Alex Neil wheeled the tombola and came out with a 5-3-2 formation this week with Sinclair and Birkhuizen asked to play in wing back roles in an attempt to get the better of visitors Stoke.
For the first twenty minutes Preston had the better of the possession. It doesn't seem to matter what formation Neil chooses the outcome is often the same - much possession and no end product. North End rarely troubled the Stoke goal but equally Preston looked comfortable.
The game changed when Barkhuizen and Fox went in for a loose ball. It was a genuine 50/50 challenge but Barkhuizen slipped as he got to the ball. His feet were not high and it wasn't two footed but the inexperienced referee gave a straight red card for the Preston man. Everyone seemed stunned.
Stoke took the lead before the break when the Preston defence was unlocked. Gregory was found in the box in acres of space to tap home. Preston struggle to come from behind with eleven men so it was always going to be difficult.
After the break Stoke had the majority of the possession but failed to convert. Fletcher hit the bar when he should have done better. Other chances were wasted.
Preston threw a bit of caution to the wind late on but the closest effort was a Stockley header which was easily saved. North End have started the season with one point from three games. Today the referee had a major influence on the outcome of the game but Preston's form over revent months will be a concern for those watchign remotely.