Stoke-top of the table against third from bottom Preston- found themselves 2-0 down just after the half hour mark,Chaplow (22,31) getting both goals for the home side.Stoke had plenty of chances themselves but were unable to convert.Ryan Shawcross hit the post with one effort,and headed wide with another.Shortly before half time Ricardo Fuller was upended by Chilvers in the penalty area.The referee refused the penalty appeal from Stoke,and for good measure gave Fuller a talking to.Plenty of chances then but no finish from Stoke.
Just after the restart Delap should have scored,but squared the ball to Lawrence who also failed to cash in almost trying to walk the ball into the Preston net.Either player could have scored with a firm shot, and with just one man covering the goal line. On 53 minutes Lonergan saved well from Ricardo Fuller one on one.Three minutes from time he repeated the feat pushing Fuller's shot from 6 yards around the post and away to safety.
Throughout the match the Stoke defence was strangely out of sorts with Ryan Shawcross uncharacteristically shakey.Another worrying aspect of the game was that Leon Cort was injured,and taken off on a stretcher,with every indication that it might be a serious long term problem.Wilkinson,back from his recent hernia operation took his place at the centre of the defence.
Stoke racked up the bookings,Lawrence moving onto 9,Whelan 10,so increasingly the squad is threatened with decimation not only by injury but also by suspension.
Referee Oliver really did not seem to be up to speed throughout the game.Certainly he did Stoke no favours,maybe not a 'homer',but he offered Stoke little protection against a Preston side determined to take no prisoners.
Not Stoke's night then, with enough chances to have won the game.Hopefully they can get this game out of their system before they take on QPR away.The Potters bounced back from the Charlton disappointment...no reason why they should not bounce back from this evening of frustration.