Leeds United went into the match against Preston North End looking to extended their season opening winning streak, but were frustrated against the Lancashire team and ended the game with a nil-nil draw despite Preston going down to 10 men after a red card midway through the second half.
Leeds had a good chance in within the opening two minutes as the ball pinballed around in the box, only to somehow fall just outside the reach of the Leeds attackers. After a PNE corner, Alioski was released by Eunan O’Kane in the 7th minute. Appeals for handball on Alioski’s shot, but nothing given.
Preston enjoyed some early possession, putting pressure on Leeds, but some good defence and timely tackles from Luke Ayling, nothing came of the pressure in the first 15 minutes or so of the match.
Leeds had a good chance from a free kick, but nothing came of it as Preston cleared. A good shot on net in the 26th minute from Preston was followed by another free kick from Leeds in the 28th minute that was swallowed up by the Preston keeper Maxwell. A real open end to end game with plenty of attacking followed for much of the first half, with the final product lacking from both sides.
PNE’s Pearson was booked in the 31st minute after a reckless, two-footed challenege dumped O’Kane near the middle of the park. Despite possession, the ref continued to have a dodgy match and stopped the match to give out a card and a free kick.
Half-Time | Few chances for either side as both teams go in level at the break 0-0 pic.twitter.com/JmrHYWKlK2— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 12, 2017
More rough stuff from the visitors and a few more chances back and forth. Leeds didn’t look good on any of the corners or free kicks. Alioski looked the most dangerous of all Leeds players as Preston looked to use physical play to counter the speed and attacking quality of the Leeds players.
The second half started poorly for Leeds, as Preston had them on the back foot for the first 10 minutes. Cunningham appeared to slot the ball into the net off of a free-kick, but the flag was up for offside.
61' Double Substitution, as Kemar Roofe and Kalvin Phillips have been replaced by Samu Saiz and Ronaldo Vieira pic.twitter.com/ralPwk2423— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 12, 2017
Pearson was rightly sent off for Preston after grabbing hold of Phillips and pulling him down in the 60th minute. Vieira and Saiz came on for Roofe and Phillips. With Preston down to 10 men and the double substitution, Leeds went on the attack. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson had a couple of quality crosses into the box that Wood couldn’t quite reach.
Big performance from Maxwell for Preston. Save from Wood was superb, even though Wood should have tucked it away. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) August 12, 2017
Wood was clear on goal in the 73rd minute, but Maxwell did very well to stick out a mitt and get a hand on the ball to deny the big Kiwi. Alioski tripped and couldn’t reach the ball as it lay in the middle of the box. Hernandez picked out Borthwick-Jackson in the 77th minute and he played in a beautiful cross that was just out of reach of Wood. The Hernandez to Borthwick-Jackson combo down the left hand side of the pitch looked dominate after Saiz came on for Roofe, with a number of good chances coming off the left boot of the young Manchester United loanee.
Tons of pressure was laid onto the Preston penalty area from Leeds, with a number of good chances that fell just short. Dallas was brought on for Borthwick-Jackson as Christiansen had Leeds chase the game. Hernandez did well to volley a chance, but it was saved well by Maxwell.
Preston almost had a winner, but the ball went just wide completely against the run of play. Leeds continued to attack into the stoppage time as Preston discovered new and exciting ways to waste time. Despite the attacking pressure by Leeds for most of the second half, the game ended with a nil-nil draw. Preston put the ball off the crossbar in the final minute of stoppage time to just miss out on a dramatic late winner.
We're only 2 games in, played 2 frustrating teams who fancied to wrestle us off pitch, back to it on Tuesday for a big game! #lufc— RightInTheGaryKellys (@RITGK) August 12, 2017
Luke Ayling was the man of the match for me after some impressive defending in the first half. The midfield and the creative players seemed to be stymied by the physical nature of Preston’s play, which is a worrying development for the future, because that will give a blueprint for teams to slow down the Leeds attack.
A clean sheet is a good result, even if it was cemented by the cross bar in the final moments, as Leeds had some really poor luck in the final third. Leeds have to settle for a point but remain undefeated on the season. MOT