The 6 talking points from Preston North End's win over Stoke City

Preston North End came from behind to beat Stoke City in the Championship on Monday, in Ryan Lowe's second game in charge as manager.
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Ben Wilmot has opened the scoring in style for the Potters before Brad Potts responded and Andrew Hughes' header found the back of the net, completing the turnaround.

Here are six talking points from the win:

1. Worth the wait.

Brad Potts celebrates his equaliser alongside Ched Evans.Brad Potts celebrates his equaliser alongside Ched Evans.
Brad Potts celebrates his equaliser alongside Ched Evans.

It had been a long time coming as PNE beat Stoke, not the win, the game.

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PNE fans had waited 23 days to see their side again after having had their first glimpse of Ryan Lowe' s new era against Barnsley in another 2-1 win.

Their game against Millwall was called of on December 18 and then followed two further cancellations due at PNE's request.

That meant no Boxing Day clash with Sheffield United and no trip to West Bromwich Albion on December 30.

Ben Whiteman, Andrew Hughes and Josh Earl celebrate Hughes' winning goal.Ben Whiteman, Andrew Hughes and Josh Earl celebrate Hughes' winning goal.
Ben Whiteman, Andrew Hughes and Josh Earl celebrate Hughes' winning goal.

With so much going on in between the two games for most people, it felt even longer than the three weeks it took to see the Lilywhites back in action.

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They were treated to a fine game though, with three wonderful goals. The first half was well contested though it brought little in the way of chances for either side but once the game opened up it was an enjoyable afternoon, even for any neutrals that may have been watching.

2. Straight from the highlight reel.

A 2-1 win at Stoke does not give the impression that there was anything particularly special about the game but that is far from the truth.

A PNE fan celebrates his side's win.A PNE fan celebrates his side's win.
A PNE fan celebrates his side's win.

In fact, we probably saw Stoke's goal of the season, a contender from PNE and a superbly executed header to claim the win.

Ben Wilmot will likely never hit another so sweetly in his career. The centre back stepped forward from the right side of defence, his position for the day, and as the ball was bobbling out in front of him hit a rocket on the half volley.

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It flew into the top corner and gave Daniel Iversen no chance in the PNE net. It was a full 30 yards out and there was even time midway to its destination for onlookers to think of how good a strike it was before it hit the net.

It was a special strike, and counted for absolutely nothing, unfortunately for him.

Brad Potts' goal was also some strike. From Daniel Johnson's cross from the left, Potts, also at right back on the day, came inside from the right and unleashed a scissor kick volley past Adam Davies before he could even see it.

It sparked scenes in the away end which Potts joined in with as he jumped over the barrier.

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Hughes' header was less flashy but no less expert. He rose highest in the area and at the top of his jump timed the movement of his head perfectly to steer the ball in the corner of the net. In terms of technique, it was spot on.

Though Stoke's Bet365 Stadium is famed for its difficulty and a more robust style, we were treated to three well-crafted and technically brilliant goals.

3. Brad Potts

A scapegoat that has unfairly come in for lots of criticism in recent times, Brad Potts was restored to the starting line up on Monday.

It was only his third start all season in the league, starting away at Huddersfield Town in August and then at Nottingham Forest at the beginning of November.

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He has been a divisive figure at times as fans have argued over his quality and even went as far as to boo him at the City Ground.

Fast forward two months and he is in the crowd celebrating with adoring fans after scoring a thumping volley to level the game.

There has never been a doubt about his commitment or effort, known as a racehorse around Euxton, you know exactly what you'll get form the no.44 - running, and lots of it.

In an unfamiliar position he applied himself admirably and was rewarded with a goal for his efforts, both on the pitch that day and off it for the past few months to maintain his professionalism despite outside influences.

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Booing him was not acceptable and he has responded excellently, he did not need to prove himself to those within the dressing room and has shown in the past he can impact games.

Hopefully we now see that more regularly once again, following his second goal at Stoke for PNE, and those lung-bursting runs return too.

4. Back to back wins.

You cannot say fairer than playing two games and winning both and that is exactly what Ryan Lowe has done as he starts life as PNE manager.

It is the third time this season that North End have recorded back to back wins and finding consistency is key for Lowe.

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The Lilywhites have been patchy since their return to the second tier, this season it has been their undoing. Being unable to string a run of good results together has left them off the pace when it comes to the top half and the play-off places.

Back to back wins is a great start and there are of course more games to come to see if this can become a consistent run. There are also two monkeys already off Lowe's back - his first home win and his first away win, both won at the first attempts.

5. A sell out.

As mentioned earlier, PNE fans were treated to three brilliant goals on the day but the players were also treated to a sell out away end.

There were just over 1,600 Lilywhites in attendance, and could have been more had the allocation been more, and they sung their heart out throughout.

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The connection between the fans and the playing staff is growing. It is a relationship that Ryan Lowe wants to see flourish, he went out of his way to clap them before the game, waved at their request during and got them going in celebration after the 90.

Two wins will not solve all but there is a clear intent to bridge a gap between fans and those that are pitchside or that cross the white line.

It was also the first 'big occasion' that PNE have succeeded in this season, having faltered in previous games where there have been sell outs or it has been a derby.

It is hopefully a good sign of things to come and though it will not last forever, and there will be defeats thrown in there to test resolves, it is certainly enjoyable at the moment.

6. Chalk and cheese.

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From a sold out away end that backed the team all the way to a game behind closed doors in a soulless empty away stadium.

That is the situation ahead of Sunday's FA Cup clash with Cardiff City. It is a huge shame that games in Wales are having to be played behind closed doors but that is just the way it is.

North End fans can watch the game on TV thanks to Welsh coverage but it will not be the same.

It would be good to see PNE go all out for the game, with no midweek matches either side of the clash, and to do all they can to be in the draw for the next round.

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But having been made to wait 23 days for a game, then denied access, the home game against Birmingham on January 15 is one to target for North End fans.

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