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Match Reports

Preston North End 1 Leeds United 1

22 October 2019

The two sides shared the points in a thrilling Roses battle at Deepdale, with the visitors grabbing a late equaliser.

Tom Barkhuizen had converted Sean Maguire’s cross after a swift counter-attack to give the Lilywhites the lead with just over 15 minutes left, but the Peacocks’ substitute Eddie Nketiah equalised with a header with just three minutes to go.
It was a fascinating tactical battle between two of the league’s most inventive managers, with the first half seeing the teams cancel each other out.
PNE boss Alex Neil had made three changes to the side that lost their first game in nine at Reading, with Joe Rafferty returning at left back and Alan Browne and Brad Potts coming in; Andrew Hughes, Paul Gallagher and Maguire all dropping to the bench.
Neither goalkeeper was really called into action in the opening 45 minutes. There was ten corners, seven of them going to the visitors, but the centre halves of each side were dominant; Patrick Bamford going closest to forcing a save, dragging a back post effort wide of the post.
However, things started to open up a little in the latter period. North End gave a prelude to the goal with a swift counter on 56 minutes. Tom Barkhuizen made a great run down the left hand side, went past Luke Ayling and pulled the ball back to the edge of the six-yard box, but Potts’ run couldn’t quite get him up to the cross, as it flashed across and away.
Bamford had the best of the chances for Leeds at the half’s mid-point. Mateusz Klich found space on the right and then pulled the ball back from the byline for the Leeds No.9, but he sliced his effort well wide.
The deadlock was broken on 74 minutes. Browne collected the ball just outside his own penalty area and threaded a pass down the right-hand side, freeing Irish international team-mate Maguire, who had only been on the pitch 90 seconds.
He drove forward and waited to perfectly time his ball in, taking a kind nick off defender Ben White and running nicely for the run of Barkhuizen at the back post, who finished superbly into the empty net, to raise the roof of the Alan Kelly Town End where it was been scored.
The goal saw the visitors take more risks and that left space again for Maguire in the last ten minutes as he again got free down the right, got in the box to a tight angle and fired a vicious low shot that Kiko Casilla saved with his legs. From the resulting Browne corner, Barkhuizen was inches away from a second with a flashing header beating the former Real Madrid goalkeeper, but also the cross bar.
But the visitors fired in the sucker punch with three minutes left. Am initial free kick from Kalvin Phillips went into the wall, with the follow up well blocked by a combination of Darnell Fisher and Browne on the edge of the penalty area, however, the ricochet from the block went straight to Jack Harrison and the on loan Manchester City winger saw the overload at the back post, with three United players to one PNE defender and he found Arsenal loanee Nketiah, who looped a header  into the net, with Patrick Bauer almost able to get back and keep it out, only to help it into the roof of the net.
Both sides went for the win in the remaining time, with Potts flicking a left wing Browne free kick narrowly past the right-hand upright in the third minute of stoppage time and then in the very last seconds Bielsa’s men thought they should have had a penalty when Tyler Roberts went down, but if either had grabbed a goal it would probably have been unfair on the other and the two teams had to settle for a hard-earned point.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Rafferty, Pearson, Bauer, Davies, Potts, Browne, Nugent (Maguire, 72), Johnson, Barkhuizen (Green, 90). Subs not used: Ripley, Gallagher, Hughes, Ledson, Stockley.
Leeds United line-up: Casilla, Ayling (c), White, Bamford (Nketiah, 78), Alioski, Dallas, Costa, Harrison, Phillips, Berardi (Roberts, 77), Klich. Subs not used: Miazek, Douglas, Gotts, Davis, J Clarke.
Attendance: 18,275 (5,648 Leeds United fans)
Referee: Mr K Friend

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