Stoke City beaten 0-2 by Preston smash-&-grab

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To say that this was a smash & grab performance by Preston would be an insult to North End. They never really looked threatened by Stoke, who blew their early half-chances, & then looked fragile in defence again. Preston love beating the struggling sides: that’s 5 in a row! Here’s how it unfolded in real time:
Apparently, it’s the same ref that refereed the Preston v Stoke game, a mid-week Wednesday game that City lost 1-3. Also, Stoke play the same 11 (& subs) as their last game. Mind you, ref Brooks also reffed the Boxing Day game, a mid-week Wednesday game (geddit?!) that City won 3-2. Also, half the players that played against North End in August aren’t even in the squad today. Stats prove nothing. But Stoke will need to stop one stat: Preston’s last 4 wins have been against fellow-strugglers (Luton, Charlton, Barnsley & Wigan). Stoke must NOT be the next victim.
3.15 A very thin crowd at the bet365, particularly in the Boothen. However, it is audibly louder in the OBI (south/away) end where Stoke’s singers seem to have congregated. Preston fans have the nerve to call it a library! Even the Boothen are stirred to make a noise now.
10.50 Stoke again are outnumbered at the back, but thankfully there’s an offside before any carnage of bodies coming together (Indi and Jack in particular).
19.15 McClean terrorising Preston down the left, and the crosses are starting to scare. Keeper Declan Rudd already having to paw away one lob from the right for a corner. Now he’s got to put up with a rampant Tyrese tearing at him! Phew!
23.50 After some great passing, Joe Allen is hacked down in what could easily have been a leg breaker.
23.33 Clucas’s shot deflected away for a throw after a smashing passing move, even McClean being the gentleman and laying off Sam instead of shooting.
26.40 Tyrese cuts in and almost curls one round Rudd. Chester expertly started the move, but no one will remember that!
36.01 Keeper Rudd’s clearances are getting worse and worse. Still saving well, but when his throws find the head of Joe Allen, you know something’s amiss.
37.40 Allen then goes in high on a tackle, and is lucky to be still on the pitch! Replays confirm this. Yellow card. Phew! Oh, Joe!
45+2 80%-Stoke 0 20%-Preston 0, but I’d settle for a point at this stage…
Attendance 20,418, but seems a lot less… Third lowest of the season, but only 202 more than the lowest of the season…
51.40 Chester & Batth get in each other’s way attacking a corner. Chester looking the most embarrassed. Stoke then caught 3 vs 3 at the back again. Get your priorities right.
53.40 Capt Browne comes off worse in a clash with McClean. What did he expect? Tyrese shoots just wide from the subsequent free kick.
56.15 47 year old David Nugent comes on as sub…
57.22 0-1 !! After Stoke give away an unnecessary corner, Capt Browne stabs the ball home.
60.44 Scrum time! After Powell is hacked down Preston players play on through him, McClean is yellowed for charging Ben Pearson (who’s also yellowed)… it’s lucky there are no reds!
65.44 McClean replaced by Vokes, but Tyrese has to coax McClean to leave the pitch quickly!
67.45 Great cross by Clucas for Vokes header, but straight at keeper. Meanwhile ref seems to have lost control as Tyrese is messed with!
74.26 0-2 !!! After a corner is not cleared Barkhuizen scores from almost the same place as Browne. Disaster for Stoke.
79.35 As Indi looks indignant at being penalised for pushing over Fisher, he is immediately replaced by Verlinden, who immediately tears down the whole pitch to win a corner.
83.45 Verlinden is up-ended, but does something you never see: he walks off the pitch for treatment to allow the game to go on!! He’s clearly hurt though. Gregory prepares to come on, as 10 man Stoke terrorise Preston.
89.22 Batth decides to try and clear himself & ends up getting a yellow card. A pass to Jack would have been better.
90+6 Ends Stoke 0 Preston 2 – which is why many would have settled for a point at half time…