Stoke City 0 Preston North End 2 - Match report on a third successive away victory for the Lilywhites

Second-half goals from Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen gave Preston North End victory over Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.

Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 10:12 pm
Updated Wednesday, 12th February 2020, 10:19 pm
Alan Browne celebrates giving Preston the lead at Stoke

You wouldn't have seen that result coming at half-time, North End having been on the back foot for much of the first half against a lively Potters side.

In fact they were indebted to some superb defending from Ben Davies and a couple of saves from Declan Rudd for keeping them level going into the interval.

But the Lilywhites were a different proposition in the second half as they stepped up the tempo, scored twice in the space of 17 minutes and managed the game excellently after that.

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Tom Barkhuizen after scoring PNE's second goal at Stoke

It was a third away victory in a row and they are six unbeaten on their travels now.

Browne broke the deadlock in the 58th minute, scoring from close range after Daniel Johnson's corner wasn't dealt with by the home defence.

The skipper had moments earlier returned to the pitch after having treatment on an ankle injury.

Barkhuizen scored from similar territory in the 75th minute to double the advantage, sending the 1,002 travelling PNE fans wild.

Preston winger Scott Sinclair in action against Stoke

His goal came after a cross from substitute Paul Gallagher who had only been on a matter of moments.

They then saw out the game impressively, ending Stoke's six-game unbeaten home record.

The North End starting XI was unchanged from last Saturday's win at Wigan, the one change in the squad being Mathew Hudson replacing Connor Ripley as sub keeper.

Stoke were on top for much of the first half, PNE have plenty of defending to do against their hosts.

Preston midfielder Alan Browne challenges Stoke defender James Chester

That said, a pass from Scott Sinclair played Sean Maguire in to the right of goal in the 12th minute, keeper Jack Butland diving at his feet to block.

But the flag went up for offside against Maguire.

Davies made some vital blocks as Stoke's pressure began to build, the centre-half clearing very well under pressure from Tyrese Campbell as the home striker tried to get on the end of a James McClean cross.

In the 26th minute, Sam Clucas drove a low shot hard and powerful on target from McClean's cut back, Davies blocking it in the six-yard box.

Declan Rudd pulled off a fine save two minutes later, diving to his right to glove away Campbell's curling shot.

As the ball looped up, Joe Allen headed it goalwards but Rudd was up off the floor to hold comfortably.

Rudd pushed a far post header from James Chester behind in the 34th minute, Tommy Smith's cross from the right having travelled across the box to find him.

Three minutes before half-time there was a half chance for North End, Johnson's corner from the right finding Andrew Hughes in the middle but he sent a header over the bar.

Stoke went close 10 minutes into the second, Campbell given space in the box to meet a knock down, turn and shoot just wide.

But less than two minutes later, Preston went up the other end and scored with their first effort on target.

They forced a corner on the right, one which Johnson delivered left-footed into the goalmouth.

The ball hit Davies as he rose in the air, it dropping at the feet of Browne who fired into the net from six yards.

Tempers flared soon after, Pearson preventing a free-kick being taken quickly by Stoke.

McClean reacted by barging Pearson in the back after taking a two-step run-up, prompting a furious reaction from the PNE midfielder.

Both were booked by referee John Brooks, McClean looking the bigger sinner of the pair.

In the 71st minute, Darnell Fisher played Barkhuizen into space down the right channel, the winger skipping inside and hitting a shot which Butland saved at the near post.

Barkhuizen was not to be denied four minutes though, as he got North End's second goal.

Gallagher, just on as a substitute for Sinclair, sent over a corner from the right which was cleared out of the box.

The loose ball was picked up by Pearson who slipped a pass behind the Stoke defence for Gallagher to chase.

He took it to the byline and stood up a cross which Davies challenged for in the air.

It dropped down and Barkhuizen was first there to knock it home from close range for his 11th goal of the season.

Late on, Rudd saved bravely at the feet of Campbell, taking a knock on the head for his troubles.

Stoke: Butland, Smith, Batth, Chester, Martin Indi (Verlinden 80, Gregory 86), Clucas, Allen, Ince, Powell, McClean (Vokes 66), Campbell. Subs (not used): Cousins, Thompson, Collins, Davies.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Bauer, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Browne, Barkhuizen, Johnson, Sinclair (Gallagher 74), Maguire (Nugent 57). Subs (not used): Clarke, Harrop, Rafferty, Stockley, Hudson.

Referee: John Brooks (Leicestershire)

Attendance: 20,418 (1,002 PNE)