Football: Gallagher and Smile; Preston 0 Stoke 1 Paul Steals It for Stoke

The Mirror (London, England), September 17, 2005 | Go to article overview

Football: Gallagher and Smile; Preston 0 Stoke 1 Paul Steals It for Stoke


Byline: By ALAN NIXON

Freddie Flintoff has been offered a ticket for life to Deepdale after being given the freedom of Preston for his Ashes heroics.

But on this form England's new favourite son would be better off concentrating on his other privileges, like a pub crawl of the city. Even grazing sheep would be a superior plan.

For the fourth Championship game running Billy Davies's boys failed to score at home. In fact they haven't won at Deepdale in six matches.

This humdrum night was at the other end of the entertainment scale to the Test series and even local legend Flintoff would struggle to put a smile on the place right now.

Stoke sneaked away with a scarcely-deserved win when Paul Gallagher took clinical advantage of a messed-up free-kick from Graham Alexander.

Winger Martin Kolar raced down the left after Alexander had given the ball away and cut the ball back for Gallagher to slot in sweetly from the edge of the box.

It was an identical strike to the Scottish marksman's winner at Hull just 72 hours earlier and in truth was of such quality that it was too good for such a second-rate game.

The prize on offer for the winner was fourth place, but that is immensely flattering on this evidence. If either finish in fourth it will be a surprise.

Stoke are trying to play passing football under Dutch coach Johan Boskamp and they were more than a match for Preston. …

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