Match report: Leeds United 3 Preston North End 0

PNE midfielder Alan Browne challenges with Liam CooperPNE midfielder Alan Browne challenges with Liam Cooper
PNE midfielder Alan Browne challenges with Liam Cooper
Preston North End slumped to their fourth Championship away defeat of the defeat - all without scoring a goal - with them well beaten by league leaders Leeds United at Elland Road.

The Lilywhites were very much second best in this contest and could have no complaints with the loss.

Bar a promising opening 10 minutes, they offered little threat in West Yorkshire and the home side could point to a number of other chances which should have been put away.

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It leaves North End winless in the league since the opening day of the season and they must be careful that losing does not become a habit.

Liam Cooper beats Declan Rudd and Daniel JohnsonLiam Cooper beats Declan Rudd and Daniel Johnson
Liam Cooper beats Declan Rudd and Daniel Johnson

Liam Cooper stooped to head Leeds in front in the 37th minute, either side of which Mateusz Klich got clear one-on-one only to miss the target.

The scoreline stayed that way until the 74th minute, that at least offering PNE the possibility of snatching a goal on the break.

In fact Callum Robinson had the ball in the net at 1-0 only to see his close-range finish flagged offside.

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But two goals in eight minutes from Tyler Roberts gave a truer reflection of the game, it a sorry visiting side which left the pitch.

Tom Barkhuizen tussles with Pontus JanssonTom Barkhuizen tussles with Pontus Jansson
Tom Barkhuizen tussles with Pontus Jansson

Alex Neil had made two changes to the starting XI and went for a switch of formation too, going back to a 4-2-3-1 after last Saturday's use of a 3-4-3.

Alan Browne came back surprisingly from a calf strain after a one-game absence, the other change seeing Josh Harrop come into the side - Paul Gallagher and Paul Huntington dropped down the bench.

Browne and Daniel Johnson played the holding roles in midfield, Harrop ahead of them in the support slot behind striker Louis Moult.

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North End looked bright in the opening 10 minutes, Robinson coming off the left to get the better of Luke Ayling and hit a curling shot which goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell dived to tip over the bar.

Peacock-Farrell was in action again soon after, this time making a more routine save low down to hold Johnson's effort from the edge of the box.

Leeds began to get up a head of steam after that early PNE burst, Ben Davies having to get in the way of a shot from Samuel Saiz to take it behind for a corner.

There was a let-off for the visitors when Jack Harrison's pass played Klich through on goal in the box but the midfielder put a low shot wide of the post.

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Ezgjan Alioski had the ball in the net after half-an-hour after getting behind the Preston back line when running on to a long ball forward, the flag having long gone up for offside.

You sensed a breakthrough wasn't long in coming and it came in the 37th minute, disappointingly from a set-piece.

Barry Douglas' corner from the right stayed quite low, Cooper to stooping to steer a header goalwards, Declan Rudd getting a hand to it by succeeding in only pushing it against the inside of the post and into the net it went.

You had to think that Rudd could have got a stronger hand to the ball, while Johnson might have done better on guard duty by the post.

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Klich got clear a second time in the 41st minute but this time lifted a shot over the bar with only Rudd to beat.

Two minutes before the interval, Alioski's powerful shot on the angle to the left of goal was well parried by Rudd at the near post, the Leeds man giving away a free-kick as he challenged to reach the rebound.

Inside the opening 40 seconds of the second half, Harrop tried his luck with a shot - slipping as he did - from 25 yards which dipped just over the bar.

North End had the ball in the net in the 57th minute, only to be denied by an offside flag.

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Tom Barkhuizen's pass gave Darnell Fisher the opening to run into the box and send over a low cross to the far post.

Robinson connected with it and his scuffed effort trickled over the line but the assistant flagged and the effort was ruled out.

Neil waited until the 71st minute to make his first substitution, Harrop making way for Brandon Barker.

The change had hardly had time to take effect when Leeds first hit the Preston woodwork and then scored their second goal.

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Harrison ran clear on to Saiz's cross field pass and hit a low shot against the foot of the post.

It was a warning which wasn't heeded as the home side increased their advantage in the 74th minute.

Roberts chased a long ball down the right channel into the box and lifted a shot over Rudd.

The teenager got his second and Leeds' third goal in the 82nd minute, it all a bit too easy.

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Klich collected a pass on the right hand side of the box, his chipped cross finding Roberts unmarked on the edge of the six-yard box to head home.

Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Ayling, Cooper, Jansson, Douglas, Phillips.,Klich (Forshaw 88), Saiz (Baker 90), Alioski, Harrison, Roberts (Dallas 85). Subs (not used): Pearce, Edmondson, Clarke, Blackman.

PNE: Rudd, Fisher, Clarke, Davies, Earl, Browne (Gallagher 79), Johnson, Barkhuizen, Harrop (Barker 71), Robinson, Moult (Nmecha 79). Subs (not used): Hughes, Burke, Huntington, Maxwell.

Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham)

Attendance: 27,729