Preston North End vs Huddersfield Town. Sky Bet Championship.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between Preston and Huddersfield at Deepdale as late goals from Jordan Rhodes and Kaine Kesler Hayden saw the Terriers earn a comeback win.
Monday 26 December 2022 18:54, UK
Kaine Kesler-Hayden scored a late winner as bottom-of-the-table Huddersfield fought from behind to triumph 2-1 at promotion-chasing Preston.
Greg Cunningham had given the hosts a first-half lead, having been belatedly awarded the goal after Ched Evans initially claimed the header at the near post.
Jordan Rhodes registered his 96th goal for the Terriers before striking the post as the visitors battled back after the break, with Kesler-Hayden completing the turnaround by tapping home in the 85th minute.
Ben Woodburn led Preston's attack in the opening exchanges, twice firing over from long range either side of a sending a header narrowly wide.
Preston were incensed after David Kasumu put in a rash challenge on Ryan Ledson, who escaped with just a yellow card from referee Geoff Eltringham in the 14th minute.
Cunningham was also on the receiving end of a heavy challenge, this time from Terriers captain Jonathan Hogg who also went into the book before the Preston defender put the home side up on 35 minutes.
Evans and Cunningham competed for the ball in the air with the former wheeling away in celebration before Cunningham was eventually awarded the goal - his second against Huddersfield in as many games.
Rhodes proved to be the Terriers' most creative and physical presence, rounding Preston keeper Freddie Woodman with five minutes of the first half to go, shooting narrowly wide before the offside flag was raised.
Preston twice looked nailed on to extend their advantage in the first half of the second half, with Woodburn through on goal but only able to fire agonisingly wide.
Two minutes later, North End had the ball in the back of the net thanks to Woodburn, but his shot was unleashed after the flag was raised for offside.
Woodburn's missed opportunities proved costly as former Blackburn player Rhodes pulled Huddersfield level in the 76th minute with a strike from the six-yard box after fantastic work on the right from substitute Brahima Diarra.
Rhodes was denied a goal by the post as he and Diarra linked up again, the striker's effort bouncing off the far post to save the blushes of a scrambling Woodman.
But Kesler-Hayden put Huddersfield ahead with five minutes remaining, casually tapping home a cross from Jack Rudoni with the Preston defence seemingly leaving each other to deal with the danger.
Mark Fotheringham's side continued to push for a goal to make certain of their first win in four games, but settled for a 2-1 triumph that moved them four points from safety.
The result was an eighth defeat of the season for Preston and meant they missed the chance to move into the play-off places.
Preston's Ryan Lowe: "We've got to get back to basics a little bit now and we've got to start passing the ball the right way.
"Not lumping it forward just because Ched (Evans) is in the team. If we're going to get it up to Ched, we have got to get a bit of quality and stop lumping things in the air. That'll be our main focus the next few days."
Huddersfield's Mark Fotheringham: "It's been a tough season, we know the club is in transition, there's no funds available there in January, the chairman wants to sell the club. We've got a real siege mentality and we've become really close as a group due to that. It's very hard as a young manager in my first job to not have that chance to grow and help the squad in January, but I always believed in this group from day one.
"I knew that when I got injured players back, we would look more rounded as a group and I'm really pleased for them (after Monday's result). But I keep telling them after these types of results that you don't get too high when you're winning and you don't get too low when you lose because there is still a good half of the season to go."