Leeds United 2-1 Preston North End: Super-Sub Piroe nets late spot-kick for United to see off Lilywhites

Elland Road was the home of the Sunday lunchtime kickoff in the Sky Bet Championship, where Leeds United continued their push for promotion, following a comprehensive win at Cardiff City last time out. Their opponents: a Preston North End side who saw off Bristol City by 2-0 at Deepdale eight days ago.

LEE: Meslier; Gray, Rodon, Ampadu, Firpo; Gruev, Kamara; Summerville, Rutter, James; Bamford

PNE: Cornell; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, Jensen, Whiteman, McCann, Millar; Riis, Keane

A breezy afternoon in Yorkshire began in the worst possible fashion for the home side, as Preston took the lead with not even two minutes gone. A free kick swooped in by Ben Whiteman saw Brad Potts head back across goal for Liam Millar, whose mistimed effort was steered home on the line by Will Keane; leaving Elland Road stunned.

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Daniel Farke’s side hunted an immediate response, and it was exactly what they found inside the sixth minute. Crysencio Summerville was released down the left hand side before playing in Junior Firpo. The former Barcelona man then delivered a teasing cross towards the back post where Dan James was waiting to head home from just a few yards out. 

Despite Leeds’ leveller, Liam Millar was proving a nuisance for the home side in the opening stages, and he forced an excellent save out of Ilian Meslier with a close-range strike just minutes after. 

Down the other end, Charlie Hughes failed to clear his lines and played the ball back towards David Cornell, but Crysencio Summerville couldn’t punish the North End defender as his strike flew well over the bar. Junior Firpo’s free kick also flew over the bar moments later. 

In what was a succession of chances for Leeds, Patrick Bamford’s header from Dan James’ wonderful ball in was tame; leaving it for Cornell to collect comfortably.

Georginio Rutter had two excellent chances either side of half-time to put the home side in front, but his first-half header from a corner narrowly travelled past the crossbar, and his close-range strike early in the second half flashing just wide of the near post.

Patrick Bamford then latched onto to a pass from Dan James and fired the ball towards goal, but his low strike was thwarted by Liam Lindsay. James saw a lovely chipped effort flutter just over the bar moments later.

Dan James was proving a problem for the visitors from Lancashire, and he had yet another chance to put Daniel Farke’s side in front. However, Preston stopper David Cornell saved the Welshman’s shot comfortably, with the resulting corner seeing nothing come to fruition.

In second-half stoppage time, however, the home side were awarded a spot kick by referee David Webb after a handball by Preston substitute Ryan Ledson. Leeds substitute Joel Piroe then received the ball from Patrick Bamford and made no mistake from 12 yards out to seal a huge three points for a side hunting down a first-time return to the Premier League.

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Both sides are back in action on different dates throughout the coming week. Leeds United welcome Daniel Farke’s old side Norwich City to Elland Road on Wednesday at 7:45pm, while Preston North End host Millwall three days later at 3pm.