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Match Reports

Leeds United 1 Preston North End 1

26 December 2019

A deflected 89th minute strike from Leeds United grabbed two points off the Lilywhites, despite Alan Browne’s superb first half opener at Elland Road.

The Irishman had converted after a superb team goal, started by a tackle from Sean Maguire – ten yards outside his own penalty area – mid-way through the first half, which was what the visitors deserved having dominated the first half.
But Stuart Dallas grabbed a point for the home side when his shot from the edge of the box deflected off substitute Ryan Ledson’s back and took it past Declan Rudd into the top right-hand corner.
Alex Neil had lost Patrick Bauer through illness before the game, but was able to recall Ben Davies and made two further changes, bringing Brad Potts and David Nugent in the side; who, as two of the front four, pressed their hosts high from the start and superbly to mean PNE were the dominant force for the first half hour.
Seven minutes in came the first real chance as Kiko Casillas brough down Browne outside the box – and was very lucky not to go into referee Darren Bond’s book – but the Spanish keeper was left stranded as Potts’ shot towards the unguarded net was blocked for the game’s first corner.
Just after the quarter hour mark, there was some great build up play with the ball played into Maguire just inside the box, he laid it off for Browne, who dragged his shot just wide of the left-hand post.
Chances kept coming the way of the green’s and Tom Barkhuizen’s cross from the left saw a flying Nugent inches away with a diving header from beating Casillas.
But the opener came on 22 minutes. Maguire won the ball with a superb track back and found Pearson, whom after a one-two with Potts, sent Barkhuizen away through the middle and he looked up and cleverly played it inside to Browne, who took the ball on with one touch and fired into the bottom right-hand corner with his left foot from the edge of the box with his second touch to silence the home crowd.
If North End dominated the first half, the West Yorkshire outfit had the better of the chances in the latter 45 minutes.
Eight minutes into the second period Dallas had a shot palmed away by Rudd for a corner after a swift throw down the left by Leeds and then on 65 minutes Ezgjan Alioski fired over the bar with an empty net after Helder Costa’s pull back from the right.
Rudd was again on hand to make a superb save from substitute Eddie Nketiah’s header from Helder Costa’s cross from the right on 66 minutes, before Alioski fired against post from 20 yards out with the rebound put behind by Andrew Hughes.
The pressure was being repelled superbly by North End, but with a minute left on the clock the home side grabbed a point. The Whites had put in a period of pressure and the ball was eventually worked out to Luke Ayling on the right side of the penalty area, he set the ball back for Northern Irishman Dallas, who was closed down by Ledson, but his shot came off the midfielder’s back and took it away from Rudd into the top right hand corner.
A frenetic six minutes of stoppage time saw North End with a brace of corners, looking to try and win the game, but it ended all-square.
Leeds United line-up: Casilla, Ayling, White, Cooper (c), Bamford (Nketiah, 64), Alioski, Dallas, Costa, Harrison, Phillips, Klich. Subs not used: Meslier, Douglas, Berardi, Struijk, Gotts, Stevens.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Clarke (c), Hughes, Pearson, Huntington, Davies, Barkhuizen (Harrop, 90), Browne, Nugent (Ledson 69), Potts, Maguire (Stockley, 90). Subs not used: Ripley, Gallagher, Storey, Bodin.
Attendance: 35,638 (801 PNE fans)
Referee: Mr D Bond

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