Match ends, Stoke City 0, Preston North End 0.
Stoke defender Harry Souttar was sent off as the Potters were held to a dour goalless draw by Preston.
Souttar was shown the red card with three minutes remaining after bringing down North End's Alan Browne as he raced through on goal.
Earlier, Preston's Andrew Hughes went close to breaking the deadlock when his second-half free-kick struck the post.
Potters striker Steven Fletcher found the net soon afterwards after being found by Nick Powell, but the effort was disallowed for offside.
It was an afternoon to forget for Souttar, who missed chances to score before being dismissed.
He headed wide from crosses by Sam Clucas and Tommy Smith.
The visitors defended well and frustrated their opponents, whose play-off hopes faded some time ago.
And Browne might well have broken the deadlock had Souttar not fouled him in the incident that saw the Stoke man red-carded.
Stoke manager Michael O'Neill:
"We should have scored and didn't. We didn't get across people enough in the box and we needed to find something to go 1-0 up."Preston made it more difficult for us in the second half. We didn't cause them enough problems with the decisions we made."We lost the ball in bad areas and got picked off more by them. We gave away free-kicks on the edge of the box and gave them hope and belief."I'm disappointed not to see us take more from the game. It's frustrating to be held to a 0-0."Preston North End interim head coach Frankie McAvoy:
"We have four games to go and have to try to win as many of the games left as we can."There are still teams that can catch us if we don't win our games and we have to treat every game on its merit."We will not get sucked into how many points we need. We can't control what other teams do."We have control over the games we play and that is what we need to focus on."
- 12ChesterBooked at 53mins
- 36SouttarBooked at 87mins
- 22ClucasBooked at 67minsSubstituted forThompsonat 75'minutes
- 35TymonSubstituted forBatthat 89'minutes
- 21FletcherSubstituted forVokesat 79'minutes
- 44NortonSubstituted forBrownat 74'minutes
- 2van den Berg
- 18LedsonBooked at 62mins
- 26EvansSubstituted forPottsat 76'minutes
- 19Riis JakobsenSubstituted forMaguireat 76'minutes
- James Linington
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Stoke City 0, Preston North End 0.
Attempt saved. Brad Potts (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Tom Barkhuizen.
John Obi Mikel (Stoke City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Alan Browne (Preston North End).
Offside, Stoke City. Nick Powell tries a through ball, but Sam Vokes is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Ryan Ledson (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is too high following a set piece situation.
Foul by James Chester (Stoke City).
Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Stoke City. Danny Batth replaces Josh Tymon.
Attempt missed. Alan Browne (Preston North End) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Sepp van den Berg.
Attempt blocked. Alan Browne (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Harry Souttar (Stoke City) is shown the red card.
Foul by Harry Souttar (Stoke City).
Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Tommy Smith (Stoke City) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Sean Maguire (Preston North End).
Foul by Harry Souttar (Stoke City).
Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Offside, Preston North End. Ryan Ledson tries a through ball, but Sean Maguire is caught offside.