Goals from Paynter and Kilkenny seal win...
PRESTON 1 (Hume 63), UNITED 2 (Kilkenny 30, Paynter 57)
Preston: Lonergan, Morgan, St Ledger, Brown (Ellington 62), Treacy, Hume, Jones, Ashbee, Johnson, Gardner (Parry 85), Carter. Subs: Coutts, Barton, Arestidou, Wright, Clarke.
United: Schmeichel, Lichaj, O'Brien, Bromby, McCartney, Johnson, Kilkenny (Bannan 83), Snodgrass (Naylor 86), Howson, Gradel, Paynter (Becchio 75). Subs: Higgs, Watt, Somma.
Referee: R Shoebridge
Booked: Johnson, Bromby (Leeds)
Att: 15,269 (5,000 Leeds)
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United manager Simon Grayson made one change to the side which beat Doncaster Rovers 5-2 at the weekend, Billy Paynter stepping in for Luciano Becchio, who dropped to the bench. New loan signing Barry Bannan was also included among the Leeds subs just 24 hours after joining the club on loan.
Much had been made of the goal fest at Elland Road in September when Preston had won 6-4 after being 4-1 down. Since then, Grayson's men had established themselves as promotion contenders while Preston were 10 points adrift at the foot of the division.
Nevertheless, United's winless run in league games played on a Tuesday stretched back 11 months to Carlisle last April and Preston were almost in front in the third minute at Deepdale. Keith Treacey unleashed a great strike from the edge of the box which smashed against the underside of the bar before being cleared.
It was United's turn to threaten on 10 minutes when Jonny Howson seized on a long kick from Kasper Schmeichel and advanced on goal before lifting his shot over the top.
But it was Schmeichel who was tested again moments later when he beat away a well struck effort from Eddie Johnson. The Dane also had to get down to another low strike from Treacey.
United responded swiftly and a Max Gradel cross eluded Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan before being cleared. It was a lively opening, though, and Eddie Johnson again tried his luck for Preston with an effort which flew wide.
Howson was next to try his luck when he curled a shot into the arms of Lonergan and both sides were looking to get on the front foot.
And it was Leeds who went in front on the half-hour with a collectors item from Neil Kilkenny. Robert Snodgrass had seen an intelligent cross half-cleared and Kilkenny responded by striking the ball home from distance to make it 1-0.
Five minutes later, Howson fashioned a half-chance for Paynter and the striker's low effort was deflected for a corner, but it was Leeds who were defending moments later when Schmeichel had to be alert to clear a free-kick.
United came within a whisker of scoring a second on the stroke of half-time, though, when Paynter raced clear and his angled his drive scraped the wrong side of the post. And in stoppage time, the grafting front-man applied more pressure that saw Preston clear their lines.
It was Leeds who had the first foray of the second half, but Schmeichel made the first save of the second period when he beat away an angled effort.
Preston did have the ball in the net in the 53rd minute, courtesy of Chris Brown, but a raised flag from referee's assistant Sian Massey ruled the effort out for offside.
And United went straight down the other end and almost made it 2-0, Gradel seeing effort skid just wide.
But it was 2-0 on 57 minutes when the roof almost came off the away end in celebration. Paynter picked up a pass just inside the area and delivered a clinical finish to bag his first goal for the club.
Moments later, Leeds were almost celebrating again when Ian Ashbee miscued a clearance from a Snodgrass corner and the ball flew over his own bar.
But Preston immediately reduced the arrears, Ian Hume scoring with a great indivdual strike from distance to bring the hosts back into the game.
Three minutes later, though, Leeds were cursing the woodwork. Paynter managed to stab the ball towards goal, beating Lonergan to getting a decisive touch, but the ball came back off the inside of the post.
At the other end Paynter headed a free-kick clear before he was replaced by Becchio 15 minutes from time.
The hosts were pushing Leeds and Schmeichel had to close down an effort from Nathan Ellington before Leigh Bromby cleared a cross.
As the game headed into the final 10 minutes, it was United who were doing the defending and looking solid in the process. And with seven minutes left, Grayson handed a debut to new loan signing Barry Bannan in place of Kilkenny.
Grayson threw Richard Naylor on for the final minutes and while Preston were applying the pressure, Leeds were doing everything right defensively and were looking solid and firm.
Bannan even looked to release Gradel with an incisive pass in the second minute of stoppage time as Leeds looked to break and the new arrival was showing good energy and a good touch.
And there was no further drama as United went on to record what could prove to be a valuable away win.