Stoke City 0-2 Preston North End: Will Keane strikes twice to send Lilywhites top

Will Keane's second-half double helped Preston North End win at Stoke City to make it four Championship wins on the bounce and send them top of the Championship.

The summer signing from Wigan took his tally to four for the season after two assists by half-time substitute Duane Holmes, following a tight first period.

Stoke's defeat was their first at the Bet365 Stadium this season after four straight victories.

A hard-fought first half was short on chances, Preston going closest from a frantic scramble after Andrew Hughes had robbed Ki-Jana Hoever and fired the ball into a packed goalmouth.

The stalemate was broken by the half-time replacement of Mads Frokjaer by USA international Holmes, who made an instant impact.

A minute after the restart, Holmes made a smart run down the channel and teed up Keane for a chance that the Preston top scorer fired wide.

Four minutes later Holmes skipped past Wouter Burger and was brought down, Keane smashing his spot-kick straight down the middle of the goal before celebrating with the away fans behind that net.

Preston wrapped up the win on 57 minutes as Holmes got the better of Ben Wilmot from a cute Brad Potts pass and laid the ball into the path of Keane for his second.

Stoke fought to get back in the game but Freddie Woodman denied Tyrese Campbell from their best opportunity.

Stoke manager Alex Neil told BBC Radio Stoke:

"I always felt the first goal would be vitally important because Preston are well-renowned for how defensively solid they are.

"We were going to have to move the ball quickly and well, which I didn't think we did at the start.

"Whether or not it's a penalty I'm not quite sure. Our lads are adamant it was a dive. If that is the case it's extremely disappointing.

"My immediate emotion is disappointment but it was Wouter Burger's first league game, [Mehdi] Leris' first league game, [Lynden Gooch's first minutes on the pitch for the club, Jun-ho Bae's first minutes, [Nikola] Jojic's first minutes in the league, so there's huge amounts of change.

"There's a lot of churn within the squad in general."

Preston manager Ryan Lowe told BBC Radio Lancashire:

"The performance was fantastic. Defensively we were solid and resolute and we knew we could create some chances as well.

"They're a good team with some good players and have spent a lot of money but what we've got at the moment is a real togetherness, and the lads are taking on instruction very well.

On second goal: "It was a fantastic pass [from Brad Potts]. We asked Duane [Holmes] when he came on in the second half to drive at people, Mads wasn't driving at people. He was disappointed to be off the team but those are the decisions we have to make, and he goes on and basically sets it up to win the game 2-0.

"Pottsy has got that real eagerness and hunger to do well, and has been fantastic ever since he came to the building.

"I always have belief. I have to pull the reins on myself sometimes. We'll enjoy the moment of being on top of the league, why wouldn't you? But we know it's going to get harder because people want to beat us and knock us off there."