Alan Browne's own goal is enough to claim the three points at Elland Road...
UNITED 1 (Browne og 46), PRESTON 0
United team: Silvestri, Wootton, Bellusci, Cooper, Taylor, Byram, Bridcutt, Murphy (Doukara 64), Cook, Dallas (Phillips 90+4), Wood (Antenucci 82). Subs: Peacock-Farrell, Coyle, Bamba, Mowatt.
Preston team: Pickford, Cunningham, Clarke, Huntington, Vermijl, Welsh (Hudson 33), Gallagher, Browne (Kilkenny 55), Reach, Keane (Doyle 87), Garner. Subs: Wright, Woods, Brownhill, Hugill.
Referee: Gavin Ward
Booked: Byram (United) , Gallagher, Cunningham, Clarke, Reach, Kilkenny (Preston)
Sent off: Pickford (Preston)
Att: 22,641 (894 Preston)
United's final game before Christmas came in the shape of a visit from Simon Grayson's Preston North End, and head coach Steve Evans made just the one change from the 3-2 victory at Wolves three days earlier, replacing Tom Adeyemi with Luke Murphy in midfield.
The visitors had the afternoon’s first sight of goal after just two minutes, Paul Gallagher forcing Marco Silvestri into a sharp save down to his right to palm away a goalbound free-kick, before United soon threatened at the opposite end through Bridcutt’s speculative half-volley which flew high and wide.
Grayson’s men had made a lively start to proceedings, though, and would have taken an early lead had it not been for the heroics of Silvestri in the United goal.
The Italian was quick off his line to deny Will Keane with a superb block after the striker had escaped the offside trap to go through on goal, before Silvestri was at full stretch to turn behind Joe Garner’s ferocious effort from the edge of the area.
United soon started to assert some authority on the game, and Chris Wood passed up the best of their early opportunities after being slotted through by Bridcutt, only for Pickford to smother the striker’s attempt.
Wood then volleyed over from inside the area after cushioning a Stuart Dallas corner on his chest, before the New Zealand international was involved in the first half’s biggest talking point.
Chasing Scott Wootton’s clearance over the top, Wood looked to nod the ball beyond the onrushing Pickford, but the Preston goalkeeper was adjudged to have handled the ball with his block outside the area and was subsequently shown a straight red card just 30 minutes into the game.
17-year-old stopper Matt Hudson was introduced in place of midfielder John Welsh for his Preston debut, and the youngster watched on rooted to the spot on as Giuseppe Bellusci floated the resulting free-kick agonisingly over the bar.
Leeds looked to up the pressure with their one-man advantage and Byram had the best of the chances with a rising half-volley in the closing stages of the first half after being found inside the area, but the teams went in goalless at the break.
That changed within 30 seconds of the restart, though, as the deadlock was broken in United’s favour as Preston defender Alan Browne headed a dangerous-looking Dallas cross into his own net in front of the Kop.
Charlie Taylor then curled a free-kick over the bar as United chased a second, before Murphy dragged a low strike wide from 20 yards out after cutting inside of his marker.
Preston started to get back into the game as United took their foot off the gas somewhat, with Adam Reach threatening with a low effort which rolled wide from the edge of the area before Evans was prompted into his first change of the afternoon, replacing Murphy with Souleymane Doukara.
Gallagher then saw his effort cannon back off Giuseppe Bellusci, before Silvestri was called upon to tip Kilkenny’s long-range strike over the bar after seeing it late.
Silvestri was able to comfortably hold a back-post header from Marnick Vermijl after the full-back had been picked out by Adam Reach’s deep cross, before the United goalkeeper’s finest moment of another impressive outing came with two minutes remaining on the clock.
Reach’s cross found Kilkenny arriving inside the area to power a header towards goal, but Silvestri pulled off a superb reflex save to divert it over the bar with his fingertips.
But that proved to be Preston’s big chance to take something from the game as Leeds defended well in the closing stages to make it back-to-back Championship victories.