John Roper's verdict on PNE's win against Leeds

A great second-half fightback saw Preston North End come from a goal down to take all three points with a 3-1 victory against Leeds United at Deepdale.

Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 11:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th April 2018, 11:16 am
Sean Maguire watches his header go into the net to give PNE the lead against Leeds

It looked like the same old story for North End when Kemar Roofe put Leeds one up in the 13th minute.

But three strikes in the second half from Paul Gallagher (pen), Sean Maguire and Alan Browne saw Alex Neil's boys shake off the the set of poor results and gave the boys a huge boost ahead of Saturdays trip to the capital to face QPR.

This wasn't a game that exploded with excitement but for 45 minutes at least, we saw some of the old North End counter attacking and three expertly dispatched goals to boot.

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Tom Barkhuizen challenges Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell

It wasn't the cup tie atmosphere inside Deepdale that we thought it might be based on the relevant positions of the clubs around two months ago.

An excellent away following of 3,550 boosted the crowd up to 14,188 on a night when Champions League distractions and a flat spot of form meant there were just 10,638 home fans inside Deepdale.

North End started well and could have been two up before Roofe met a cross from the right and fired past Declan Rudd.

The Lilywhites tried to counter and although we hit the post through Billy Bodin and had two or three other near misses we still looked brittle and the Peacocks had a couple of very good chances to extend their lead.

PNE manager Alex Neil

North End came out in the second period like they meant business and it wasn't long before the scores were level.

Just three minutes after the break Bodin went down inside the box in the inside right position and referee Lee Probert had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Gally took the penalty this time and made no mistake firing inside the right hand post.

Three minutes later we were in the lead when a corner saw Pontus Jannson on the floor but the referee played on and a superb cross from Gallagher was guided home from the head of Maguire.

Tom Barkhuizen challenges Leeds keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell

The game opened out and Rudd made a couple of good saves before Browne wrapped it up with eight minutes to go when he superbly headed home a hanging cross from Callum Robinson on the left flank and that was game, set and match to a very relived Preston crowd.

The other results in the section didn`t all go as we wished but we pulled one point back and the deficit to the team in sixth position is now five points with four games to play.

I thought it was a huge win on the night for the manager, the players and the spectators as North End have been looking jaded and brittle in the last few weeks particularly when things have gone against them.

There might yet still be time or it just might be too late for the play offs but one thing is for sure is that we must just keep winning and hope that there are just enough games left to produce what would almost be a modern day miracle by getting into the top six at the end of the season.

PNE manager Alex Neil