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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 1 Stoke City 1

28 September 2021

Ben Whiteman’s stunning free-kick earned Preston North End a draw at home to Stoke City.

The Lilywhites had fallen behind within seven minutes as Nick Powell headed past Daniel Iversen, but Whiteman had his team level before half-time as he beat Adam Davies from a 20-yard dead ball.

Daniel Iversen then had to come up with a few big stops to make sure that his side could extend their unbeaten run to nine in all competitons.

Frankie McAvoy was forced into making a change after going the last five Championship games with the same starting XI, as Andrew Hughes missed out through a knock and Greg Cunningham slotted in at left centre half.

The visitors opened the scoring in the early stages, as Powell headed home on the end of Josh Tymon’s cross from the left, and the Potters nearly doubled their lead three minutes later when Iversen had to pull off a strong save to keep out Tommy Smith’s shot.

North End’s first chance of the game came around a quarter of an hour in, when Whiteman slotted the ball through for Emil Riis in the right of the area, but he could only send his low effort across goal and wide.

Stoke came very close to their second 28 minutes in when Bauer lost his balance and the ball fell kindly to Powell as a result in the area, he had just Iversen to beat but the Dane produced a fantastic stop with his left hand to deny him.

That save proved vital as North End drew level ten minutes later from a free-kick won just over 20 yards out by Josh Earl. Daniel Johnson and Whiteman stood over it, the latter took on the effort and expertly got it over the wall and into the back of the net.

PNE then had their tails up and Ryan Ledson tried his luck a couple of times before half-time to no avail, before again having a go 56 minutes in when Johnson pulled the ball back to him just outside the 18-yard box, and he curled his effort over the crossbar into the Town End.

Just moments later, the home side nearly put themselves in front in sensational fashion, with Cunningham taking aim from all of 35 yards, powering a left-footed effort just wide of the top right-hand corner.

On 67 minutes it was Stoke’s turn to go close and they would have had the lead were it not for another brilliant piece of goalkeeping by Iversen, who showed a strong left-hand to keep out Tymon from point blank range.

Sam Clucas, who came on in the 71st minute, was involved straight away and he was next to be thwarted by the Dane, this save a little more straight forward as his header went straight in his direction.

Both sides made attacking changes, with the likes of Josh Murphy coming on for PNE and Sam Surridge on for the visitors.

But neither the Lilywhites nor the Potters could find a winner late on, with North End forced to settle for a point and their fifth draw in succession in Championship action.

PNE starting line-up: Iversen; Storey, Bauer, Cunningham; van den Berg, Johnson, Whiteman (McCann, 69), Ledson (Murphy, 77), Earl; Maguire (Browne, 63), Riis. Subs: Rudd, Lindsay, Sinclair, Potts.

Subs not used: Rudd, Lindsay, Sinclair, Potts.

Stoke starting line-up: Davies; Ostigard, Souttar, Wilmot; Smith, Sawyers, Vrancic (Clucas, 71), Thompson; Powell, Brown (Surridge, 77). Subs: Bursik, Batth, Doughty, Duhaney, Ince.

Subs not used: Bursik, Batth, Doughty, Duhaney, Ince.

Attendance: 10,930 

Referee: Mr J Brooks


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