Leeds United 1 Preston North End 1 - Match report as a late equaliser denies Lilywhites victory at Elland Road

Preston North End were denied victory by a late Leeds United equaliser at Elland Road on Boxing Day.

Thursday, 26th December 2019, 7:23 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th December 2019, 7:24 pm
Preston players celebrate Alan Browne's opening goal against Leeds at Elland Road

The Lilywhites led from the 22nd minute when Alan Browne finished off a superb counter-attack which began a few yards outside their own box.

They had to absorb plenty of pressure in the second half as the home side chased an equaliser and as the clock ticked down, it looked like they were going to achieve a fine away victory.

But in the 89th minute, Stuart Dallas' shot from the edge of the box caught a deflection off PNE substitute Ryan Ledson and flew into the top corner.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The pressure had been growing, Declan Rudd making two fine saves and Ezgjan Alioski hitting the post.

But even bearing that in mind, it seemed harsh for PNE to be pegged back after such a resilient performance.

On the positive side, they would probably have taken a draw before kick-off and Browne's goal was their first away from home since November 3 and the first in open play on their travels since October 1.

The North End starting XI had shown three changes from the one which drew at Cardiff last Saturday.

Alan Browne is congratulated by David Nugent after giving Preston the lead at Leeds

David Nugent, Brad Potts and Ben Davies came into the side, with Patrick Bauer, Paul Gallagher and Billy Bodin dropping out.

Illness ruled Bauer out, with Gallagher and Bodin moving to the bench.

For centre-half Davies, this was his first game for more than a month since injuring his ankle at Derby.

PNE operated in their usual 4-2-3-1 shape, Browne partnering Ben Pearson in midfield with Potts playing as a pressing No.10 behind Nugent.

PNE striker David Nugent challenges with Leeds defender Ben White

Tom Barkhuizen switched to play down the left with Sean Maguire on the right.

Aside from an early shot from Patrick Bamford which deflected off Paul Huntington for a corner, North End got the game by the scruff of the neck and settled well.

Potts saw a shot deflected behind after Leeds keeper Kiko Casilla had raced out of his box to try and tidy up when Browne's tackle on Kalvin Phillips put the home side in trouble.

Barkhuizen's low angled shot from the left-hand corner of the box brought a diving save out of Casilla, then Browne shot wide after running on to a Maguire lay-off.

PNE midfielder Ben Pearson in the thick of the action against Leeds

North End went in front in the 22nd minute with a superb goal on the counter-attack.

Maguire's tackle on Mateusz Klich a few yards outside his own box started the ball rolling.

Barkuizen picked-up the loose ball and played it to Pearson who exchanged passes with Potts.

Pearson's fine low pass found Barkhuizen running through the middle, the winger slipping the ball to his left to play in Browne.

The Irishman's first touch gave him that bit of time to make the angle, his second touch was to roll a left-foot finish across Casilla into the far bottom corner.

Potts put a shot wide from the edge of the box before Leeds enjoyed a spell of pressure for the last 15 minutes of the first half.

That saw Luke Ayling diving a shot over the top of Rudd's bar, then Alioski headed over after meeting an Ayling cross.

Moments into the second half, Maguire drove forward after picking up a loose ball and fired over the bar from outside the box.

Barkhuizen had a shot deflected behind for a corner as PNE counter-attacked again

.At the other end in the 54th minute, Rudd got a strong glove to Stuart Dallas' shot at the near post to push it out.

As the hour-mark approached, Maguire ran on to Nugent's flick-on but lifted a first-time volley over the top.

Two good chances for the home side came and went in the space of 90 seconds.

When Andrew Hughes tried to shepherd the ball out of play on the left, Eddie Nketiah and Helder Costa combined to keep it in, Costa's cross falling to Alioski in the box who blazed over the bar.

Then Rudd got down superbly at the foot at the post to push substitute Nketiah's header behind.

North End's first change saw Ledson replace Nugent in the 69th minute, Maguire moving up front and Browne behind him with Ledson partnering Pearson.

Leeds hit the woodwork with 15 minutes to go, Alioski's shot from outside the box crashing back off the post.

They continued to up the pressure, Rudd saving superbly to deny Alioski from close quarters in the 88th minute.

But the keeper could do nothing to prevent Leeds equaliser 60 seconds or so later.

A cross from the left travelled across the box where it was collected by Ayling.

The right-back cut it back into the path of Dallas on the edge of the box whose shot clipped off Ledson and went into the top corner.

Leeds: Casilla, Ayling, Cooper, White, Alioski, Dallas, Phillips, Klich, Costa, Harrison, Bamford (Nketiah 63). Subs (not used): Douglas, Berardi, Struijk, Gotts, Stevens, Meslier.

PNE: Rudd, Clarke, Huntington, Davies, Hughes, Pearson, Browne, Maguire (Stockley 90), Potts, Barkhuizen (Harrop 90), Nugent (Ledson 69). Subs (not used): Gallagher, Storey, Bodin, Ripley.

Referee: Darren Bond (Wigan)

Attendance: 35,638 (801 PNE)