Match report: PNE 3 Leeds United 1

Preston North End scored three second-half goals as they came from behind to beat Leeds United at Deepdale.

Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 10:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 10:16 am
Sean Maguire heads PNE's second goal

Paul Gallagher, Sean Maguire and Alan Browne found the net to end a run of three defeats, the win shaving a point off the gap between them and the play-offs - it is now five points.

The visitors had taken an early lead, Kemar Roofe netting in the 13th minute after meeting a Kalvin Phillips cross.

At that point a feeling of deja-vu swept over the North End fans in light of what had happened over the previous three matches.

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PNE skipper Tom Clarke slides in with a tackle

Billy Bodin hit the post with a shot in the first half as the hosts chased the game, it being a foul on Bodin which got them back into the contest three minutes after the interval.

The Wales international went down under a challenge from Vurnon Anita, Gallagher stepping-up to score the resulting penalty.

Three minutes later PNE had the lead as Maguire met a Gallagher cross to head home his 10th goal of the campaign.

An all-important third goal put the lid on the three points, Browne's header from a Callum Robinson cross finding the net.

PNE centre-back Paul Huntington tracks Caleb Ekuban

It was Alex Neil men's first win at home for more than a month and there remains a flicker of hope that they can make the top six although it still looks very unlikely.

The North End side had shown three changes to the one beaten at Reading, Tom Clarke, Gallagher and Maguire coming into the side with Darnell Fisher (injury), Robinson and Louis Moult dropping out.

Inside the first minute PNE had a sight of goal, Bodin's cross finding Gallagher in the box, his shot charged down by a defender with the ball punched behind for a corner by the Leeds goalkeeper.

Alan Browne nicked the ball in midfield to create another chance soon after, the midfielder carrying it to the edge of the box where he laid it off to Tom Barkhuizen, unfortunately the winger rushed his shot and curled it high over the bar.

Paul Gallagher celebrates after scoring a penalty

Leeds took the lead with their first real opening of the contest, it having its origins at a corner which the North End defence partly cleared out of the box.

Possession was picked up by Phillips who rode a challenge from Gallagher down the right and drilled over a low cross which Roofe hammered first-time into the roof of the net at the far post.

North End went after an equaliser, a 21st minute corner from Gallagher flicked on by Paul Huntington to Maguire at the far post who couldn't keep his header down and saw it travel over the bar.

The teams traded chances just after the half-hour mark, Declan Rudd diving to his right to push a low shot from Pablo Hernandez past the post.

PNE skipper Tom Clarke slides in with a tackle

After clearing the resulting corner, PNE swept up field with Barkhuizen finding a lot of room down the left channel.

His cross found Bodin on the right hand side of the box who cut inside on to his left foot and hit a low curling shot which hit the base of the far post.

Rudd got a glove to Caleb Ekuban's shot seven minutes before the interval.

North End equalised three minutes into the second half from the penalty spot, Bodin going down under Anita's challenge on the right side of the box.

Gallagher returned to penalty duties after a two-year absence and used his trademark routine - turning his back on the ball, walking to the edge of the area before spinning round and dispatching it right-footed past keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell.

Browne saw a 20-yard shot tipped over by Peacock-Farrell in the 51st minute, Bodin having rolled a corner out to him.

PNE centre-back Paul Huntington tracks Caleb Ekuban

The resulting set-piece was cleared out of the box, Gallagher collecting the ball on the right.

With Pontus Jansson on the floor after getting an injury defending the initial corner, Gallagher's superbly delivered cross was met by Maguire who guided a header past the keeper.

There followed a lengthy stoppage as Jansson received treatment before eventually being taken off, although he did not need the stretcher which had been brought on.

It needed a fine challenge from Ben Davies in the 62nd minute to keep the lead in tact, Gallagher's stray pass giving the ball away and allowing Ekuban to run into the box.

Davies got across and tackled, taking the ball off Ekuban's foot and behind for a corner.

North End were indebted to two saves from Rudd in quick succession, with him parrying a Hernandez shot at the near post in the 77th minute and then in the next passage of play, leaping to his right to tip away Ronaldo Vieria's shot from outside the box.

Josh Harrop and Robinson had joined the action from the bench by then, the two substitutes linking-up to set-up Preston's third goal with eight minutes left on the clock.

Harrop's pass found Robinson to the left of the box, his hanging cross to the near post met by Browne who rose to angle a fine header across the keeper.

Seven minutes of stoppage-time - added on for Jansson's injury - were seen out by North End, although Maguire did limp through most of it after pulling up.

PNE: Rudd, Clarke, Huntington, Davies, Cunningham, Pearson, Gallagher (Harrop 67), Bodin (Horgan 84), Browne, Barkhuizen (Robinson 76), Maguire. Subs (not used): Woods, Moult, Earl, Maxwell.

Leeds: Peacock-Farrell, Dallas, Jansson (Diaz 57), O'Connor, Anita, Vieira, Phillips, Hernandez, Roofe (Saiz 68), Ekuban, Grot (Alioski 68). Subs (not used): Lasogga, Nicell, Pearce, Lonergan.

Referee: Lee Probert (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 14,188 (3,550 away)

Paul Gallagher celebrates after scoring a penalty