Stoke City boss Alex Neil has shared his frustration at losing 1-0 to his former club Preston North End on Monday afternoon.

PNE started their 2023 with a trip to the Potteries, just as they did last year.

North End won that game 2-1, coming from a goal down to claim all three points to start 2022 in style.

History somewhat repeated itself as PNE once again won away at Stoke thanks to a dramatic late winner from Ched Evans.

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This wasn’t the most entertaining game of all time and neither side really hit top gear in what looked destined to be a 0-0 draw.

Evans continued his outstanding recent form though, heading home Alan Browne’s corner to send the travelling North End fans into delirium.

Starting the new year with three points is huge for Ryan Lowe, especially after three straight defeats heading into this game.

The result also means that Lowe has a win against former PNE boss Alex Neil on his record.

Lowe lost to Neil earlier this year but has hit back with a 1-0 win when he really needed it.

Neil has now spoken to the Stoke Sentinel about North End having been left frustrated with defeat to his former club.

Neil noted that ‘the problem’ with playing against PNE is that everyone is behind the ball and it’s very difficult to break them down.

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The Scot felt that Stoke needed to be better at moving from side to side and creating chances with cut-backs, as they were against PNE in October.

Neil added that North End only created two chances in the game – one was a long ball from goalkeeper Freddie Woodman and the other was Evans’ header from a corner, with Neil noting that PNE hardly carved Stoke open.

“It doesn’t help the team, obviously, because the lads have got to try to play,” said Neil. “The problem is that Preston sit everyone behind the ball so if you don’t work it across the back and open them up down the sides, you’re not going to create a chance. If you look at the chances we created, they are from switching the play from side to side and cut-backs. That’s how we scored against them last time as well and that’s normally how you’re going to get your goal. We had the chances there to take them and it would have changed the complexion of the game but we didn’t take them.”

“I’m disappointed that we lost a game we shouldn’t have lost. Preston have had two chances in the game; one was a punt from the goalkeeper which we misread and it goes over our heads. To be fair it’s a good strike from the lad and good save from Jack Bonham but it’s a punt from 70 yards, it’s not as if there is play involved in it and there was probably a foul on Harry Souttar. The second one is a header when the ball ends up in the back of the net,” he added.

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