Entertaining Evening Draw

It was always going to be a tough start to the season facing all three relegated clubs in the opening weeks of the season. After defeat to Swansea last week Preston put in an improved performance and will be disappointed not to take all three points against Stoke.

Paul Gallagher returned to the midfield in a holding role alongside Ben Pearson and the veteran was involved in the thick of the action especially during the first half.

Alan Browne was pushed into a more advanced role supporting Nmecha whilst Burke was given a start out on the left with Robinson starting on the opposite flank.

North End started well and took the game to their opponents. Robinson at the backpost headed a cross back across goal but just wide. There were other chances which Preston failed to convert before the deadlock was broken.

Whilst the game was scoreless Paul Gallagher's elbow connected with Joe Allen's face. In real time I didn't see the incident but did see Gallagher put up his hands immediately. The refereee didn't see the incident.

The Sky cameras caught the footage and it is possible that the incident will be referred. If it is adjudged to be deliberate then Gallagher could receive a three game ban. The midfielder has never been one for dirty tricks.

Ultimately, Allen went about the game trying to get revenge. He committed several fouls which on another day could have resulted in the midfielder being sent off.

The first goal then arrived when the referee adjudged that there was a handball in the box from a Stoke defender. From the stands the ball did hit the hand it was just a case of whether the defender could have done anything about it.

Gallagher smashed home the spot kick in the roof of the net to give Preston the lead. This was short lived and even though Stoke hadn't been much of an attacking threat they showed their quality.

A cross came in from the right and Preston were caught out at the back post with two attackers outnumbering the defence. Pieters controlled the ball and from the angle smashed home to equalise. It was sloppy defending from Preston but a great finish.

North End then re-took the lead on the stroke of half time. The ball was played into the box and Robinson inadvertenly diverted the ball to Burke who was free to smash home with his left foot.

After the break Preston were not threatened until Stoke made substitutes including Crouch coming on. Within minutes a corner was played in with the former international rising highest to head home.

Despite both teams pressing neither could find a winner and both had to settle for the point.