoy's men and one they had to be satisfied with as they weren't great on the night.
Stoke took an early lead through Nick Powell who pulled away from Greg Cunningham at the far post to head home.
North End were indebted to a fine save from Daniel Iversen at 1-0, the goalkeeper getting a hand to Powell's shot when through on goal.
The equaliser came seven minutes before half-time, Whiteman finding the roof of the net with a free-kick from the edge of the 'D'.
In the second half the play became scrappy, Stoke looking the more threatening of the sides.
Iversen saved well again, this time from Josh Tymon, to keep the scoreline level.
This is the first time since October 2005 that PNE have drawn five league games on the bounce.
Cunningham replacing the injured Andrew Hughes had been the only change to the PNE starting XI, with Alan Browne and Liam Lindsay returning to the bench.
North End were rocked on their heels when Stoke took a sixth minute lead,.
They just hadn't got going when Tymon sent over a cross from the left, Powell pulling away from Cunningham at the far post to guide a header back across goal and past the dive of Iversen.
But for Iversen the Potters would have doubled their lead four minutes later, the Dane tipping a 20-yard shot from Tommy Smith over the bar.
PNE's first chance of the contest didn't come until the 17th minute, Whiteman's pass finding Emil Riis down the right hand side of the box, Riis driving a low shot across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
A big moment in the first half came as the half-hour mark approached, a shot from Mario Vrancic blocked by Patrick Bauer but the ball rolled into Powell's path in the box,.
Powell just had to pick his spot past Iversen but the PNE keeper reacted superbly to get down and glove the Stoke man's low shot past the post.
North End's equaliser came in the 38th minute, Josh Earl's run in field from the left halted by a foul by Romaine Sawyers just outside the 'D' and bang central.
Whiteman and Ryan Ledson stood over it, Whiteman stepping up and lifting the free-kick over the wall and into the roof of the net.
With their tails up after the goal, Ledson shot over the bar after being found by Daniel Johnson's pass.
Another chance fell Ledson's way three minutes before half-time, Riis' long throw from the right having been headed out of the box.
It fell to Ledson 25 yards out, his shot going straight through to Potters goalkeeper Adam Davies.
PNE had a couple of shots in quick succession early in the second half, those of differing quality.
Ledson lifted a first-time shot from the edge of the box high over the bar after Johnson's ball in had found him.
A couple of minutes later, Cunningham let fly with a drive from 25 yards which travelled inches wide of the far post.
Iversen pulled off another fine save in the 68th minute, blocking Tymon's close-range shot after the Stoke man had stepped across the six-yard box to work his way into a shooting position.
The keeper had a far easier task just after that to hold a header from Sam Clucas after the substitute had met Tymon's cross from the left.
North End had introduced Browne and McCann off the bench within a few minutes of each other, Maguire and Whiteman the men to make way.
Josh Murphy was then to join them, replacing Ledson.
Browne's arrival saw McAvoy match Stoke up, going 3-4-3 with Browne and Johnson playing behind Riis. Did it work? Not really.
Another Stoke chance saw Sam Surridge open his body up to meet a Tymon cross on the volley, the sub getting his angles wrong and the effort going wide of the far post.
PNE: Iversen, Storey, Bauer, Cunningham, Van den Berg, Whiteman (McCann 68), Ledson (Murphy 77), Earl, Johnson, Maguire (Browne 63), Riis. Subs (not used): Lindsay, Sinclair, Potts, Rdd.
Stoke: Davies, Ostigard, Souttar, Wilmot, Smith, Thompson, Vrancic (Clucas 70), Tymon, Sawyers, Powell, Brown (Surridge 76). Subs (not used): Batth, Doughty, Duhaney, Ince, Bursik.
Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire)
Attendance: 10,930 (1,570 away)
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