'Sunday league' - What Ryan Lowe said straight after Preston North End's ugly loss to Stoke City

Ryan LoweRyan Lowe
Ryan Lowe | CameraSport - Rich Linley
Steven Schumacher's side ran out 1-2 winners at Deepdale

Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe was left lamenting 'Sunday League' conceded goals in Saturday's 1-2 defeat to Stoke City.

The Potters nicked all three points in the 87th minute at Deepdale, with Luke McNally scoring a scruffy 87th minute winner - to take Stoke out of the relegation zone. North End had levelled through substitute Milutin Osmajic, four minutes after Andrew Hughes had put the ball into his own net - from a dangerous Lynden Gooch delivery.

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Post-match, Lowe reflected: "I thought it was flat. We were not at the races today and nowhere near the levels we've been at. The attitude and commitment was there, we just lacked in certain areas - with and without the ball we were not as good as we've been. It just summed it up, to score that own goal. We have been excellent at blocking that front space and we didn't do that. It hit Hughesy on the chest and went in.

"We managed to find a way back into the game - a great header from Milly. You are then thinking 'go on then...'. We thought we would've had the freshness, with them playing Tuesday night. To be done by a free-kick - which isn't a free-kick, but I am not going to go on about it because we need to do better from the cross. We get done at the back stick and then Ali is in a position to kick it and kicks it right at their player and it goes in. The two goals are Sunday League, really, to give away - but credit where credit is due, to Stoke.

"They kept fighting, working hard, wanted to get on the front foot, cause problems - and they found a way. But, we've got to learn that if it's not sticking at the top end, we need to make sure we just come away. We had a point in the bag and then to lose it late on is disappointing. They came and nullified what we've been doing, didn't they? It's the first time Schuey has changed shape all season. He locked on, man-for-man and played a box at times. We've then got to find a way, receive the ball in different areas and get our wing-backs higher - which we didn't.

"We need to be a bit braver, in that sense. Second half, it opened up a bit more because we said one or two words at half time. Our goal is a good, well worked goal. Their one, they got down the line and put it across the box - we've got to clear that. The second one, I don't know if we're too deep but Jordan gets done at the back stick and it's dropped down. So, they are individual errors - but there's no criticism of them. They haven't cost us the game, it's just that we need to do better in those situations.

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"I will stick with the lads, they don't mean to make individual errors. They (Stoke) put their bodies on the line and fought hard, but we didn't fight as hard as we should've - because we needed to do a little bit more. I thought, all round, it was flat first half really. Listen, they came in their droves didn't they and their fans were loud. The two teams just cancelled each other out in the first half and then we made one or two tweaks. The game opened up and there were some tired legs; I am just disappointed with our goals. When I look at them back, I'm thinking 'wow' - we need to make sure we are better than that, because we have been solid and resolute.

That's been a weakness today that has cost us. It has not been for the lack of effort; we've just lacked quality, in certain areas, to get us a point or three points. Hopefully it can give us a kick up the backside - the main priority now is to get back on the bike and start pedalling. Have we been undone by moments of quality from Stoke? No. Have we been undone by not doing the basics right? Yeah. We will get back to the drawing board. We've got a week now to prepare for the next one and we'll get the confidence back up."

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