Alan Browne felt the preparation in training leading up to the visit to Stoke City paid off as the Lilywhites left the Bet365 Stadium with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory.
The Irishman opened the scoring for the away side inside 20 minutes, a deserved strike with North End having controlled the majority of the first half, and the Lilywhites extended their advantage late on through Brad Potts.
Speaking to iFollow PNE post-match, the midfielder admitted it was difficult knowing how Stoke were likely to set up with new gaffer Nathan Jones still experimenting with his side, but added that PNE boss Alex Neil had the visitors well drilled at the back to cope with the Potters’ threats.
“We carried the performance from last weekend to this weekend and I think it was probably a fair result in the end,” said the Republic of Ireland international.
“They had their spells where they were on top but overall, we created the better chances and took them when they came along.
“It’s obviously tough to play against when a new manager comes in; you don’t know what formation or style he wants to play, but the gaffer went through various formations and various tactics and it paid off in the end because he really does work hard on the opposition and helps as best he can to prepare us for who we’re playing against. Thankfully it paid off that we did work on the different shapes because they changed throughout the game.
“I think the boys did excellent at the back. Davo’s [Ben Davies] one [clearance off the line in the second half] was at a crucial time in the game and the second I think was Hughesy [Andrew Hughes] actually, so again at an important time in the game because if they score then we’re on the back foot and up against it.
“For them to defend as well as they did today gave us every chance and obviously towards the end, Dec made one of the most important saves of the season for us. For everybody to be chipping in defensively is really good for us.”
Browne hit double figures for the season with his strike to break the deadlock, that effort also taking him past his tally of nine for last season, making it a pleasing first visit all round to the Potters’ home stadium for the midfielder.
“It was pleasing for me to get to double figures now and I think he [Darnell Fisher] probably should’ve played me in originally! I was screaming for it on the edge of the box but thankfully I managed to get a shot away and thankfully for me it fell in the back of the net.
“It was my first time here and the home fans are kind of on top of you and they’re loud, but I think our away support was fantastic, it was the same last week and hopefully it will be the same for the remainder of the season.
“They matched them vocally and it does make a difference, especially at the latter stages in games and you need a bit of momentum and they help you over the line. It was great to see them travel in their numbers.”
On the move for Brad Potts’ late strike, the 23-year-old said that quick transition from defence to attack epitomised the energy PNE have within their ranks.
“I think we’ve got legs all over the park in the right areas. It was a well worked move and it just seemed to open them up, that obviously comes from Pearo’s driving run and the intelligence of Seani to make the run and and slide him in at the right time. Take nothing away from the finish, it’s an excellent finish at an important time of the game and that allowed us to be more composed on the ball and play our own game from there.”
Watch the full interview with Alan by clicking on the video above.