Leeds lost yet another away match this season despite leading 1-0 at Preston at halftime. Leeds played well in the first half and probably should have led by more than a 1-0 scoreline, but right after the second half began, Leeds pissed away their lead and Pontus Jansson was injured in the build-up to the second goal. Leeds continued to play poorly as the second half wore on and gave up a third goal, dooming Leeds to another loss.
Leeds United traveled to Preston North End at Deepdale and named what could best be described as an “interesting” line-up.
That back five, in real terms, is: a keeper who was third choice a month ago, a winger at right-back, a 20-year-old academy player at centre-back and a centre mid at left-back. Maybe 4-4-2, maybe 4-3-3. #lufc— Phil Hay (@PhilHayYEP) April 10, 2018
The line-up did not go down well with the majority of supporters, although the prevailing logic was that Paul Heckingbottom wanted to have a look at some players with regards to if they are worth keeping hold of for next season. There were several things to disagree with about the line-up, no Saiz, no Alioski, but one issue which stood above the parapet was the exclusion of Tom Pearce.
Leeds nearly conceded after only 2 minutes. Caleb Ekuban gave the ball away to Billy Bodin in the Leeds half, he found Paul Gallagher, but his shot was blocked into the air by Stuart Dallas and Bailey Peacock-Farrell punched the ball away for a corner.
Just 3 minutes later Preston broke again. This time it was Kalvin Phillips who sloppily gave the ball away in midfield. Alan Browne broke having dispossessed him and he found Tom Barkhuizen on the left hand side. He cut inside but his shot was poor and comfortably over the bar.
Leeds first chance came in the 12th Minute. Caleb Ekuban got away from Paul Huntington, however, the striker took too long and Huntington got back with a good tackle to get the ball out for a corner.
From the resulting corner Leeds took the lead. Pablo Hernandez’s corner came to Kalvin Phillips at the back post. He did well to beat his man and drill the ball across the goal to find Kemar Roofe who hammered it into the roof of the net with his left-foot. It was a good moment for both men who have both had their share of criticism at times this season.
After 20 minutes, Preston got in behind on the Leeds left, the ball was played across the face and Stuart Dallas did well to clear the ball over his own crossbar.
From the corner Leeds had a bit of a let off. Paul Huntington won a flick-on at the near post, it came to Sean Maguire at the back post but he headed the ball over.
In the 29th minute Preston had another chance from a corner. This time it was played short and curled in left-footed and it was Maguire again who headed wide.
In the 31st minute Leeds played some very nice football. Ekuban turned his man well and played the ball square to Pablo Hernandez 20 yards out, his shot was a bit weak though and was turned wide for a corner by Declan Rudd.
After Preston cleared the corner, Leeds reset and Roofe played a great ball over the top for Ekuban but he mistimed his stretch for the ball and didn’t make contact when in a good position.
Preston came straight down the other end. Tom Barkhuizen turned Phillips inside out down the Preston left and his cross then found Billy Bodin, he cut inside Vernon Anita on to his left-foot and curled the ball beyond Peacock-Farrell but fortunately for Leeds the ball struck the base of the post.
In the 38th minute some good passing between Phillips and Hernandez released Ekuban, he beat his man but his left-foot shot was turned away for a corner.
Leeds had the ball in the net in the 44th minute from a Pontus Jansson header but the whistle had gone for a foul against Leeds a second or so earlier. Leeds players didn’t look to have any complaints about the decision.
In the final minute of the 4 minutes of stoppage time Leeds nearly doubles their advantage. A good cross from Pablo Hernandez from the left almost found a streching Kemar Roofe but he was inches away from getting on the end of it so Leeds went in 1-0 up at half-time.
As the second-half started, Leeds attacked well down the right hand side, but conceded a penalty after Preston took advantage of a turnover near the Leeds penalty area. Vieira turned the ball over and the Preston broke out and went straight at Vurnon Anita, who fouled Bodin in the box. Gallagher made no mistake and put the ball past young Peacock-Farrell.
Less than three minutes later, Gallagher sent in a cross into the box and Leeds failed to deal with it appropriately and it was knocked into the back of the net by Preston striker Sean Maguire. There were a series of complaints from Leeds, as Pontus Jansson had been lying on the pitch due to injury while the ref had allowed play to continue.
Hugo Diaz made his first team debut for Leeds after Jansson was forced from the match in the 57th minute. Tall order for the young player to come in at central defence facing a team like Preston away from home in the second half, while trailing. Good luck kid!
Ekuban had a chance at goal in the 62nd minute after a good attacking move from Leeds lead to a beautiful pass from Hernandez that Ekuban was only able to have blocked over for a corner kick. O’Connor took out Rudd on the resulting corner-kick, and after some “discussion” in the penalty area between the two sets of players, O’Connor ended up with a yellow card.
'68 | Double sub for Leeds— LS11 - Proper Leeds United (@LS11LUFC) April 10, 2018
Grot off Alioski on.
Roofe off Saiz on
Gjanni Alioski and Samu Saiz came on in the 68th minute for Grot and Roofe as Leeds attempted to chase the match in the final few minutes of the match. Saiz dribbled into the Preston box in the 74th minute, but his “pass” could only find the legs of a defender and Leeds eventually ended up with a corner kick that was cleared by Preston after a few half attempts on goal by Leeds.
Preston put the match to bed in the 82nd minute after Leeds, once again, gave up a headed goal that Peacock-Farrell could do very little about. Leeds played poorly and did not do enough to either get back into the match or stop Preston from going forward.
Another bad loss with a questionable lineup. Somewhere, Thomas Christiansen is smiling to himself as it appears this team has let down another “head coach.” Despite the injuries and suspensions, Leeds probably should have at least gotten a draw out of this match, but so it goes.