On Boxing Day, Leeds United ventured away from home to face Preston North End at Deepdale. The entire scoring action unfolded in the second half, ultimately resulting in the hosts securing three points.
The initial stages of the game saw very few opportunities as both teams sought to settle into the encounter and assess each other’s strategies. Within the first 25 minutes, Leeds had their closest chances with two headers, both off-target by Ethan Ampadu and Joe Rodon. On the other end, Ben Whiteman’s shot was effectively blocked, while Liam Millar sent a dangerous cross-shot narrowly past the post.
Whenever Farke’s side managed to breach the resilient defence of the home team, it often resulted in a foul. Both Brad Potts and Ali McCann received early bookings from the referee for Preston.
Illan Meslier was called into action just over 10 minutes before halftime when Millar, once again, posed a threat with a right-footed curling effort. Meslier’s fingertip save denied a goal.
The remainder of the first half lacked significant chances, and the referee blew the whistle for halftime with the score still level at Deepdale.
HALF TIME: Preston North End 0-0 Leeds United
As the second half kicked off, neither side made changes to their line-up on the pitch but aimed to alter the scoreline after a goalless first half.
A pivotal moment occurred as Leeds found themselves reduced to 10 players. A collision between Meslier and Milutin Osmajic led to the goalkeeper’s dismissal. Osmajic received a booking, prompting Farke to substitute Joel Piroe with Karl Darlow.
Shortly afterward, PNE took the lead with Alan Browne heading in a deep cross from Millar. Farke responded by making substitutions, bringing on Willy Gnonto, Ilia Gruev, and Mateo Joseph for Crysencio Summerville, Djed Spence, and Glen Kamara.
In the final 10 minutes, Leeds had an opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot. Dan James was fouled, and Pascal Struijk successfully converted the penalty, finding the bottom corner.
However, the parity was short-lived as Millar, a persistent threat throughout the game, cut inside and curled a shot into the top corner, putting Preston back in the lead.
Despite their efforts in the closing stages, Leeds couldn’t find another equaliser, and Preston held on to secure all three points.
FULL TIME: Preston North End 2-1 Leeds United