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Preston North End vs Stoke City. Sky Bet Championship.

Deepdale.

Preston North End 0

  • T Barkhuizen (sent off 22nd minute)

Stoke City 1

  • L Gregory (39th minute)

Preston 0-1 Stoke: Lee Gregory hits winner for Potters

Report and highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash at Deepdale

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Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Preston and Stoke.

Lee Gregory's first-half goal was enough for Stoke to secure their first win of the Championship season at 10-man Preston.

The Potters were on the back foot throughout the first half before Tom Barkhuizen's red card turned the tide of the game.

Gregory gave the visitors the lead before the break and, despite late pressure from the hosts, they were able to hold on.

Stoke manager Michael O'Neill made five changes to his side while Preston's Alex Neil brought in Jordan Storey and Jayden Stockley.

Image: Lee Gregory scored the winner for Preston

The introduction of the latter into the line-up almost proved to be a masterstroke from the Lilywhites boss, with the striker going close twice in the opening 10 minutes.

The home side began on top and after Alan Browne's free-kick was deflected over, Stockley volleyed wide when unmarked before a dangerous header was hooked away by the Stoke defence.

Referee Matt Donohue then waved away a penalty claim for Preston following a coming together between Browne and Jon Obi Mikel in the box and the man in the middle was back in the thick of the action in the game's first big talking point after 22 minutes.

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Barkhuizen went in heavy on defender Morgan Fox and Donohue judged the tackle to have been a dangerous one, quickly producing a straight red card.

Steven Fletcher had glanced a header wide prior to the sending off but Stoke had done little to trouble the Lilywhites' backline in the first period.

That was until five minutes before the break when they took the lead with their first real chance of the game.

Tashan Oakley-Boothe found Mikel in the box and he slid an inviting ball across the Preston six-yard box for Gregory to tap home unmarked at the back post.

O'Neill's side tried to kill Preston off early in the second half, with Gregory close to connecting with a cross from the right before James McClean drew a save from Declan Rudd.

Sam Clucas should have done better minutes later when he was denied by the feet of Rudd after a classy flick from Fletcher left the North End defence flat-footed, with Stoke looking the more likely to grab the next goal.

They should have grabbed a second 15 minutes from time as sloppy passing at the back saw the ball fall to Fletcher but he produced a rabona which clipped the top of the crossbar.

Preston began to put the pressure on late on, with a flurry of corners and balls into the box but a tame header from Stockley was all the 10-man Lilywhites could muster.

What the managers said...

Preston's Alex Neil: "I wasn't sure about the red card. I've watched it back and he is running full speed, goes to slow down and loses his footing and slides into the lad, it was almost a slide tackle.

"I've been in that situation, you know you're more than likely going to see a red when that controversy surrounds one tackle. There will be grounds for an appeal. It changed the course of the game. We were getting crosses into the box, we were a good threat. Everything was set up how we hoped and we thought we could go on and win it."

Stoke's Michael O'Neill: "There are aspects that we need to improve on. We were wasteful in the second half and when you're against 10 men it is difficult at times because teams commit bodies forward and you have to deal with long balls.

"It was important for us to try and win the game on the back of last week's defeat [2-0 to Bristol City]. We have four points from three games now and if we can take three points next week it will have been a good start."

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