Ben Whiteman’s delightful equaliser secured Preston a 1-1 draw against Stoke at Deepdale – their fifth successive stalemate in the Championship.
Stoke had raced into an early lead when a cross from the lively Josh Tymon found Nick Powell, who nodded home inside the far post for his fourth goal of the season.
Moments later wing-back Tommy Smith unleashed a piledriver which Preston keeper Daniel Iversen was forced to tip over the bar.
Maybe Preston were struggling to pick the Potters out in their green shirts but they were slow to settle with just a shot which went wide from Emil Riis all they could muster in the early stages.
Roared on by the fervent travelling support, City were slicker in the heavy showers and they should have been two to the good.
But Iversen kept his side in the game with an extraordinary save, in a similar manner to another big Danish keeper who made a name for himself not too far away at Old Trafford by staying big in a one-on-one situation.
That is exactly what the Preston keeper did when Powell seemed certain to score, getting his left hand to make a seemingly impossible save and turn it away for a corner.
That inspired the hosts and when Josh Earl won a central free-kick on the edge of the penalty area, Whiteman stepped up to curl an exquisite equaliser into the top-left corner to ensure the sides went in level at the break.
In a bright opening to the second half, Preston’s Ryan Ledson fired over from the edge of the area after good work from skipper Daniel Johnson.
Not long after Greg Cunningham also went close with a long-ranger.
Apart from Stoke’s first half-hour domination, it was a largely even affair with the slick passing of the Potters matched by the high press North End adopted after the interval.
But the visitors created the best opportunities. Once again Preston had Iverson to be thankful for, saving at close range from Tymon after he pounced on a loose ball in the six-yard box.
The hosts suddenly looked happy to take the point, inviting the speedier City onto them.
Tymon needed no invitation, crossing for new substitute Sam Surridge to side-foot his volley just wide.
That chance led to nerves in the Preston backline and Sepp van den Berg and Iverson came close to conceding in comical fashion after a mix-up nearly let the lively Tymon in on goal.
But for all their industry at both ends of the 90 minutes, Stoke could not fashion a winner.
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