Preston 3-1 Leeds: North End earn comeback win
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 10/04/18 11:05pm
Preston kept their slim play-off chances alive after coming from behind to secure a 3-1 victory at home to Leeds thanks to three second-half goals.
Two goals in three minutes turned the match on its head, Paul Gallagher's penalty and Sean Maguire's header cancelling out Kemar Roofe's opener for Leeds, before Alan Browne sealed the three points.
It ends a run of three straight defeats for Preston and keeps them within five points of the play-offs with four games remaining. Leeds are without a win on the road since Boxing Day and slip down to 14th in the table.
Preston started brightly and created two chances inside the first five minutes. The first fell to Gallagher 12 yards out but his strike was deflected wide.
Alan Browne then surged forward from midfield and squared the ball to Tom Barkhuizen, who curled an effort over from 18 yards.
But it was Leeds who were in front after 13 minutes. Kalvin Phillips drove into the area and fired a low ball across the face of goal to Roofe, who fired into the roof of the net from six yards.
Preston striker Maguire had a couple of chances to draw his side level from corners, heading over at the far post before glancing a header wide from Billy Bodin's whipped delivery.
Leeds were denied a second on 38 minutes by Declan Rudd as the Preston keeper kept out Caleb Ekuban's fierce strike at his near post.
Just four minutes after the break, Preston were level from the penalty spot. Wales winger Billy Bodin burst into the area and was brought down by Vurnon Anita. Gallagher stepped up and slotted the equaliser into the bottom corner.
Preston seized on their momentum to go in front just three minutes later. Gallagher's delivery from the right picked out Maguire, who beat keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell to the ball and nodded in from eight yards.
Alex Neil's side were dominating and went in pursuit of a third as left-back Greg Cunningham struck from the edge of the area, but Peacock-Farrell pushed the effort away.
Leeds, who have now won just two of their last 18 league matches, threatened with a swift counter-attack after 77 minutes, working the ball to Pablo Hernandez down the left, but his strike was easily pushed away by Rudd.
The Preston keeper was more seriously tested a minute later by a fierce 25-yard strike from Ronaldo Vieira, but he palmed the effort away from danger.
The Lilywhites sealed the win eight minutes from time through midfielder Browne, who did brilliantly to head Callum Robinson's cross into the far corner at the near post.
Alex Neil: "We are more pleased with the result as much as anything else because our last few performances have been good but we've not had anything to show for it. How we played doesn't really matter, it's about getting the points. I thought we were unfortunate to be behind at half-time.
"I thought we had the better chances in the first half. We were concerned it would be the same as previous games. We are all a bit fed up of playing well and not getting a result. I said to them they are all in the team to do certain jobs and that they needed to pull their finger out and go out and do it. To be fair to them that's exactly what they did so the players deserve a lot of credit for that."
Paul Heckingbottom: "We started brightly in the second half but they scored from one of our attacks, we had players in decent position but Billy Bodin does a stepover and Vurnon Anita brings him down. There didn't seem to be too many appeals from the lads, so giving a penalty away is a blow. The big turning point in the match is the second goal.
"Pontus Jansson was down and it got stopped for the same incident in the first half. It should have been stopped. We had a man down in the box playing them all onside and giving them a free header. The worst thing is how it leaves us, credit to the players who stuck at it but as it stands now that's all we've got - those players are the only ones available."