Match report: Leeds United 0 PNE 0

Preston North End earned a battling point against Leeds United, playing the last 30 minutes with 10 men after Ben Pearson was sent-off.

Saturday, 12th August 2017, 10:23 pm
Updated Monday, 11th September 2017, 1:02 pm
Ben Pearson is sent-off for PNE at Leeds

Pearson was red carded in the 60th minute after pulling back Kalvin Phillips in midfield, that his second yellow card of the afternoon after a first-half foul on Eunan O'Kane.

But for more than half an hour, North End put up a green wall against wave-after-wave of Leeds attacks and came away with a deserved point.

In fact, in the 95th minute they nearly snatched all three when substitute Josh Harrop saw a shot hit the bar.

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Jordan Hugill challenges in the air

Chris Maxwell made three fine saves when his side were a man short.

The PNE goalkeeper came out on top in a one-on-one with Chris Wood, then produced a double save to deny Stuart Dallas and Pablo Hernandez.

Paul Huntington and Daniel Johnson at the final whistle

Until the sending-off, North End would have fancied themselves to win the game.

For an hour, they were comfortable on the ball and created the better chances in the game, certainly looking to have the edge of their hosts who looked nervous at times.

Alex Neil had made one change to the XI which had started the win over Sheffield Wednesday on the opening day, Jordan Hugill replacing Sean Maguire as the focal point of the attack.

Wearing their new green third kit for the first time, North End made a steady start and saw plenty of the ball.

Jordan Hugill challenges in the air

First-half chances were at a premium, Leeds winger Ezgjan Alioski dragging a shot wide after riding a couple of challenges.

Tom Barkhuizen had PNE's first decent opportunity, his snap shot from 25 yards flying just wide of the target.

Pearson's first caution was for a 31st minute sliding challenge on O'Kane, one which saw him win the ball but referee Scott Duncan didn't like the follow through.

North End looked the more likely side in the final quarter of an hour of the first half, their best chance coming in the 34th minute when Hugill wrestled possession off Pontus Jansson on the byline to the left of goal.

Paul Huntington and Daniel Johnson at the final whistle

Hugill cut the ball back into the path of Alan Browne whose shot from 10 yards was blocked by Liam Cooper.

Callum Robinson put two shots from the edge of the box too high when a touch more composure was required on his part, the second of those chances falling his way after Barkhuizen had led a breakaway down the right-wing, his over-hit cross turned into Robinson's path by Hugill.

Two minutes into the second half, Hugill took the ball off Cooper with a strong tackle in front of the dug-outs.

He bore down the right and into the box, squaring the ball inside to Browne - the midfielder's tame shot saved low down at the near post by keeper Fleix Wieldwald.

Barkhuizen saw a low shot drift well wide, a direct run and exchanges of passes with Pearson having taken him into a shooting position.

In the 53rd minute, Daniel Johnson's free-kick from the left wing was headed clear as far as Tommy Spurr, the centre-back's shot hitting a Leeds player and out for a corner.

Johnson delivered the flag-kick long beyond the back post to Greg Cunningham, the skipper getting his angles wrong and sending a header wide.

Cunningham had the ball in the net soon after that, volleying in a Johnson free-kick but the flag went up for offside.

North End went down to 10 men on the hour mark, Pearson pulling back Phillips after losing the ball to him in midfield.

A second yellow card was followed by red from Mr Duncan's pocket.

It left PNE to play in a 4-4-1 system, Harrop joining the action in the 65th minute to replace a limping Barkhuizen.

From then on it was a backs against the wall job for North End, putting nine men behind the ball with Hugill ploughing a lone furrow up front.

That was a job they did superbly, bar for a couple of scares.

With 72 minutes on the clock, Wood get clear of the Preston back line to meet a through ball, Maxwell denying him with a fine save in a one-on-one situation.

Substitute Samuel Saiz put a header straight into the keeper's gloves in the 80th minute after Vieria's long ball had sailed over the top of the defence.

Three minutes later, Maxwell pulled off a double save, gloving header Dallas' far post header and then diving to parry Hernandez's follow-up drive.

For all Leeds' possession and attacks, it was North End who almost snatched victory in the 95th minute.

Johnson had already seen a low cross travel across the face of the goal without anyone able to get a touch when the visitors broke down the left channel through Harrop.

The substitute cut into the box and hit a shot which caught a deflection and hit the bar.

Leeds: Wiedwald, Ayling, Jansson, Cooper, Borthwick-Jackson (Dallas 82), Phillips (Vieira 61), O'Kane, Roofe (Saiz 61), Hernandez, Alioski, Wood. Subs (not used): Anita, Shaughnessy, Ekuban, Peacock-Farrell,

PNE: Maxwell, Fisher, Huntington, Spurr, Cunningham, Pearson, Browne (Gallagher 90), Robinson, Johnson, Barkhuizen (Harrop 65), Hugill. Subs (Not used): Vermijl, Davies, Maguire, Horgan, Hudson.

Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)

Attendance: 32,880