Memory match: Leeds 4 PNE 6
When it comes to finding a classic meeting between Leeds and Preston, the start and finish point has to be that astonishing clash at Elland Road in September 2010.
North End winning 6-4 is only part of the story – what added to the drama was that the Lancastrians trailed 4-1 in the first half.
It was a comeback of some magnitude, the celebrations among the 1,000 travelling fans in the away end living long in their memories.
During a recent look back at his time with PNE, striker Iain Hume described the night as ‘bonkers’.
Hume was on target with the sixth goal but the big hero was Jon Parkin.
‘The Beast’ hit a hat-trick in his native Yorkshire to make the headlines.
Who was in charge of Leeds at the time?
None other than Simon Grayson, who will venture back there on Saturday as Preston manager in pursuit of the three points needed to keep their play-off push on track.
To call it a 10-goal thriller would not quite give the game justice.
It was utterly mad, North End actually taking an early lead before Leeds hit four goals in 24 first-half minutes to seemingly put the points in the bag.
Parkin struck in the fourth minute, seizing on an error from United goalkeeper Shane Higgs.
He fumbled a cross from Keith Treacy and Parkin was on hand to force the ball over the line from close range.
It began going wrong for PNE in the 15th minute, a cross from George McCarthy met by Luciano Becchio who headed past keeper Andrew Lonergan from eight yards.
Another McCarthy centre led to Leeds’ second goal five minutes later, the visitors the authors of their own misfortune.
Sean St Ledger moved to clear the cross but succeeded only in heading the ball to Alex Bruce, who nodded in.
Leeds’ third goal came when a Davide Somma shot looped off Callum Davidson and into the net, Lloyd Sam having found the striker with a low cross.
It looked all over in the 39th minute, Somma cutting into the box and firing into the bottom corner.
North End quickly pulled a goal back, Parkin collecting a pass from Paul Coutts and powering into the box before shooting home.
At the time, it just looked like a consolation but things were to change dramatically in the second half. Nine minutes after the interval, the visitors got it back to 4-3, Treacy’s corner from the right flying straight into the net despite the best efforts of Somma on the line.
PNE levelled soon after, Coutts tripped by Max Gradel to win a penalty.
Davidson stepped-up to hammer the spot-kick high into the net to silence all but a small corner of Elland Road.
The momentum was with North End and they were to take full advantage. In the 64th minute, Parkin collected Davidson’s long ball forward on the edge of the box, turned and lashed a shot past Higgs into the net.
Amazingly, Preston were not finished there, making it 6-4 with 11 minutes left. Billy Jones dropped a cross over the top of the Leeds defence, Hume stealing unmarked into the box to meet it and sent a header arcing over the back-pedalling keeper.
Leeds still had time to hit the post through a free-kick from Bradley Johnson.
Preston manager Darren Ferguson described the game as ‘amazing’ while Grayson conducted a lengthy inquest in the dressing room.