Preston North End Fans’ Panel: John Roper’s verdict

Darnell Fisher and Tom Barkhuizen celebrate after the final whistle
Darnell Fisher and Tom Barkhuizen celebrate after the final whistle

A second-minute penalty and the goal of the season so far saw North End move into round three of the Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win at Elland Road.

The win was achieved playing with ten men for over an hour when Ryan Ledson was sent off for a horror tackle just on the half-hour.

The sending off seemed to galvanise North End and although Leeds had plenty of the ball in the second half they could not find a way past a resolute PNE defence that held firm on the night.

The goals came at a good time for us being right at the start of the game and then just before half time much to the delight of almost 1,000 North End fans who gave the boys some excellent backing in a very healthy crowd of 18,652 in, what looked like, a half full Elland Road.

Preston made eight changes from the team that started at Derby on Saturday but we were not overawed by the occasion and took the game to Leeds straight from the first whistle.

Inside two minutes North End had a penalty when Moult was fouled and Daniel Johnson made no mistake from the spot sending the keeper the wrong way.

North End dominated early on but that was to change when Ledson went two-footed, knee high with a tackle and referee Harrington had no hesitation in dismissing the young Scouser.

Leeds searched for an equaliser but it was Preston who scored the second and final goal when Brandon Barker ran 70 yards with the ball before unleashing a thunderbolt of a shot to the goalkeepers left in what will surely be a contender for the goal of the season.

The travelling fans were expecting a long second half with North End being down to 10 men and Leeds making two half time subs.

We had reverted to 4-4-1 after the sending off and the two lines of four were proving extremely successful at keeping out the Peacocks who just could not find a way through.

It wasn’t all one-way though as North End countered well on the break and gave the home side a few hairy moments along the way in the second half.

With about 20 minutes left North End bought on Pearson and Browne in midfield and swapped Nmecha for Moult up front.

In tightened up the game and despite the referee playing eight minutes of added time North End held on to claimed their place in the round three draw on Thursday evening.

I think the most important aspect of the result was the reaffirming of belief and confidence in the side.

Leeds were quick to point out that the home side made nine changes from their previous game but we made eight so this second team nonsense can really be thrown out of the window.

There were many outstanding performances for North End on the evening but the man of the match goes to Josh Harrop who covered every blade of grass, closely followed by North End’s two centre-backs, Ben Davies and Jordan Storey, who I thought were superb on the night.

No league points won but the possibility of a glamour tie and a real confidence builder ahead of a big game on Saturday at Deepdale against Bolton.

Another performance like this one and Deepdale will be bouncing again.