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Match Reports

Stoke City 0 Preston North End 2

12 February 2020

Goals from Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen gave Preston North End their third consecutive away win with a 2-0 success against Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.

Goals from Alan Browne and Tom Barkhuizen gave Preston North End their third consecutive away win with a 2-0 success against Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium.
 
Browne gave the greens the lead from just outside the six yard box just before the hour mark and from almost the same spot Barkhuizen doubled the advantage with his 11th of the season with 15 minutes left.
 
Both managers had stuck with their winning sides from the previous games, with just one change on the bench for the Lilywhites, Mathew Hudson replacing the ill Connor Ripley.
 
And the visitors started the half very brightly, confidently zipping the ball around and trying to probe for space in and around the Potters penalty area, without testing Jack Butland in the goal.
 
But it was his opposite number at the other end who was needed in the latter part of the half, with two fine saves from Declan Rudd.
 
The first came on 27 minutes, denying Tyrese Campbell’s curling effort from 20 yards to the right of the penalty area, before recovering quickly to comfortably catch home skipper Joe Allen’s follow up header.
 
And seven minutes later the PNE No.1 was again in top form to keep out James Chester’s header from Tommy Smith’s free kick, diving to palm the ball out from the top right corner of his goal.
 
But it was North End who took the lead just before the hour mark.
Alan Browne had been struggling after turning an ankle, but the Irishman was the goalscorer. Daniel Johnson won a corner on the right, in front of the 1,000-plus away fans, and Ben Davies headed the No.11’s ball down for Browne to smash under Chester and Butland into the middle of the goal.
Just after the goal James McClean, who should have been sent off at Deepdale earlier in the season after a shocking incident with Darnell Fisher, somehow avoided a red card for what could only be described as an assault on Ben Pearson – referee John Brooks somehow only awarding a yellow and Pearo also booked for reacting and the Stoke winger was unsurprisingly substituted very soon after!
 
With less than 20 minutes left Butland made a fine save to prevent it being 2-0 as Barkhuizen broke onto Fisher’s ball inside the left back and checked inside before unleashing a left foot drive on target, but straight at the England goalkeeper who blocked and then grabbed the rebound.
 
But it was two when on 75 minutes Barkhuizen did it again! Paul Gallagher had just come on and delivered a corner that was headed out as far as Pearson, who played it back to Gallagher to deliver again into the box for Davies to provide his second assist of the night, heading down for the No.29 to smash home from the same spot Browne was earlier and the Lilywhites managed the remainder of the game comfortably to make it another important win.
 
Stoke City line-up: Butland, Allen (c), Batth, Ince, McClean (Vokes, 66), Chester, Smith, Martins Indi (Verlinden, 80 (Gregory, 87)), Clucas, Powell, Campbell. Subs not used: Davies, Cousins, Thompson, Collins.
 
PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Hughes, Pearson, Bauer, Davies, Barkhuizen, Johnson, Maguire (Nugent, 57), Browne, Sinclair (Gallagher, 74). Subs not used: Hudson, Clarke, Harrop, Rafferty, Stockley.
 
Attendance: 20,418 (1,002 PNE fans)
 
Referee: Mr J Brooks

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