Stoke and Preston were unable to find the breakthrough as they played out a goalless draw at the Bet365 Stadium.
Both sides struck the woodwork with Stoke defender Harry Souttar and Preston counterpart Andrew Hughes going close after the break, but in the end the spoils were shared.
The Potters enjoyed the best of the first-half chances with Daniel Iverson saving well to keep out Josh Tymon in a one-on-one and a near own goal by Ben Whiteman.
The visitors came closest in the second half with Ched Evans and Tom Barkhuizen going close, with the best chance coming when Hughes hit the outside of the post with a sweetly hit free-kick.
Stoke played the final four minutes a man light after Soutter was dismissed for a professional foul on Alan Browne.
Openings were at a premium inside the opening 15 minutes as both sides effectively cancelled each other out.
Sam Clucas turned down a good shooting chance after 17 minutes with the hosts guilty of overplaying before Tommy Smith drilled a powerful shot from distance over as Stoke started to step it up.
Evans had a goal ruled out for North End after 21 minutes for a foul in the build up, before Browne curled an effort off-target three minutes later.
Tymon was then denied with only Iverson to beat, before he fired the rebound into the side-netting.
Ryan Ledson drilled a long-range effort wide as the game began to open up and Iverson beat away an effort from Nick Powell after the defence stood off.
The Preston keeper then got down well to prevent Whiteman turning the ball into his own net after 41 minutes.
John Obi Mikel was unable to keep a long-range volley down after a corner fell kindly a minute later as the first-half finished goalless.
Stoke almost broke the deadlock immediately after half-time though when Souttar headed against the top of the crossbar from a Clucas cross.
Hughes drilled a 25-yard free-kick straight into the wall and Evans headed over after meeting a Barkhuizen cross before Stoke responded with Souttar heading wide after beating his man at the back post.
Preston came agonisingly close to opening the scoring soon after that Souttar effort when Hughes hit the outside of the post with a low free-kick.
Steven Fletcher had a header chalked out for offside after 74 minutes as both sides continued to push for the opener, with Stoke goalkeeper Adam Davies getting down well to keep out Barkhuizen’s well-struck long-range volley.
Souttar was sent off with four minutes to go for a professional foul after he pulled back Browne on the edge of the box after he had got clean through, but Preston could not take advantage.