PNE 1 Leeds United 4
Four goals came in the 14 first half minutes, three to the visitors, giving North End an uphill battle. Kemar Roofe opened the scoring with a close range header, before Leeds’ advantage was doubled by Hadi Sacko.
Marnick Vermijl pulled one back with a drilled effort from Simon Makienok’s downward header, but Souleymane Doukara scored 14 minutes before the interval to put Garry Monk’s side 3-1 up at the break.
The Lilywhites came out brightly at the start of the second half, but minutes after returning to action after his ban Jermaine Beckford again saw red for clashing with Kyle Bartley, with Pablo Hernandez then adding a fourth late on.
With Aiden McGeady ruled out, Vermijl was the only change from the side that won at Bristol City in the last game before Christmas, but after a slow opening the visitors scored with their first shot on goal.
A Stuart Dallas free kick from the right hand side found centre half Pontus Jansson at the back post, who headed back towards the top right hand corner, only for the ball, which may have been going in to be nodded home from close range by Roofe.
The Lilywhites had a big chance to draw level at the half’s midway point as a Callum Robinson ball in from the left found Makienok, he tried to head back across to an unmarked Alan Browne six yards out, but only found the hands of Rob Green.
And two minutes later the visitors were two ahead. Hadi Sacko played a one-two with Roofe before marching through the North End defence and fired hard and high into the top left hand corner from 15 yards out.
Simon Grayson’s side were back in it when Vermijl smashed home from 15 yards out after ball in from Robinson and a head down by Makienok.
But it was soon 3-1, when on 31 minutes Doukara drove into the box and fired hard and low into the bottom left hand corner; deflecting off the post and Maxwell before going in.
Just before the hour mark Rob Green made a miraculous low stop to deny Alan Browne after another head down by Makienok from Robinson’s right wing cross, before the latter dragged a shot just wide.
Jermaine Beckford was on the pitch for three minutes and he was sent off for an apparent entanglement with Kyle Bartley, who was lucky to stay on himself, having already been booked!
North End tried in vain to get back into the game with ten men and with two minutes to go substitute Pablo Hernandez raced onto a through ball from fellow change Chris Wood and slid the ball calmly into the bottom left hand corner from 15 yards out.
PNE line-up: Maxwell, Baptiste, Cunningham, Pearson, Clarke (c), Huntington, Vermijl, Johnson (Doyle, 81), Makienok (Hugill, 66), Robinson (Beckford, 66), Browne. Subs not used: Lindegaard, Wright, Spurr, Pringle.
Leeds United line-up: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Roofe (Antonsson, 85), Doukara (Wood, 81), Dallas, Jansson, Phillips, Sacko (Hernandez, 54), Bridcutt (c), Berardi. Subs not used: Silvestri, Cooper, Vieira, Denton.
Attendance: 21,255 (Leeds United fan 5,551)
Referee: Mr J Simpson