Goalkeepers took centre stage but for vastly different reasons as Leeds struggled to overcome Preston’s 10 men.
Alan Browne’s headed own-goal just after the interval gifted Leeds their third victory in four games after Preston had keeper Jordan Pickford sent off in the 30th minute by referee Gavin Ward for charging into striker Chris Wood and handling just outside the box. It meant a debut for 17-year-old Matt Hudson, Preston’s fourth-choice keeper, who should have been put under more pressure.
Home keeper Marco Silvestri was in magnificent form, completing crucial saves from Paul Gallagher, Will Keane, Joe Garner, substitute Neil Kilkenny (twice) and Marnick Vermijl to pile on the frustration for Preston’s former Leeds manager Simon Grayson on his return to Elland Road. Grayson was critical of the sending-off and is considering appealing against Pickford’s one-match ban. He said: “We will look at the footage and may appeal. That one moment turned the game. We started well and their keeper made some vital saves.
“Then the referee made a decision which he thought was the right one by sending Jordan Pickford off but my keeper said the ball hit him in the chest area and he had his hands in the air. It was an important part of the game and the decision cost us.
“Officials have a tough job. I don’t normally criticise referees but he didn’t have the best of days. I was a bit frustrated by some of our bookings too, but I was proud that we looked better with 10 men than they did with 11. Their keeper was man of the match, which speaks volumes.”